Back for another installment of the ASTD international trade show. In this amazing episode we find out that not all mobile devices are really mobile (according to a vendor), the new six letter word is Tin Can, mobile only products still exist, my game is your game and ASTD did not offer a breakfast for us.

My mobile is not your mobile

Let me paint you a picture. I am checking out a soft skills course specifically for mobile. I see that they are showing smartphones in their booth will their product. I inquire about tablets, and this comes out of their mouths ( ok, 1 mouth, is just happens to be the founder/CEO)

“While our product looks great on tablets, I don’t believe a tablet is a mobile device.”

He went on to explain that from his perspective smartphones are mobile devices but tablets are portable devices. While they are portable, they are mobile and the primary reason why mobile learning has taken off in the marketplace.

Part of his logic at least from what I could gather, is that people readily use and have a smartphone with them and not always a tablet. I found this quite interesting as I sat down on a couch only to see everyone around me using their tablet, with their smartphone sitting nearby.

I may not take my tablet to a sporting event, but it doesn’t mean that I see my smartphone as the only mobile device.

Holy Zork!

Back in the 80s and early 90s games like Zork (text based) were all the rage – at least from a computer or Commordore 64 angle.

Hey we had so few choices, but I digress.

Anyway, at ASTD International there were quite a few gamification products out there with many having base similar features:

  • Accumulate points
  • Leader board
  • Some form of analytics, which includes drilling down to each individual user
  • Mobile specific or mobile option. What that means is that the product was SaaS so you could see it via your mobile browser. Only one product I saw had on/off synch which to me is a mobile specific solution
  • After that it ran the table. In my search on the second day for my ideal fun mobile gaming product, I found the Loch Ness monster. No really, I did. See here is a photo:

    Before you let me know that there is no photo, I know. It’s a joke.

    As for a fun mobile gaming product, how you define fun is the key. For me, there was a lot of sort of fun, but nothing that was really fun.

    Knowledge Guru had potential. It allowed for non-linear, it allowed you to upload an image or a short video and it came with some skins (best way I can describe it).

    But the game play was all text. To me, that is not fun, that’s gaming in the 80s.

    Trends Day Two

    Here are the most common ones I saw on my second day:

  • Tin Can – it was popping up everywhere and if it wasn’t posted in their booth or literature, when you inquired I heard a lot of “it’s in the works”.
  • Training Reinforcement Tools – for the longest time these babies were all about classroom learning specific. While this is still their forte they have now come over to the right side (I know u thought I would say dark side) and included e-learning content as well.

    What makes TRTs even more unique is their approach to get that reinforced learning option to you. Some offer the mobile only, but more prevalent is online and mobile. I even saw a few who are clearly clinging on to the paper focus (which used to be the primary method for TRT). Now they are saying, paper, mobile and online.

    My hands down winner for a TRT is Mindmarker

    This is what a training reinforcement tool should be – mobile specific with a mobile option. Which means you can go through your mobile web browser or use their app and have on/off synch. It has the standard basic analytics that I mentioned earlier. You can also send via e-mail a link that the end user opens and goes on from there. But it’s all about mobile.

    Could it be better? Absolutely. I mean this is not the most amazing thing you have ever seen, but hey it’s going in the right direction. I would have no problem saying if you are looking for an ideal training reinforcement tool, this is it.

    Which means kiddos (does anyone say that anymore?) Mindmarker is my cool product of the day.

    Next week’s blog is my full analysis of ASTD’s show going beyond what I listed here including some interesting tidbits and products that just failed to deliver, despite their best efforts.

    That’s it from Dallas.

    Happy Trails!

    E-Learning 24/7