This time it's personal


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This time it's personal

  1. 1. This Time It’s Personal: Learning Content Management Solutions by Bob LittleIntroductionStandards, tools and techniques for learning content personalization are beginning to emerge – which is just as well becausethey can help organizations perform better in the increasingly competitive global labor marketplace and world economy. In itsshort history as an industry sector, corporate eLearning has rarely failed to develop at an alarmingly fast rate. In recent years,there has been the development of digital repositories and learning content management systems which empower organizationsto separate the acquisition and provision of learning content catalogues from the delivery platforms for those learning materials.This period has also seen the arrival of rapid learning content production tools and architectures, supporting organizations’ self-managed content production, where the main objective is to reduce learning costs.Today, in the light of these and other developments in corporate learning technologies and after some challenging economictimes around the world, leading organizations are reshaping their learning departments, re-tooling them towards systems andtechnologies that empower higher degrees of learning personalization and customization. Those adopting these systems andtechnologies believe that they make their organizations better suited to empower their evolving workforces and their increasingre-skilling and performance support needs.In a world of increasing competition, business activities being reshaped and emerging economies offering increasingly skilledworkforces and higher service quality, leading Western organizations need to do a number of things if they are to survive. Thisincludes identifying their workers’ skills, knowledge and competencies. They must also identify gaps in these skills, knowledgeand competencies – and take steps to remedy these as quickly, efficiently and effectively as possible.Among other things, this means providing their workforce with support, where and when they need it. In turn, this means provid-ing that support via any device that a worker has available. Importantly – to be effective - that support must take into accountthe worker/learner’s location and context in which they need that support, as well as the learner’s personal preferences wherelearning is concerned. ~1~ © eXact learning solutions 2010
  2. 2. This Time It’s Personal: Learning Content Management SolutionsPersonalized Learning Content ManagementThankfully, the technology needed to provide this personalized learning – and thus personalized learning content management(PLCM) too – is coming on stream. PLCM is all about helping leading organizations to develop their workforce skills and com-petencies in a much faster and more effective way. This is becoming extremely valuable in the light of studies which reveal that60% of those who were leaders in the business world immediately prior to the economic crisis will not be in post as the recoverytakes off.Fabrizio Cardinali, chair of the European Learning Industry Group (ELIG) – the Europe-wide professional association and pres-sure group – commented, at an ELIG meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, that European corporations can’t afford to lag behind interms of innovation and creativity. Instead, he argued, they need to recognize that competition could be coming from unexpectedsources and, if that is the case, they may not be able to counter it successfully.Cardinali referred to the US aerospace industry which, in the 1960s, was spurred into action following the unexpected launch ofthe USSR’s Sputnik. Similarly, today, he said, large organizations in the West in such industries as publishing, manufacturing andtelecommunications face a new wave of innovation and creativity challenges to their traditional market dominance. These chal-lenges are fuelled by the internet removing traditional market barriers and thus ‘internationalizing’ markets.The iTunes takeover of the music marketplace was one of the many instances that Cardinali cited to show how sudden this mar-ket reshaping could be - and how slow and unready leading organizations could be if they didn’t reshape and retool themselvesin time. He added: “Amazon and Apple represent a modern day ‘Sputnik ghost’ for large European and American publishers. Andyet they are the ones who are currently retooling, since they are aware of what the advent of MP3 did to the music industry andare now taking account of the ‘eBook wave’.”“With new information and communications technology enabled tools, we can tap the knowledge workers’ brainpower in newways,” added ELIG’s secretary general, Richard Straub. “It is only these workers who can deliver the creativity and innovationthat will bring a new leap in innovation and hence economic growth to Europe and its economies.”Although the elements that comprise ‘blended learning’ have been around for a long time, the latest developments in media andskills personalization technologies are now helping learning materials to become increasingly ‘personalized’ to individual learn-ers.This suggests that, with systems starting to perform simple customization algorithms automatically, blended learning is only inthe very early stages of its development. It will continue that development as more open standards and enterprise architectures,based on interoperability standards and service oriented architectures (SOA), appear.Personal Ambient Learning SystemsCardinali, who is also CEO of eXact learning solutions, a leading online and mobile learning content management solutionprovider, commented: “At eXact learning solutions Research, we are working on developing personal ambient learning services(PALs) to be added to eXact LCMS (Learning Content Management System). This involves adding mobile learning managementmodules to our suite to provide wider content personalization.” ~2~ © eXact learning solutions 2010
  3. 3. This Time It’s Personal: Learning Content Management SolutionsPALs will bring personalized learning and knowledge content at the press of a button on such mobile devices as iPhones andBlackberrys. These devices will adapt the learning material to the learner’s context (such as time, device and location).A current application blends eXact learning solutions’ eXact Mobile module within the learn eXact learning content manage-ment suite. Where learning content management is concerned, eXact learning solutions believes that it’s increasingly importantto develop and store learning content in such a way that it is conducive to being used - not just in a static, blended approach tolearning but also in a dynamic way that is able to repackage itself, interoperating with media and skills based personalizationsystems within the enterprise.This allows it to adapt, in real time, to the learner’s personality, perspective and learning preferences as well as her/his skills andcompetency gaps as well as the learner’s location and the available device to deliver the learning and/or support. Moreover, thecontent must be delivered easily from the central enterprise repository or a federated network of corporate repositories. It canbe delivered via any delivery mechanism - from digital boards in classroom based learning through mobile devices in a context-sensitive, personalized way - augmenting and extending the concept of blended learning. To do this requires appropriate proc-esses and standards for meta-tagging each piece of remediation and assessment content between enterprise systems, so thatthis content can be stored, retrieved and combined with other pieces of content in an effective and efficient way.Each blended learning project has its own audience and context – and, importantly, this means that each project is different andso needs a unique blend of learning delivery methods in order to help the learner gain the maximum benefit from the learningmaterials.Informal LearningThese days, finding the most appropriate blend of learning materials - in other words, aligning the learning materials and theirdelivery with the learner’s lifestyle as well and learning preferences - can result in prescribing an increasing degree of ‘informallearning’. This means that any system for allocating, accessing and monitoring learning must be able to cope with informal aswell as formal learning interventions.Organizations in a highly regulated industry, such as financial services, can see the benefits of combining various learningdelivery methods especially mobile learning. Such a system takes up none of the employer’s network bandwidth. Moreover, anychanges in regulations involve altering only one module rather than an entire course and, importantly, staff can access the learn-ing materials, including updates, instantly, on-demand and just-in-time.While – under the pressures of corporate life - staff doesn’t have the time to spend on a 40 minute eLearning course, they caneasily find time to take the course in, say, ten minute chunks via their mobile. Time-pressured professionals have a real need todiscover the core, basic facts as rapidly as possible – because that may make all the difference between being successful andunsuccessful in a particular deal. So mobile and traditional eLearning are complementary learning delivery formats because amobile device is an ideal way to achieve this delivery of just-in-time, just enough performance support learning material.However, it doesn’t completely replace the need for more in-depth learning, of course – that’s where ‘blended learning’ comes ~3~ © eXact learning solutions 2010
  4. 4. This Time It’s Personal: Learning Content Management Solutionsin! In every area – education and academia, the public and private sectors – personalized blended learning and personalizedlearning records are beginning to set a trend that could prove vital as, in the years to come, Western economies face increasingcompetition in world markets.About the AuthorFor over 20 years, Bob Little has specialised in writing about, and commentating on, corporate learning – especially eLearning – and technology-relatedsubjects. His work has been published in the UK, Continental Europe, the USA and AustraliaeXact learning solutionseXact learning solutions, formerly Giunti Labs, is a leading online and mobile learning content management and digital repository eXact learning solutions - Headquarterssolutions provider, offering a wide range of tools and services for content development, management and delivery, covering: Abbazia dell’Annunziata • Multi-language bespoke learning content production Via Portobello - Baia del Silenzio • Content management and digital repository platforms 16039 Sestri Levante (GE) Italy • Mobile learning technologies • Consulting and professional services Tel +39.0185.4761The company has over fifteen years of experience and more than 100 clients worldwide. Our technological innovations allow Fax +39.0185.43.347enterprises to improve their organizational performance, and achieve significant reductions in business costs. ~4~ © eXact learning solutions 2010