I am not a luddite.
I’ve worked with and in L&D technology since the mid 1980s.
What I am is someone who puts educaCon, training and development ﬁrst and
I always quesCon and analyse any new L&D development before I get excited about
ExplanaCon of the ‘menu’:
How these terms are being used.
What is going on out there.
Who are the end users – how much do we really know about them.
The impact Web 2.0 apps can have on organisaCons.
How much will instrucConal designers need to change ‐ should they start looking
for another job.
To what extent should the use of Web 2.0 apps be formalised.
Many deﬁniCons of Web 2.0 – this is a fairly common one.
Importance of the words ‘create’ and ‘share’.
Web 2.0 mantra – rip, mix and feed: you take content from wherever, mix it up as
you see ﬁt, and then feed it to all those who might ﬁnd it useful.
Learners, who are creaCng and sharing podcasts, blogs and wikis, and using social
networks, have all been tagged as undertaking e‐Learning 2.0 or Learning 2.0
Web 2.0 and its associated tools are just technologies – the human element is
needed to make them useful – just because they are there doesn’t mean that people
have to use them. But they are being used, mainly to support informal learning.
I’m doing it right now!
The extent to which it’s happening – diﬃcult to tell for 3 reasons: i) when used for
informal learning, ii) trend only research, and iii) far too many spurious claims and
But Web 2.0 technologies are being used as educaConal and L& D tools because
they are available and accessible to a large number of computer users.
Some organisaCons, in parCcular educaConal insCtuCons, have started to formalise
their students’ use of Web 2.0 technologies by: a) endorsing their use, b) allowing
people to publish their own content, and c) providing Enterprise Systems to handle
content in an extremely sophisCcated manner.
Know thy target audience – mantra of all good instrucConal designers.
But please, either take with a massive sprinkling of salt or, preferably, just ignore
the stereotypical rubbish which is currently being spouted by some of those who are
hyping Web 2.0, etc. to the heavens.
According to these people there are 4 groups (there always are, aren't there?):
Veterans (b 1925‐1945), Baby Boomers (b 1946‐1964), GeneraCon X (b 1965‐1979 – I
don’t know why they are called that – perhaps to compare them with the last group,
GeneraCon Y (apparently because they are forever asking why!) (b 1980‐1995).
Each group is said to have a diﬀerent proﬁle but the greatest diﬀerence is
GeneraCon Y’s proﬁle when compared to the other 3.
OK some of the very generalised stuﬀ may be fairly accurate in describing some of
the common traits of people in each of the groups. However, extrapolaCng these
common traits to the ways in which these people learn is just downright dangerous.
Theories and models of Learning Styles are bad enough but to have this load of
unproven twaddle thrown into the mix is enough to make this Baby Boomer move
pronto into the Veterans class!
.... and then, of course, there is always the Silver Surfers (they don’t even get a
menCon – why not?)
If you want to know if it’s happening in your organisaCon ‐ and why wouldn’t you?
– then these 4 areas might help you to focus your research:
Covert – overt dimension (says a lot about the organisaCon’s culture)
Who is driving it – the learners themselves, the managers, IT(!!!) – if you’ve got a
situaCon where learners are driving it and managers are encouraging it then raise a
Where are the tools – how sophisCcated is the system in which they are accessible?
Likely to be used informally but you never know – if so then how are they being used
and with what eﬀect.
Remember, if you do wish to formalise the use of some or all of these tools, they
vary in the extent to which they can be branded for your organisaCon – would this
Don’t assume – ask your employees (a representaCve sample please) what it is they
want now and what they might want in the short‐term.
Panic – help – do I need to be able to control it? As an instrucConal designer I’m
used to being in control and ‘conducCng the orchestra’.
I need to know what this is all about and to get a really good feel for what’s going
on out there. I need to work out why, when and how I might need to incorporate the
use of these tools in to my learning design.
EducaConal programmes – exisCng instrucConal design strategies and methods
(seminars, tutorials, broad objecCves, group work, individual research ....) should
easily accommodate the overt and ‘formalised’ use of Web 2.0 tools and apps.
Training programmes – if applied in an overt manner, then a whole new ball game
for ID. However, formalised rules for which may never be wrijen because they will
never be needed.
Development programmes – may be formally incorporated in some areas/aspects,
e.g. acCon learning sets, but more likely to remain covert but organisaCon‐backed
This will depend on the nature of the ‘learning’ programme, the type of
organisaCon and its culture, and the needs of learners.
Several ways and levels:
First degree/aspect of formalisaCon is for the organisaCon to endorse the use of
Web 2.0 tools and apps be this in a covert or overt manner.
By providing suitable Enterprise systems, this makes the use of such tools and apps
more formalised. Are there sCll organisaCons out there who block Internet sites and
issue PCs with unusable CD drives?
Now this is really ‘pushing the envelope’ – no problem whatsoever in educaConal
insCtuCons but could another majer altogether in both public and private
The ulCmate level – real power to the people but probably one where there are far
too many constraints and vested interests in ever leong this happen – but there
again I said the same about Rapid e‐Learning tools several years ago!
Horses for courses (programmes)
The ‘toys’ are there, so why not endorse their use at the very minimum?
Web 2.0 tools and apps for me are learner support tools and these, in my book,
should never be made compulsory for everyone – it depends on what individuals
require, when they require them, and if they ﬁnd them helpful.
A point which is so open forgojen in the excitement and rush to be ‘with it with
technology’ – dogs and tails spring to mind as the technology tail wags the learner’s
There are two main drivers for the use of Web 2.0 tools and apps – learners and
people like us.
In the context of social learning then their use is appropriate.
Possibly, but it will take a lot of hard evidence to convince me, by which Cme we
will probably be wondering what all the fuss was about (c/f e‐Learning a few years
Only Cme will reduce or remove the hype and be replaced by substance, or, we will
look back and say “oh yes, I remember the Web 2.0 period – what ever happened to
The tools and apps are relaCvely new as is their use (although people have been
using their iPods to rip, mix and burn since 2001 – Apple’s ﬁrst use of the concept).
The process is not that new, just easier to do.
Web 3.0 = the third generaCon of Internet‐based services that collecCvely comprise
what might be called 'the intelligent Web'—such as those using semanCc web,
microformats, natural language search, data‐mining, machine learning,
recommendaCon agents, and arCﬁcial intelligence technologies—which emphasize
machine‐facilitated understanding of informaCon in order to provide a more
producCve and intuiCve user experience.