- eLearning 2.0 Presentation - ASTD Orange
- Have Work and Learning Changed or the Way We Do Work and Learning?
- Learning and Networking with a Blog (Deleted Scenes)
- Understanding eLearning 2.0
- Needed Skills for New Media
- eLearning 2.0 - An Immediate, Important Shift
- Personal and Group Learning Using Web 2.0 Tools
- Personal Work and Learning Environments
- eLearning 1.0, 1.3 and 2.0
- Learning Trends Point To and Shape eLearning 2.0
- Web 2.0 and eLearning 2.0 Start-Up Guides
- Personal and Group Learning Using Web 2.0 Tools
- Authoring in eLearning 2.0 / Add-ins & Mash-ups
The impact of Technology is often overestimated in the short-term and underestimated in the long-term.
I think eLearning 2.0 is an example of where technology has snuck up on us and there’s something very interesting going on that we are only beginning to recognize. Another time, I’ll talk about how amazing the technology revolution is, right now, let’s just focus on something I just heard. The person roughly said, I’ve been hearing about Web 2.0 and eLearning 2.0 and I don’t think I get it. What is eLearning 2.o anyhow?
It’s really not an easy question to answer, but let me take you through what I see as the cornerstones of eLearning 2.0. And let me apologize up front that I’m not trying to give any kind of formal definition. Instead, I’m trying to describe how I see eLearning 2.0 playing out in the short-term and medium-term for people in corporate eLearning.
Also, as you read this, if you have questions, comments, additions, please put a comment at the bottom and I’ll try to improve this over time.
Finally, if you really want to help yourself to “get it” – I strongly believe you need to play around with some of this technology. I’ve put a couple of Action Items within the contents. I don’t think I really “got it” until I played with these things.
To get a sense of eLearning 2.0, it’s helpful to have some sense of what Web 2.0 is. Probably the most cited article on this is from Tim O’Reilly called "What is Web 2.o?"
To pull the most relevant aspects for eLearning 2.0:
- Software Services
Today, you can easily go out and get software that runs completely outside of your own systems – “software as a service.” All you need is a browser. Probably the most known example of this is www.SalesForce.com – which is a CRM package that you just sign-up for on the web. Now, this is becoming quite common.
If you aren’t sure what this means, take a look at: http://www.writely.com/ & http://www.writeboard.com/. These are two examples of Word Processor applications delivered through the web. And since they are web enabled, you can easily share this with others.
Action Item: sign-up for Writely or WriteBoard and try it out. It’s instant. No installation.
- Harnessing Collective Intelligence
In some ways this is very simple to understand, Google and Amazon have made fortunes on using this approach. Google ranks search results partly based on how many other sites link to that page. They are relying on the fact that the more other people have linked to something, the greater likelihood that it has value. Similarly, Amazon uses other shoppers patterns to help you find things you might like.Under Web 2.0, this approach is being used with dramatic results. Consider the following:
· Wikipedia (http://www.wikipedia.com/) – a fantastic online encyclopedia based on entries from everyone.
· del.icio.us (http://del.icio.us) – shared, tagged bookmarks
· Cloudmark – collaborative spam filtering
Action Item: If you’ve not been to WikiPedia, you really need to go visit it.
- Everyone as Publisher
While related to the previous item, this is slightly different. The barrier to being able to create content has dramatically fallen. Probably the best example of this are blogs. Also included are wikis (like that used for WikiPedia). But in reality it also includes all sorts of other ways for us to create content including Flickr (photos), eVite (invitations), Podcasts, and the list goes on and on. Many people have referred to this as the transition to the “Read-Write Web.”
Action Item: Go to http://www.blogger.com/ and create your own blog. Takes about 5-10 minutes. Only hard part is what the topic for your blog should be. How about posting your take on eLearning 2.0 and putting in a comment that points us to your blog. (I know – this is a really cruddy kind of threaded discussion. Don’t get me started on that again.)
- Aggregation & Tagging
Of course, now that everyone publishes, information overload is taken to even new heights. So, to help make sense of this, we have ways of grabbing this information and pulling it together through mechanisms like RSS aggregators. We similarly have the problem that the information is not neatly organized, so one of the approaches to help make sense of this is Tagging as is done in systems like del.icio.us.
- Lightweight Programming & Composition
A really BIG trend for all of this is a change in the way software is being designed and built. Many applications are being built as small components that can be plugged into the middle of other applications. The classic example of this is Google Maps that allows you to embed a map in the middle of your web page (which is now your application) that shows your data on top of the Google Map. This kind of composition is often called a Mash-up. For an example, check out http://www.housingmaps.com/.
eLearning 2.0 Base Trend
Okay so that’s Web 2.0. Now onto eLearning 2.0…
There are a few articles on this, probably the two most commonly cited (up until this article) are: E-Learning 2.0, Stephen Downes,
E-learning 2.0, whatever that is, David Jennings
But both of these took me a long time to partially understand, so let me give you a slightly different angle or take on eLearning 2.0. Oh, and also part of the what makes understanding eLearning 2.0 hard is that several different “camps” have all landed on the same basic kinds of approaches from different directions. I would, via a gross generalization, put these camps down as:
- Collaboration / Communities
- Knowledge Management
Again, this article is primarily aimed at people coming from the eLearning world.
In this world, probably THE major trend that we’ve seen is a demand for faster learning in the context of work. We’ve also seen the slow smushing together of Online Reference, Online Job Aids, small eLearning pieces, Rapid eLearning and Blended Learning.
So, my concept of eLearning 2.0 starts with the trend towards:
- Small pieces of content
- Delivered closer to time / place of work
- Likely delivered in pieces over time as part of a larger program
This trend exists independent of the whole discussion of Web 2.0. In reality it is what is driving a lot of the discussions around Blended Learning and Rapid eLearning. And it’s really a big piece of what eLearning 2.0 is. An interesting discussion of this trend can be found in Elliot Masie’s column in CLO Magazine (but I hate his title) “Nano-Learning: Miniaturization of Design.”
eLearning 2.0 Meets Web 2.0
But, let’s start to add in a couple of things from Web 2.0.
If you did the Action Items above, you likely had the same reaction when you created your blog. Wow! That was incredibly easy! For me, it was really an “aha” moment. Wow, this software as services thing really works. Wow, I can now create a web page incredibly fast that’s publicly available.
Another “aha” was when I looked at the Add-ins for Blogger. These are small modules that are provided by completely separate companies (which are also very easy to set up) and plug right into my Blog. I created a poll and put it right in my blog. Wow, this small software component stuff really works.
Content Creation in eLearning 2.0
Okay, at the end of the day, a lot of us in eLearning think of ourselves as delivering content. Sure, sure, we are trying to improve performance in a way that has bottom line impact, but I’d also better produce some content.
Because of the Base Trend described above, we are today creating more content that looks like Online Reference and Online Job Aids. CMS & Wiki solutions make this really easy to do. It’s basically no harder than using a MS Word. Again, did you look at Writely? Better yet, chances are that your company already owns a CMS / Portal tool (and is looking for someone like you to use it).
Action Item: Go find out what Portal software you have in your company. It has CMS built in. You’ve got your easy to use content creation tool.
What you don’t get when you put up Online Reference or Online Job Aids is tracking. In other words, you won’t know who’s gone in and looked at the materials. Right now this is the big advantage of LCMS solutions, but you can actually create an add-on for the CMS solutions to track this today. Today, most companies are forgoing the tracking of who’s accessing the reference material and instead looking to gauge overall hits (total usage) and if they really want to test competence, they look use a follow-on test, they survey the manager or they look at the numbers.
Okay, so first content creation trend is the insanely easily creation of reference materials.
But it gets better…
We all know that in the middle of my HTML based course I can easily drop in a Flash interaction, right? Or I can also drop in a brief demonstration or simulation authored in Captivate. I’ve done this many times to create a kind of hybrid reference / courseware piece.
Now, the number of components that I can drop-in is increasing dramatically (think about Blogger Add-ons). See my previous article to get some ideas about different interactive elements that I can drop in.
Hang on – I use Lectora and I already have “drop in” interactions. What’s different here? Well you do and its pretty much the same. But using add-ins instead of what the authoring tool provides allows me to choose best of breed. I can use what Lectora gives me or I can choose a different add-in. And, that add-in can allow my students to interact with the content and each other!
Wait, what was that?
Yep, interaction with your students within your content. I’ve done this the hard way in the past. For example, a few years ago for one of our clients we created a pretty cool little feature. The client would be bringing a new customer up on their software and would need to train five people how to operate and run the software. These learners would go through online courseware for about 6 hours that would teach them about the software and test them using simulations. At any time during the course, the learner could click “Ask a Question” and it would allow them to type in a question that would be saved in their question list. At the end, they would be able to edit their list and then it was sent to the instructor. Once all five people were done with the courseware, the instructor would schedule a WebEx and go through the questions.
It really worked well. But, of course, we had to build that capability. Now I can drop it into my course for free. I could also drop in other opportunities to interact with the content that would get back to the instructor and also to share thoughts and comments with other learners.
This is GOOD STUFF!!! And it’s here today!!!
And, by adding in the ability for students to interact with our content, we are suddenly opening a lot of possibilities. I’m citing some very narrow examples above. Remember that this also means that I can very easily set up blended learning opportunities that have significant follow-up components that include active participation by learners and other related people. For example, in retail, when we have an intervention aimed at store managers, we will include the district managers as coaches and require that the store managers create action plans that are reviewed and commented on by district managers. We could also ask them to review other store manager’s plans and provide comments. We can then track the intervention through online discussions to find what’s working and not working.
Of course, this is where the KM and community / collaboration folks look at us and say “welcome to the party.” But, I’m not here to tell you that it’s easy to go to the next level of multi-point content creation where you are capturing knowledge and fostering communities that help with individual and organizational learning. But, I am saying that eLearning 2.0 has opened the door where there is a low-barrier to looking at models for going beyond one-way communication (trainer -> learner) or even two-way (trainer <-> learner) and consider many-to-many communication schemes that involve training, SMEs, coaches, peers, managers and others who are involved in fostering the performance at the end of the day.
Can anyone argue that given a low barrier to creating a 10 minute piece for the learner’s manager that we shouldn’t be creating that piece in most cases? That we shouldn’t foster some kind of communication and follow-up? The tools to do this are really here today and the barriers to using them are dropping rapidly.
As a community, and with the help of folks from KM and community / collaboration backgrounds, hopefully we can figure out what patterns really work here. I do believe the next few years are going to be times of incredible experimentation with many-to-many communication approaches as part of learning initiatives.
Content Access in eLearning 2.0
And one more thing that I put in eLearning 2.0 is content access through search, aggregation and tagging. As we lower the barrier to content creation, look to create smaller objects, have students create content, have SMEs create content, we are going to have an explosion of content. We need this content to be searchable. We also need ways to aggregate it into interesting “courses” and “programs.” We need to be able to tag it so that we can later find it.
Out of these three, aggregation you are already doing – in fact that’s almost half of our job description - it’s just that we are going to need new tools and techniques as multi-point content creation becomes more prevalent. Search is a slam dunk. In fact, Action Item: go find out what search you have in your company. Tagging I’m still trying to figure out how necessary its going to be. I know as a means of fostering community research, its great. I’m assuming that it will be important to help us aggregate.
Again – if you have comments, questions, thoughts, ideas, I welcome them.