Friday, November 10, 2006

Learning2006 brain overload...must dump random thoughts

Wow!  Lots of input.  Now its time to process this stuff out of my head.
The LearningWiki is going to be fuel for the blogosphere for quite some time.

I had this thought today while waiting in line to pick up my kids from school...
(actually triggered while reflecting about my learning2.0 presentation...some liked it, others pined for more structure.)

A question was asked that really got me excited during the presentation.  Mostly because someone could finally see the possibility, and what COULD be.  The question was, "do you ever see courses being completely user-generated and edited/updated over time?"

Do me a favor and go to the last click2death course you created.  Now tell me if there is anything there OTHER than text, images, audio, video on those "pages".  Nope?  Okay.  Work with me here.  What if all it took to start a course was for someone - ANYONE - to simply create it in the system...perhaps loading it with a single sentence.
1)  User searches for information
2)  Information does not exist, so the system asks if you would like to "create it now"
3)  You click YES
4)  You enter a title and a generic category
DONE...sort of.

The rest is created over time by the social network most interested in, and willing to support, that course's content maturity.  If nothing ever happens and the course remains empty, unused, and/or stagnent, it is purged from the system.  If it continues to grow, the learning team notification is triggered and the development of experiencial simulations are created along with assessments for certification.  If someone would like to consume enough of the material to be considered an expert then the certification would be for them...perhaps, even at different levels.  But not everyone would need to use either of those aspects of the course content.

What if your courses, even in their current format, could be commented on, edited, tagged, even rated?

Think about it...

The company C-levels identify competencies for the entire company, then the ORG levels down the ladder create their competencies that are specific to their org focus...and on down the ladder until we hit the bottom.  In large companies that already means chaos with hundreds of duplicated efforts, and courses with redundent content.

Could you lock down the mandated, legally reviewed content, but still
allow for the democratization of the content that TRULY means something
to the users?

What if one could see that hierarchical relationship of needs, requirements, and competencies in a more visual way(map)?  What if the course could be updated by users to add org, and team, specific content right into the live "course"? 

Why do we lock up the content for 6-12 months while "others" (training departments) create and release the course?

I see you rolling your eyes at me.  Your thinking, "We just can't take the chance of having misinformation or incorrect information floating around out there and created by just anyone!"   Well...I hope this doesn't come as a shock to you, but ITS ALREADY OUT THERE!!! 


Anonymous said...

I agree with most of what you're saying, and everything in your list is features that are either in NanoLearning today, or coming soon.

The one thing I don't see is this completely open "wiki" approach to learning content inside organizations. I think when everybody contributes to the content, it gets watered down, acceptable to everyone and interesting to nobody. I think the better model is competition. So if you don't like the learning piece that Bill wrote up about how to deal with angry customers then write your own and make it better. Check the reviews, ratings, and how many people have linked to it in order to figure out if it's better or not.

In short I see an open market approach rather than an open content approach.

bschlenker said...

I love the statement "acceptable to everyone and interesting to nobody". That's awesome! I must say that I haven't thought much about a competition model in the corporate enterprise space. I must think about a little more, but here are my initial thoughts. In the enterprise, there may not be enough contributors for information to get too watered down, therefore the social network or community could work through the content together...maybe.
And if people are only finding enough time to contribute very small nuggets at a time to any particular "course" then defining those chunks and letting an open market system work its magic may not be a viable option. All in all, I think its up to the community to decide. If the content gets too watered down and someone is motivated enough to trim it down to its most essential elements in a new course to be offered then perhaps that course becomes the standard and the watered down version dies. Its all about the motivation of the contributors in the network. In many instances watered down may be good enough and its not a priority for that content to be thinned out...or nobody is motivated enough to make it happen.
Its a great topic of discussion as a piece of Learning2.0. I may extend this into another post.

Anonymous said...

I didn't see trackbacks on your blog. More for the debate:

Anonymous said...


I see your point. It makes total sense to me.

I've felt, for a very long time, that metadata associated with learning objects should be a social thing. Maybe something as simple as tagging (like would do the trick. My point is that no matter what the instructional intent of a learning object is, when it's in the wild and being used, the people using the content should be able to rate if it helps them do their job (and what job it actually helps them to use). That kind of tagging would be useful in the enterprise if you want to project to intelligent tutoring systems (does anyone still talk about that?), where a learner could be presented with similar content to what they like. That helps with the whole "learning-on-demand" thing by expanding fingertip knowledge into a curricula based on wants and needs.

The question, though... is how? The social (collaborative or competitive) model for implementation (content creation) looks great. The tech behind it isn't all that difficult. It comes back to culture and comfort. My enterprise is certainly not ready to jump to that level of democratization (I just kicked off their first blog).

It needs to be experimented with to get some lessons learned out of the way. Even if it's just to identify what kind of tools are needed to do it.