Say out loud learning technology and the two words just seem not to go together. Learning? You mean the classroom?  The same approach to learning since humans went to school?  Technology?  That sounds so advanced – so in the “time to come”.  They cannot be associated with one another – we are talking about learning here folks!

But they can not only work together but achieve something far greater than any of us could imagine, success.

There have plenty of technologies and technological capabilities that have scored the big “F” when it comes to learning.  What might work in the classroom fails online and vice versa.   The main factor to the failure is tied to technology.  With technology, you can bring the real world and specifically real world scenarios into your workplace, online no less.

Technology brought us the LMS, authoring tool, web conferencing and e-learning tools, just to name a few.  Sometimes technology  fails not because it stinks, but because it is “too advanced” for the market (at that time). 

I often bring up a company in 2000, who offered video based courses with bookmarking capability, course tracking and would work on a 56K modem.   Cutting edge for sure, didn’t make it a year.

When Cutting Edge works

I’m not saying that all these items listed below will achieve ultimate success with online learning, let alone learning (a few are devices) within the next two years.  Some clearly will, others, maybe not.  There are quite a few factors and variables that have to mesh just so, in order for perfect harmony.

Real Time Recognition of images, objects

If you haven’t heard, and most people have not, there is a product out there called Blippar.  What Blippar does it recognize faces and objects and then relays the data back to the person in real time.  

Real time recognition via device of course.  For those who are saying this is (IoT) yes you are right.  Uh, IoT – internet of things.

How I see its possibilities

Unlimited.  The employee walks around the office and sees various items – immediately the information is sent back to them, explaining what they are and how they integrate into what they employee does each day. 

For a new employee instead of sticking them in a room to watch a video, that no one does OR have them read a book, that no one reads, offer them this technology and change learning from reactive to pro-active.

On the HE side, real time recognition and data results to the person is made for one another. 

I’m not talking from a dating perspective, rather I’m talking from the ability to look at a textbook image and immediately “see” the information, 3D if you will – via your mobile device, your wearable or some other fashion.  

  Instead of having students look at an image for field work and then write about it, they see it and learn about it – in real time.

Push it to a social level and go one further step.  Employee X views an object in the workplace and gets real time data on it via a device. The employee can leave their own comments and feedback tied to that object. 

Next, another employee shows up later. They see the “data” themselves, plus the comments from the other employee.

From the e-learning standpoint, rather than looking at an image in a course and then reading the text or listening to the words, the data stream is sent directly to you via a wearable or another type of device. 

Mobile is the immediate thought of usage.   Now we are have truly a real time data stream between the learner and the online image or object right within the online course or the LMS for that matter.   It only is a matter of time, until a push/pull capability works within it.

(IoT) – Internet of Things

When you think of IoT most folks tie it with the Apple watch or a wearable watch.  That is just one subset.  The hottest item for wearables and IoT right now are the fitness trackers.  Fitness in fact is super hot for IoT, which if you think about it, why isn’t it (IoT) being used for PE or school exercise classes as we speak?  I can’t think of one school that uses IoT fitness for their PE or exercise class.

The way I see (IoT) for online learning, is more along the lines of combining mobile, social and business intelligence.  The quick way is the mobile and social.

Have your employees use their mobile devices (for m-learning) and as they are doing whatever for that learning, the software built-in by the m-learning vendor or learning system’ mobile app, enables the ability for instant communication between others (within a certain vicinity – could be the workplace), communicating and sharing information back and forth.

Yeah, you could argue this is one part of AR and one part – it is already out there – i.e. the other part; but not to this level.

I mean at some point it could be nothing more than one of those plastic bands – with the chip in it. 

Or an employee card that allows them access to the workplace.  That one card could become the IoT for their online learning.   Forget mobile device, hello employee badge.

Internet Plus

In China, they are working on “Internet Plus”. 

“Internet Plus” integrates mobile net, cloud computing, big data and IoT to help in the development of e-commerce among other things.   What if “Internet Plus”, is used for online learning instead?

MBaaS

Oh look another word to confuse us all. It stands for Mobile Back-end as a Service. The more mainstream term is BaaS,(Backend as a Service). BaaS creates a unified way for mobile and web developers

MBaaS provides mobile and web developers a way to link their applications (front-end) to backend cloud storage via APIs and SDKs.  (Wikipedia)

Oh, and while that is being done, still include features such as analysis tools, push notifications, user management, messaging and integrations with items such as social networking.

That last part is really the crux to the whole thing, albeit the power of MBaaS is it allows mobile and web developers a unified way to connect their apps with cloud based services.

One product, Jaspersoft 6.1 is intriguing.  The software embeds BI within mobile and SaaS apps with a built-in multi-tenant service.

In simpler terms you are putting traditional BI such as reports, dashboards, predictive and interactive analysis into an app.

This capability alone opens up lots of potential for those who want the “big data” angle with their corporate online learning.

To me, MBaaS offers the greatest potential for a multitude of options and capabilities for e-learning. 

From just an app standpoint, it clears the way to so many possibilities.

Biometrics

I’m not totally sold on biometrics for e-learning.  I can’t attest for everyone, but for me, that touch swipe thing to use my computer is hit or miss.  Sometimes whalla, windows other times – “can’t read” and I go right to the password. 

I know some proctor online services use biometrics and hey, happy for you. 

But for mass usage in some ways, just doesn’t seem on task.  It would be more likely that someone would use a drone for learning (that would be cool, just to see), than mass produce a learning product with biometrics and RFID (although I do use that technology).

Devices

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I read an article the other day that stated that any mobile smartphone that was less than 5″ was outdated and thus phablets – the term wasn’t necessary.  

I’d love to say yes, oh yes so true, but there are plenty of people who do not have the latest iPhone or Android phones that surpass 5″. 

What I do see is an increase in 2 to 1 (i.e. tablet/laptop which can become a tablet, examples: Pro Surface by Microsoft, 7140 Venue by Dell) windows OS devices.   I have heard of companies swapping out their desktops for 2 to 1s.  Of course, mobile devices are on fire.

Thus:

  • Larger size mobile smartphones
  • Tablets
  • 2 to 1 windows OS (hybrids; tablet/laptop)
  • Desktops – will they ever become outdated?
  • Laptops –  some folks thought Chromebooks would push laptop off the map, sorry to disappoint
  • Wearable devices – smart watch (for now) along with some other wearable devices now, and other items and wearables coming soon

I love my 2 to 1 and use it for work travel, but admit that when I am at home, I use my iPad for reading and entertainment. For my office, I use my laptop with my 21″ HD screen.  And yes, I have a smartphone too. 

But I’m not the norm and therein lies the challenge for devices.  I have friends who are tech gurus that have a desktop and not a laptop, even though they will have as smartphone. 

Then I know folks who do not use their laptop or iPad at home because their net connectivity is so poor, it is not even worth trying. I know people who get ready for this – refuse to use any type of device – technology at home. 

You heard right – dare I say it? They READ paper books.   Quick – get out the pitchforks!

Bottom Line

I didn’t cover VR, because it was written in a previous post, but yeah it is going to be good for learning technology, although I still believe that Microsoft’s HaloLens, if it delivers what it says it can do, will be a huge game changer in a positive way for learning technology. 

 MBaaS and real time recognition are the big winners for now, but again, if HaloLens launches and delivers, then HaloLens could be the missing link that we have all been seeking.

Okay, Okay.

What I have been seeking,

For e-learning.

E-Learning 24/7