Gazing upon the Tower of London it occurred to me that upon this tower where many folks lost their lives, another one recently had fallen. Chopped by the ax as they would say. Brought down by the tool or tools, another retorted back.
Nay, said another person standing near me. The King was pushed over the walls by poor design, irrelevancy to the subject and ghastly to say, indifference among various vendors.
I nodded. For to me, it was all true. Content that once was king in the e-learning, more specifically with use in any LMS was dead.
It has been handed down by generations, the tale of this King, the King of Content.
When courses were needed to be developed and built, anyone who came upon this challenge, realized that the importance of comprehension, retention and synthesis, would be based on the design, mechanisms and delivery of said content.
No one say a traveling band of instructional designers on their way to Canterbury, including said one called Chaucer, had the skill sets to build those courses.
But in just a few years, there were plenty who could develop, design, build and launched the content using various weapons to achieve it.
The weapons including Authorware, Macromedia Director, DazzlerMax, Toolbook were the ones that separated the knights from the common folk. Eventually the land saw Macromedia Breeze and Dreamweaver enter the lands, with these items called templates.
Oh, how the knights of ID shouted to the hills, begging for salvation – and guess what? Someone was sort of listening.
The King of Content.
The King was aware that in order to have great courses, one must include interactions, engaging scenarios, well thought out design, easy to use and follow navigation, a table of contents – so that any learner could select any chapter, page, lesson, scenario and so on, without having to follow a specific path.
The People rejoiced! Hip Hip, Hip!
Non-linear learning would continue, regardless of the template elves.
Rise of the Rapid Content Authoring Dragon
According to legend it stated with one. One dragon that flew down and rained a sheet of fire on the lands.
The dragon whose name was known only as Studio, seemed destined to fall by the way side, after all, the knights of ID would never use such product.
But this dragon was no ordinary dragon. Nope, it was a smart and savvy dragon. Magical powers contained within via its special PowerPoint armor, along with other tools at its beckon call.
In just a short period of time, the Dragon of Studio reigned supreme and the knights took notice. Within two years, there were more dragons.
Some contained just the PowerPoint shield, others offered more tools, more elements than previously known to the villagers and even the knights.
Yes, there was fear amongst the lands – fear that the King could be in jeopardy, for these types of dragons focused on rapid and quick build – grab the content, add it to the armor and spout fire – you have a course.
While the knights scurried around their round table debating the merits of these dragons compared to the sages of Gagne, Bloom and ADDIE the magician, the common folk were making the jump onto these creatures with keyboards in their hands and helmets made of computer glass.
It was a sight to behold.
Age of Enlightenment – Dragons Rule
And behold it was. For you see the dragons were adaptable. They were not only able to survive but prosper. What started with just a few, soon ran into a 50, then more than a hundred. Rumors of dragons morphing into a hybrid of dragon and knight were equally spreading.
But the King of Content was not worried, for the goals of design and delivery still existed. And there were now more people creating courses including those with interactions, learning objects, engagement – ahh, life was good.
And throughout the kingdom, content clearly was seen as the king for learning.
Trouble Brews – A Showdown is coming
One might wonder how it is possible that content was the king for learning, when there were so many dragons out there, some sticking with others in design, some following the pack with that nifty PowerPoint armor, and some going out their all on their own.
Well, the King had a trick or two up his sleeve. He was aware of these vast armies of custom development shops and thought they would only enhance the quality of learning with their skills, since many were former knights of the ID.
What the King didn’t know was that some of these armies didn’t follow the e-learning rule of the land, nor did all see content in the same manner, let alone quality.
The King also came to realize to late for that matter, that poor and equally high quality courses varied from a few pieces of tree branch to a bounty of gold.
He told his remaining knights to be on the lookout for there were some armies creating ineffective courses but charging a ransom.
One of his knights, Sir LanceGaming, told him that not only were there armies of custom development shops, but there was an abundent amount of courses via something he was told to be “3rd party” course catalogs.
The King quickly realized the situation was changing. “How, can it be?” he said to his knights. “How could it happen that courses could be on side interactive and on another side static and boring,” he muttered to SirLanceGaming.
For you see the King was realizing that what he knew to be the key to learning – content, was no longer the leader among design. That the content was no longer all powerful, rather it was becoming secondary to the castles and land it existed within for all the people.
Battle of E-Learning Design
The King set prepped his armies. He brought forth the knights of ID, the people committed to engaging and interactive courses, the ships of Storyline 2, Claro, Captivate and dozens of others.
He recalled his own custom development shopkeepers, and 3rd party builders whose own course catalogs were seen as one of the ancient wonders of the world.
He was sure, that this powerful pack of content would not only stand for now, but for all time.
Ahh, though it was not to be. Because on the other side, a large contigent of people had brought forth their own armies.
A mix of custom development shopkeepers, 3rd party builders of course catalogs to much interested in making gold than producing quality courses and a strong number of authoring tool hybrid dragons, so fierce and feared, that even the King became quite nervous.
The battle lasted three years. At the end of those three years, it came to an end.
The King you see, was near death on the battlefied.
Slayed by the same folks who once believed as he did, that content – courses was the key to learning. And that the castles where the content was stored worked in alliance.
But for many of these castle lords that was not acceptable. Their castles had to be bigger and more powerful and the content, well that was secondary.
Needed for sure, required – well, perhaps not.
The King is Dead
Once the battle ended and the remaining armies departed for their own lands and castles, the ships returned to their ports, and the shopkeepers went back to work, the King was gasping for air.
His last words,
“I had never thought courses would become a commodity, similar to beans, lamp oil or gold. I never saw it coming.”
Nor did we
say the people,
Nor did we.
This Knight will be publishing and tweeting live from the World of Learning Conference starting on Tuesday. Follow via @diegoinstudio on Twitter, E-Learning 24/7 Linkedin group. Wrap-up review on WOLC, will be published the following week.