I've done a few posts in the past that take a look at the topics that are Hot Topics in Training. In each case, these are crude in that they look only at what terms people are using in a given content set. Back in 2007, I pointed out various aspects of what I was seeing:
- strategy/strategic and performance are back as topics after dropping way down in 2006
- surprisingly trainer is also back, you would think in the age of eLearning 2.0 this would be down
- notable dropping topics: games, simulations, knowledge, interactive and blended
Karyn Romeis commented:
Hmm. I have doubts about the validity of these data. Perhaps some topics are on the wane because they have become so integrated as to be invisible and no longer a topic to remark about. Just a thought.
And she's absolutely correct, that these are only general indications of what people are talking about. Also, it only indicates what the presenters and conference organizers (for that data set) thought that the audience would be interested in and was worth presenting at the conference. I still maintain that it's helpful to keep an eye on these things.
And now, because of eLearning Learning, I have a much better way to track these things over a much more interesting content sets.
By selecting LMS, I've selected content that is the latest and best stuff that's associated with the term LMS. The keywords on left side are changed to keywords which are more closely associated with that term. For example, we see terms now at the top like Learning Management System, AICC, SCORM. Take a look at the companies:
You notice the counts are out of order (not descending). That's because they are ordered according to how closely the system thinks the companies are associated with the selected term within the content set.
This works across any subset of the content including sources, keywords and arbitrary searches.
For example, when I view my blog's content through the eLearning Learning lens, it shows me that relative to other sources of content in the system, I tend to talk about:
That's a pretty fair representation of topics that I talk about.
Topics by Year
By selecting 2009, I've selected a subset of the content, but in this case it's basically content associated with this year. When you look at the keywords on the left you see things like:
Now, the content set in this case are highly skewed towards innovators as compared to the topic sets being used by my past analysis (training conferences). But still, this gives a general indication and it's especially interesting when you compare it to 2007:
Ah the good old days of 2007. Seems so long ago. :)
How about 2005?
Back when we still had hope that folksonomy (tagging) would make sense of the flood of content.
Year by Topic
You can also go the other way to see things like selecting Twitter and you can see that the associated years are:
2020? That indicates that someone is talking about that year and about twitter in the same content. So, predictions for the future and how twitter might relate.
This stuff is definitely not exact, but it gives a general indication. Twitter is a hot topic right now as compared to some others.
The years associated with Wiki suggest it was more discussed a couple years ago and now is discussed less.
Does the associated years for SharePoint suggest it's a technology for the future?
You can pretty much do this endlessly.
I often will use this technique when I run into a new company to see if anyone is blogging about it and generally what is associated with it.
So when I go back to Hot Topics in Training, the topics that were hot then and by looking at the associated years I can get a sense that:
- assessment – not discussed as much now (e.g., 2001 2002 2000 2003 2004 are associated years)
- virtual classroom – still current
- strategy – old
- flash – still current
- performance – old – not sure why – shouldn't this be a perennial topic?
- roi - old
- enterprise – future and old
- games – still popular
This is definitely something that I'll be using as I go forward.