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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Seven Things I Learned This Year

Over the past few years, I spend part of December going back through my blog to recap a bit of what some of the key things I’ve learned over the course of the year.  I’ve been doing this the past few years, for example: Learned about Learning in 2009.  And every year I use this as a Big Question – see: Learning 2010.  A lot of it is thinking through where my thinking has changed over the course of the year.  So here are a few of the things that are a bit different for me.

1. Twitter is Much Better than I Thought for Learning

I used to say during presentations that I wasn’t quite sure about twitter as a learning tool.  During 2010, I’ve been ramping up my use of twitter as a learning tool.  I’ve had to find ways to filter the flow and figure out when/how to reach out.  It was definitely helpful to spend time going through Twitter for Learning – 55 Great Articles.

2. Learning Coach Model Very Powerful

In 2010, I had a great experience where Dr. Joel Harband wrote a series of articles for my blog on Text-to-Speech in eLearning.   Here’s the series:

But what I learned from this was that it was a fantastic way to learn about a topic where I was interested but didn’t have the time to spend researching it.  Instead, Joel would write it up.  I’d ask questions and edit it.

It provided high value for me and hopefully value for people reading it.

I’m looking forward to doing more of this going forward.  Please let me know if you want to be a Learning Coach for me on another topic.

3. iPad (and iPhone) are Much More Useful Than I Expected

I didn’t actually think that I would care about the iPad except as a tool for training and performance support in environments like retail and restaurants where it’s always been an issue having access to machines.  However, now that I have an iPad myself, I’ve found myself sitting on the couch with it a LOT.  And slowly it’s got me to try more applications and then those applications expand off to my iPhone.

It’s an amazing device and no surprise it was one of the breakout topics on eLearning Learning this year.

4. LMS and Learning Tracking Still Struggling

While LMS solutions continue to get better, more powerful, more diverse, I continue to find myself searching for just the right solution for particular needs.  For example my search for an LMS Solution for Simple Partner Compliance Training didn’t really arrive at just the right solution.  I was also struggling for clients who needed very simple learning tracking but with some customizations.  Marketplace LMS solutions don’t quite fit.  Neither do more complex solutions.

And a big part of the problem is just how many there are and how fast they change.

5. Aggregation and Social Filtering Provide High Value

eLearning Learning has somewhat become my singular source of great eLearning content.  I use it to filter and find all the best content on a daily, weekly, monthly basis.  And it’s going to become much better in the new year as it moves over to the next generation platform.  I was really glad to see it grow to become one of the Top eLearning Sites.  And the system itself is growing with sites like Social Media Informer

6. Open Content Potential But There are Challenges

This year I spent quite a bit of time looking at where and how open content could get leveraged in different ways.  I’m still struggling a little bit with it, but I know there’s going to be a lot going on around it.  See Failure of Creative Commons Licenses and Creative Commons Use in For-Profit Company eLearning? for more on this.

7. Flash may Die and HTML 5 is Going to be Big

2010 opened my eyes are Flash and HTML 5.  I really think that 2010 marks the Beginning of Long Slow Death of Flash.  This, of course, means some really big changes for authoring tools in the industry.

Top Topics and Posts

As part of this exercise, I went back to look at my top posts and hottest topics for the year via eLearning Learning.  What I wrote more about in 2010 than past years:

And here were my top posts based on social signals.

  1. Twitter for Learning – 55 Great Articles
  2. Wikis and Learning – 60 Resources
  3. Teaching Online Courses – 60 Great Resources
  4. Top 10 eLearning Predictions for 2010
  5. Top 35 Articles on eLearning Strategy
  6. Open Source eLearning Tools
  7. 19 Tips for Effective Online Conferences
  8. Effective Web Conferences – 41 Resources
  9. Augmented Reality for Learning
  10. eLearning Conferences 2011
  11. Creative Commons Use in For-Profit Company eLearning?
  12. Top eLearning Sites?
  13. Social Learning Tools Should Not be Separate from Enterprise 2.0
  14. Social Media for Knowledge Workers
  15. Low-Cost Test and Quiz Tool Comparison
  16. Using Text-to-Speech in an eLearning Course
  17. Text-to-Speech Overview and NLP Quality
  18. SharePoint Social Learning Experience
  19. Beginning of Long Slow Death of Flash
  20. Text-to-Speech vs Human Narration for eLearning
  21. eLearning Innovation 2010 – Top 30
  22. Future of Virtual 3D Environments for Learning
  23. Failure of Creative Commons Licenses
  24. Text-to-Speech eLearning Tools - Integrated Products
  25. Success Formula for Discussion Forums in Financial Services
  26. Ning Alternatives that Require Little to No Work?
  27. Performance Support in 2015
  28. What Makes an LMS Easy to Use?
  29. Selling Social Learning – Be a Jack
  30. Evaluating Knowledge Workers
  31. Learning Flash
  32. LMS Solution for Simple Partner Compliance Training
  33. Filtering, Crowdsourcing and Information Overload
  34. Best Lecture
  35. Text-to-Speech Examples
  36. Sales eLearning – 21 Great Resources
  37. Simulations Games Social and Trends
  38. SharePoint Templates for Academic Departments
  39. Virtual Presentation – Ten eLearning Predictions for 2010
  40. Information Filtering


Nash Bai said...

Many thanks for your valuable articles!

V Yonkers said...

I just saw a TED presentation from Ethan Zuckerman where he had a number of interesting facts about twitter and other social networking sites. This addresses both this post and your previous post in which a good lecture goes a long way.

I am surprised you did not mention anything about video (such as YouTube) this year. However, I do believe we had the discussion about the impact mobile technology would have on elearning. This post reinforces the importance of mobile technology (not just iphones and cell phones).

What I have found interesting in the last few months is the impact that ipads have had on ereaders. While this technology has been around for a while, ipads seemed to have spurred the support services ereaders needed to be used (i.e. ebooks available on internet sites, ereader apps available to make an ereader more than a digital book, the availability of ereaders in retail stores and online retailers, a larger choice of ereader options and prices).

V Yonkers said...

Sorry, I forgot to include the link to Zuckerman's presentation.

Tony Karrer said...

Virginia - Great point that I left out video. I'm personally consuming a lot more video online.

I've not yet got into eReaders.

But the bottom line is that consumption format is moving from print, TV to coming through your iPad, iPhone, eReader, etc. That's a pretty significant change.

V Yonkers said...

My own children have taught themselves how to play certain songs through YouTube over the last year. My son taught himself how to play the guitar through YouTube instructional tapes. And many of my own students use YouTube a lot more in their work.

What I found especially interesting about Zuckerman's presentation was the different ways that different cultures are using social networking tools. For example, Brazil has the highest number of Twitter users, while the US uses facebook more. I know that most youth that I know DO NOT use twitter.

Liam Leeson said...

I'm still sceptical about the iPad, mainly because of the price to memory ratio. Interesting to see how it can be a useful piece of eLearning technology, though.

I can also advocate the use of Youtube videos for learning songs on guitar! That's one of my preferred methods.

Steve said...

Curious to see how your Flash-less recommendations are coming along?

I'm a developer. One of the tools I use is Flash. In my observation, the tool is used sometimes when it's not necessary. I've been thinking more and more that there are likely gains from moving to a mark-up centric model.

I think this is just smart business. Technology is fleeting. Technology is inherently temporary. Transformable, adaptable, and consumable technologies will live on.

I'm not on the HTML5 boat yet. Browser adoption rates are pretty terrible and the standard isn't even finished yet. I look forward to it, am experimenting a bit, but won't move my nuts into that basket until I'm confident my audience will support it.

So I plot and look for data standards and mark-up practices that maximize future consumption. I'm not ready to cast off Flash. It's still valuable in many cases. Regardless of how powerful alternative technologies can be, the IDE simply speeds up and enables delivery of things at a smaller cost.

And I haven't given up on Flash as a future-proof tool. I toyed with a Javascript swf interpreter that did a pretty good job translating to an HTML form. Maybe Flash isn't a terrible container for future use after all:) So much for those decrying Flash as a "proprietary platform".

I think it's incredibly short-sighted to cast off Flash entirely. But it's more short sighted to rely on it to heavily or as a central packaging element. Time will tell. HTML5 goodies are a ways off and past experience shows that browsers will never offer complete compatibility for standard mark-up.

The life of a developer. It's exciting:)

Tony Karrer said...

Steve - there are a few cases, especially audio/video where I'm back in using Flash. Otherwise, we've stayed away from it.

I very much appreciate your stance. You look at what you need to get done. You evaluate the alternatives and the risks. And you make an educated choice based on what you see.

What's changed in the discussion this year is the increased risk of Flash not eventually being widely the answer on mobile. So, let's not start building something heavily dependent on it. It also makes Flex look less attractive. So, the equation above has changed A LOT.

And, to the bottom line - being a developer right now and trying to pick winners given the change in delivery platforms, systems, third parties, ...

Interesting time indeed.

Anonymous said...

Great article, Tony. We have SO many more learning resources. I absolutely love YouTube for learning. Also, if you can't find anything out on Google than your just not looking hard enough! Thanks!