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The Future of Learning Technology
Many of today’s knowledge-delivery companies are caught up in the same situation as the freight delivery companies of 100 years ago. Clinging to the familiar metaphors of the past—the classroom, the course, academic metrics—they use new learning technologies in ways that gate their real value. “In our haste to jump on the e-learning bandwagon, we have failed to recognize how the integrative and collaborative aspects of emerging Internet technologies can allow learning to flourish organically within and across the enterprise,” said Tony O’Driscoll, learning strategist at IBM On Demand Learning. “So far we have merely leveraged technology to automate existing training approaches and processes within the enterprise,” he observed. “We need to change our own limiting paradigms around how we perceive the role of learning in the enterprise in order to see the true potential for the first time.”
“The technology is already here for learning. We just need a cultural push to get everyone using it to its full capabilities,” added Randy J. Hinrichs, Microsoft Research’s group research manager of learning science and technology.
While grid computing, XML-based dynamic Web pages, personalized portals and service-oriented architectures (Web services) are being glued together by the learning community’s avant-garde, old habits die hard, and many companies and vendors continue to cling to artifacts from the earlier paradigm, including academic standards of success. They are discovering, painfully, that academic metrics are about as applicable to today’s time-constrained learning needs as are the metrics of the post office to e-mail. The market has not been kind to many first-movers who tried to pour old wine into new bottles, but it has rewarded those whose components fit (or can be made to fit) the new model.
“Vendors have erroneously assumed that the economy is the root cause of the diminishing sales of conventional learning technology,” said Sam Adkins, senior director of technology research at the Workflow Institute. “The real cause is the cannibalization of those revenues by a new class of products such as business process management (BPM), simulation, workflow automation, collaboration workspaces, instant messaging, multi-user product design, automated expertise mapping products and, most importantly, workflow optimization products.”
Microlearning â€” Size DOES Matter
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