Tributes are meant to be something special. A way to recognize the past of someone or something. In this month’s issue, my tribute is to the 80’s a time where the Net wasn’t around, ILT was the dominant force, CBT was up and coming and WBT was just a dream.
Eye of the Tiger
What’s the best way to add components to your product?
In the past it was build it yourself (pricey) or find open source and customize it (could be pricey, but cheaper then complete build).
Now the route of “partners” is the way to go. The partner approach works this way: vendor A integrates Vendor B’s solution into their product. Some times, it is nothing more than a link – hidden from the end user – the screen shows a popup or goes to the “page” but in reality the end user is now in the other vendor’s solution. Then they can bounce back.
Vendor B can still sell their product as a stand alone or however this wish to do it and can still sell it/integrate or use an interface into additional vendor’s solutions.
While this has always been the case with web conferencing solutions going back for more than a decade with LMSs, etc., I’m seeing a nice increase with authoring tool vendors and even learning management systems incorporating via interface/integration or the “hidden link angle” other products.
One of the best known is eLearning Brothers. One of eLearning Brothers’ products is showing up in other rapid content authoring tools. The product are an extensive set of stock photos with real human being images and not the cheesy clip art, one often sees in such tools.
Other vendors are exploring the addition of avatars that can communicate with one another. I know of a few LMS vendors who are adding tools coming from a variety of non-LMS vendors, via partnerships.
I’m not talking about Skype here, but real e-learning tools and solutions going into your favorite LMS, TM system and yep, even authoring tool products.
Forecast: Continued Growth. Why wait until everyone is moving ahead and then realize you could have had a V-8 or one of these tools in your product?
The Walls Came Down
Instructor led training whether it happens in your training room or in the classroom, still remains strong. But, guess what? Even the strongest proponents of ILT are realizing the inevitable, that e-learning is not only here to stay but is growing stronger.
As a result, ILT vendors are embracing e-learning through a variety of ways. Most notably the ability to create a PowerPoint online. I know what you are thinking – “Craig, this has always been going on”. Yes and no. For some people WBT is merely sticking a PPT online converting it to Flash and whalla – a new course.
For others including myself, this is not WBT.
Thus the ILT vendors are saying to themselves, we are still committed to instructor led training, but we will dip our toes into the water, enabling people to upload a PPT or something similar and train people online through a web conferencing device.
They are starting to refer to them as virtual classrooms, picking up a term that already is in place.
I recall talking to one vendor who described the above to me and called it a virtual classroom, or as she excitedly said, “a webinar”. I looked at her thinking, “am I on candid camera”?
Yet, for the ILT folks, it is not candid camera, it is integrating a tool that has been around for more than 13 years and doing it in such a way, that is seems novel.
Of course, it should be noted that for one vendor before you could offer your “webinar” to others at your company, you had to attend their face to face training, then get certified (on their product) before you could jump into the online space.
Hey, at least they are trying.
Forecast: Very slow. Too many vendors are in the ILT space to just toss it aside and embrace e-learning. I surmise you will continue to see bits and pieces there, but it is like those folks who believe we did not walk on the moon. Despite all the evidence, all the data and all the research, they refuse to believe. It still occurs in the ILT marketplace (regarding WBT).
Once in a Lifetime
I believe a new sub-genre of e-learning is upon us. Take
- Content mgt system – More of a repository
- Deep tagging
- Recording via a mobile device or a cam or a digital camera
- Add keywords, transcripts
- Ability to enter a keyword on the video goes right to it each and every time
- Add editing features, enhancements
- Some analytics
What do you have? Video management systems.
In some ways it can be swung as a corporate learning YouTube with a touch of Premiere, a dash of video capturing, a couple of sprinkles of analytics, and a drop of publishing.
It can be a standalone or be placed into another solution.
Two systems are already in the space – somewhat similar, yet in many ways different.
I believe this new sub-genre will grow, much like the social learning platforms of the past few years. The difference though, is that VMSs have a lot more potential and power than the social learning platforms (standalone) because the technology that is taking place in the space, especially with more people going the HD route and higher bandwidth speeds for at home and at the workplace.
What is really cool is that you do not need to be a tech expert, nor an instructional designer or an aficionado of video. That’s what is going to be its real power.
Forecast: Slow for 2012 growth. Increase in 2013, of these types of capabilities on other platforms and tools – whether it is via an interface/integration or a piece of this and that.
The VMS offers lots of potential, but it will the masses jump on board? I believe it is possible, but as with anything else, ease of use, features and simplicity (yet robust) are the keys.
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- Content Authoring Tools
- Social and Mobile Learning Platforms
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- Other e-learning solutions
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For some people, they want us (e-learning proponents) to jump into a fast car and keep on driving out of the learning scene.
Others fear that there will be red skies tonight because online learning is continuing to advance in many ways never seen on the web stage.
What will come next?