Bob is pretty wired into both the LMS world and hears what people are talking about at conferences and I've heard the same things, so I don't disagree that he's hearing this stuff, and I quite agree with his statement:
Many of the latest LMS and e-learning efforts have driven learners into learning silos, isolating them from their peers. We need to build the collaborative aspect of learning back into these experiences if we’re going to achieve the collective outcomes we want.
But I found myself disagreeing with where he took the conversation...
Learning teams and projects need to be assigned based on job roles. Teams need
to learn to support and understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
Collaborative learning environments and strategies such as virtual classrooms,
discussion forums, mentoring and coaching need to be enabled and mandated as
part of the learning experience.
While I welcome LMS products providing these kinds of capabilities, I am worried that we are about to see another whole cascade of LMS features that will make it even hard to get a reasonable implementation done. Further, the fact that he's suggesting that they need to get on-board with collaboration suggests that LMS products are two cycles behind. Focusing on job roles, teams, collaboration sounds like a heavy, groupware type approach that is going to take too much work and be too inflexible if you ever get it done. This is the same problem that Andrew McAfee discusses ERP vs. Enterprise 2.0.
Instead, emergence suggests that we should provide lighter-weight solutions that enable the individual to improve their personal learning and provides value to the individual first, but enables them to reach out and collaborate via the same toolset where it helps them. The value of del.icio.us / Yahoo MyWeb is that it first helps the individual and by helping the individual it helps the collective.
Making LMS products bigger, more complex is likely the exactly wrong way to go. In fact, there may be some big opportunity for more nimble players on the low end based on simple publishing (think Wiki) and simple tracking and bundles of other simple kinds of solutions to make significant in-roads. The stuff being discussed in LAMS and Drupal/Moodle make me wonder what the landscape will look like in five years. Especially if large LMS vendors take Bob's advice and become even bigger and more bloated and are really, really hard to implement (which is his very first complaint).