I'm still preparing for a couple of presentations at DevLearn and a presentation for ASTD Los Angeles - What's Next in eLearning? (Actually that presentation is virtual so if you read this blog and are interested in attending, I can talk to the organizer.)
In any case, I need help figuring out the best way to explain the trends going on in eLearning. I'm going to put in my current figure, but I'm not happy with it or necessarily how I'm presenting it, so I'd like some feedback.
The basic trend that I see in eLearning is that we've really started down a couple of new paths that I've label eLearning 1.0, eLearning 1.3 (I'll explain that in a minute) and eLearning 2.0. My first problem is that the labels include the version number that implies that we simply get rid of the old version when we upgrade. That's not really the case. A better analogy is an Oven and a Microwave. Just because you have the new technology doesn't mean you cook everything in it.
Question 1 - What's a good technology analogy that has 3 generations and where
you still keep prior generations around?
Okay, so now let me confess why I'm calling it eLearning 1.3. It's because that dang Clive Sheppard has patented "Learning 1.5" (Clive on Learning: Learning 1.5 - for those who prefer evolution to revolution). No, actually, it's because I think the distance from eLearning 1.0 to eLearning 1.3 is shorter.
Question 2 - I know that some people hate the term eLearning 2.0, but it seems that this is better than any alternative I've heard. Any suggestions on what to call the columns? Maybe the answer to Question 1 would help.
In the eLearning 1.3 column, I'm trying to represent a lot of what is happening today in corporate learning. While we've not really let go of eLearning 1.0, we are being forced to build learning more quickly, in smaller learning bursts and often can be accessed as reference as well as up-front learning. Many times the SMEs are doing some of the content creation and definitely more maintenance. Because of that we're using fewer desktop based authoring solutions and moving towards web-delivered authoring.
My guess is that most folks in corporate eLearning can identify with the above trends. Here's where it gets trickier.
LMS - Some folks have gone away from the LMS for a big chunk of their learning. Thus, delivery of content is initially through email and then through the intranet on an on-going basis. Other folks keep their eLearning content under the LMS. Clearly by the time you get to eLearning 2.0 with user generated content, the LMS has to change. Further the trend in Web 2.0 suggest that lightweight solutions win out over more complex, controlling kinds of solutions like an LMS.
Question 3 - Is the use of the LMS important to understanding this trend? Does it matter that there's been somewhat of a backlash and I expect that to continue?
Collaborative Learning - There's definitely a trend (as pointed to by Clive as well) in using collaborative tools as part of what is otherwise an eLearning 1.0 kind of solution. This is certainly not eLearning 2.0 and not really eLearning 1.3 by itself. But, it seems like it heads you towards thinking about learning occurring through peer interaction and helps you move towards eLearning 2.0. Thus, I've included it in the eLearning 1.3 column even though that really feels not quite right.
Question 4 - What should I do about Collaborative Learning?
Finally, I'm trying to convey in the last row the changing role of Training in each of these approaches. I've tried a bunch of different analogies and not found one that I like. Currently, I say Gourmet Chef because we get an order for some really great learning and pull together the best ingredients and create something really spectacular (actually I've probably not been a gourmet chef since 1993). Short-order cook because we still take orders, but people expect it fast and cheap and they are going to eat quick. Food critic because we don't even create the content any more but we do help people make sense of content that's being created.
Realistically, the dramatic shift between eLearning 1.0 and 1.3 is changing to being responsible for tools and process that SMEs can use to create content. In eLearning 2.0 we do that as well except for it's end users creating content (hopefully they are SMEs too). But we also add the responsibility for aggregating the content into helpful guides, etc.
Question 5 - Is this analogy helpful? Would you ditch it? Change it?
That's it. I'm really hoping I'll get some feedback on this.
Keywords: eLearning Trends, eLearning 2.0, Web 2.0, Informal Learning, Collaborative Learning