Thursday, September 07, 2006

What is Corporate eLearning Development all about?

The blog that is...this blog to be specific.  I recently had my 1 year blog birthday party (or was it aniversary?) and so now seemed like a good time to reflect on just what the heck this thing is all about.

I started Corporate eLearning Development in August of 2005.  We affectionately refer to it as the year we lost control.  That year in review post also was one of the first signs that I had hit the big time:  One of my favorite bloggers Kathy Sierra left a comment...go ahead and scroll down on that link...see, told ya so.  But I digress...

I started blogging because I wanted to know what it was about, and I wanted to know first hand how this might be applied in Learning.  I used blogger because it was just easy, and I figured that I probably wouldn't be keeping it very long.  I chose the name because it most accurately reflected my career, and my passion.  eLearning can mean so many different things that it leaves me wide open to comment on many different forms of media, design, edtech, edpsych, video, graphics, text, presentations, and on, and on.

While blogging, I discovered that the magic is not in blogging alone, but there was another technology beast that offered up much more potential in the learning world: RSS.  You can't be a good blogger if you aren't connected to tons of information.  After all, we need something to talk about.  Bookmarks don't cut it for continually surfing your favorite blogs/sites.  No, there needed to be a way to scan many, MANY blogs quickly to start connecting the dots around how topics apply to learning. 

What I quickly realized was that RSS is the new pipeline for learning (find my DevLearn2006 presentation on this topic here).  By blogging I discovered RSS and by discovering Wikipedia months earlier in this process I had discovered WIKIs.   The BIG learning picture had started to form.
It was very easy for me to see the incredibly powerful learning potential of what I had become engaged in.  It was the ultimate trifecta of learning technologies BLOGS, WIKIS, and RSS.  But that was, and is, only the beginning...

In the last year the blogosphere has named it (and fought about it) Learning2.0 based on Web2.0 technologies, and everything else 2.0.  But for me Learning2.0 has been a transformation.  Mostly, finely realizing that CBTs and WBTs (of which I have spent the last decade creating) are very bad, unfun, unengaging ways to learn.  Most of the Click2Death learning sucks!  And mostly its because we have applied ancient ISD principles to the design process.  We're shoving the square peg in the round hole.  What's happening on the internet with social networking, blogs, wikis, rss, podcasting, and vlogging is more about how we truly want to learn.  Learning is mostly a social act that requires trying and failing in most cases.  If the learning is just basic knowledge you still need to try that new knowledge out by applying it in conversation, or writing about it, or critiqueing someone, for it to become real and meaningful.  The new web offers up those channels of conversation for any and all topics.

Before this becomes a rant, let me list some things you should consider when pondering Learning2.0.  Each of the following technologies has merit in and of itself, but remember the POWER is in the ecosystem that is created when they are used together.  Oh yeah, I almost forgot, its chaos out there and the users are creating the content, not the ISDers and developers...oops.  Yea, I know, Learning2.0 changes everything!

1) As stated earlier; the learning trifecta: blogs, wikis, rss
2) gaming:  no, not jeapardy style flash games.  I'm talking MMO here.  What's MMO? Oh nothing, just the most incredible learning machine you might imagine in a dream.  Check out SecondLife (pictured above) or talk to your kids about World of Warcraft, or Millsberry, cyworld, or any other. (see this archive)
3) Social networksPeopleAggregator, ELGG, or my new personal favorite ZIMBIO.  Come hang out and join others in the Corporate eLearning Development social network experiment.

Introduce yourself to me at DevLearn in October if you are attending.  I'll be busy with a few session: my sessions listed here


Gabe Anderson said...

I like your concept of the trifecta of learning, Brent, but I'd like to add another medium to the mix: community forums.

We launched the Articulate Community Forums in February this year and already they've been hugely successful in building a network of learners who exchange vast volumes of knowledge by sharing their experiences with one another (we have more than 1,300 members and 4,200 posts as of today). We've created a learning community that is self-sustaining, and is building an archive of knowledge that grows by the day. It will have a sustaining benefit for years to come.

All that and it's helped in scaling and reducing the impact on my support department since my customers are now able to help each other in many instances more quickly than they can submit a support case to my team.

bschlenker said...

Ya know, I do have a tendency to skip forums...mostly on purpose because many don't have RSS feeds. That's getting better and should include them as well. They are still great tools that I use frequently. But then of course I'd have to change my term to the Learning Quinela and it just doesn't have the same ring to it :)

Gabe Anderson said...

Our forums have an RSS feed, so I guess we're ahead of the game there.

And it would actually be the learning superfecta. A quinella is an exacta box - but you don't have to double the amount of money you bet - but only allowed in certain races (exactas are always permitted). For example, a $2 exacta box on 2 horses would cost you $4 since you're betting on those 2 horses to win and place in either order; a $2 quinella on 2 horses will only cost you $2, but you're still betting that your 2 horses will win or place in either order... but the payout isn't as good as in the exacta.

The benefit of living in a horse racing town is that you can't help but learn a lot about horse wagering. :)

bschlenker said...

See how great blogging is...ya learn something new every day. Back in undergrad I was extremely curious about the dog track and so I did a little research and learned about the quinella box bet. I don't remember it exactly now, but I know we were picking 4 dogs. We won like crazy...seriously! Not a lot of money, but normally enough to pay entrance fees, beer and hotdogs, and a little extra. So, I always thought that quinella BOX bet was always 4 dogs. Hence, my commment above. Thanks for educating me a little more on the fining points of the bet. Had I known that I may have done better. Thanks Gabe!