October 9, 2006 The eLearning Guild’s SM Practical Applications of Technology for Learning THIS WEEK: Management Strategies Once the technology punditsTechnology Trends: began talking about Web 2.0,e-Learning 2.0 it was only a matter of time By Anita Rosen before e-Learning picked up the same numerical versionA bout every ten years, there is a “new and em- erging” trend in the technology industry. The1970’s brought us the acceptance of mainframes; prefix. But what’s all the ex- citement about? In a word,the 1980’s brought the client server market; the plenty. In this week’s article,1990’s gave us the Internet; the 2000’s are bringingus “Web 2.0.” Each new trend does not mean the de- you will learn about themise of the previous trend. We still have mainframes, trends and technologiesPCs, servers, software, and Internet browsers. that are changing the way However, new trends layer on top of older established technologies, andenable us to provide new services to a growing user base. In the 1980’s thetechnologies made it easier to mass market. The 1990’s Internet explosion you will create e-Learning!allowed us to mass customize. Today’s trends let us mass personalize. Speci-fically, mass personalization allows users with specific (niche) needs to accessproducts, services, or like-minded people. Tim O’Reilly and Dale Dougherty of MediaLive have dubbed the latest trendsin technology “Web 2.0.” In this article, I will explore the trends and technologiesthey include in Web 2.0, and discuss how these trends and technologies apply A publication ofto the e-Learning marketplace.The big trends In the first 2000’s decade, we have a large, diverse base of online users andwe have new iterations of technologies that support different applications. Hereare the biggest trends dubbed “2.0.”
LEARNING SOLUTIONS | October 9, 2006 2 Management StrategiesApplication services the Internet it has become much easier to market to E-Learning’s long tail Web 2.0 focuses on services rather than software. people in the tails of the curve. Specifically, there can be many geographically dispersed people with a like consists of all thoseUnlike the types of technologies that were introducedin the 1990’s, application services don’t require the interest who are not interested in what the majority industry or company-end users to load software onto their computers. Ser- wants. These people’s interests fall into niches for which it was not economical to have service providers specific classes thatvices reside on the Web. When the end users wantto participate or use a service, they go to a Web site. except in the largest population centers. are appropriate forMost Web services were not available five to 10 years Netflix is an example of a company that has be- come successful by marketing to the tail of the curve. a relatively smallago. Remember when you needed to look up drivingdirections from a map? Remember when you wanted Users can request old, “indie,” or foreign films not easi- audience. Rapidto buy a new house, you had to get listings from your ly obtainable from local retail stores. Because of limit- ed shelf space, the local video rental stores have to e-Learning is thereal estate agent who found all the homes in yourarea, and then you had to drive past each home? cater to the general popular culture market, so they trainer’s solutionApplications such as online driving directions and cannot stock all the obscure, non-mainstream films. for accessing long-MLS listings are examples of application services. Mashups tail users.Focus on “the long tail” Mashups involve taking multiple technologies or This refers to the portions of the population/market services and providing new added value services. Abell curve that reflect smaller markets. The tail can be site like Zillow.com lets you view an online map andvery long — there are many potential users who are see the price of houses in a specific neighborhood.not being serviced by the organizations that service Zillow.com accesses two different databases of infor-the core consumers. Mass marketing organizations mation — maps and county assessment records, com-focus on the center of the bell — that’s where the bining them into a new added value service.majority of the people are. With so many people on Learning Solutions e-Magazine™ is designed to serve as a catalyst for innovation and as a vehicle for the dissemination of new and practical strategies, techniques, and best practices for e-Learning design, devel- opment and management professionals. It is not intended to be THE definitive authority ... rather, it is intended to be a medium through which Publisher David Holcombe e-Learning professionals can share their knowledge, expertise, and expe- Editorial Director Heidi Fisk rience. As in any profession, there are many different ways to accomplish Editor Bill Brandon Copy Editor Charles Holcombe a specific objective. Learning Solutions will share many different per- spectives and does not position any one as “the right way,” but rather Design Director Nancy Marland Wolinski we position each article as “one of the right ways” for accomplishing an The eLearning Guild™ Advisory Board Ruth Clark, Lance Dublin, Conrad Gottfredson, objective. We assume that readers will evaluate the merits of each article Bill Horton, Bob Mosher, Eric Parks, Brenda Pfaus, Marc Rosenberg, Allison Rossett and use the ideas they contain in a manner appropriate for their specific situation. Copyright 2002 to 2006. The articles in Learning Solutions are all written by people who are Learning Solutions e-Magazine™ (formerly The eLearning Developers’ Journal™). Compilation copy- actively engaged in this profession — not by journalists or freelance writ- right by The eLearning Guild. All rights reserved. Please contact The eLearning Guild for reprint permission. ers. Submissions are always welcome, as are suggestions for future top- Learning Solutions e-Magazine™ is published weekly ics. To learn more about how to submit articles and/or ideas, please visit for members of The eLearning Guild, 525 College Avenue, Suite 215, Santa Rosa, CA 95404. Phone: our Web site at www.eLearningGuild.com. +1.707.566.8990. www.eLearningGuild.com
LEARNING SOLUTIONS | October 9, 2006 3 Management StrategiesEnlisting end users to add value End-user comments, blogs, and critiques may addvalue to generic information. Amazon was one of thefirst to stumble onto this. By allowing everyone to pro-vide book reviews, they added value to their serviceas a bookseller, made it difficult for competitors toreplicate, and increased the value of their service.Wikis are a new form of this phenomenon. By provid-ing the infrastructure and focus, a Wiki harnesses endusers to add value to a Web site.“Intel Inside” (branding of core capabilities) “Intel Inside” refers to branding of core capabilitiesthat the end user does not directly purchase. With theWeb, the Intel Inside strategy means providing theunderlying value that is being used by others. In theWeb services space, Google has been licensing their November 9 & 10, 2006search engine so that it can be locally hosted for in-tranet (local internal Web site) searches. This further Designing andextends the branding for their services.Providing services above the level of a Developing Modularsingle device This is about the ability to provide Web services and Reusablethat run smoothly on any configuration of PC or por-table device. Installed software is usually designed for e-Learning Contenta single operating system (e.g. MS Windows, Macin-tosh, or Linux). By providing software services through • Learn how a well-designed strate-a Web browser interface, operating system depend- gy can drive how and when youence is eliminated. This means the same service is modularize or repurpose contentaccessible from a PC, a Mac, or a PDA. • Discover how to design templates,Web 2.0 applications and other methods, to speed up In addition to trends, new technologies enable content development and deliveryWeb 2.0 applications. These technologies are used • Ensure that your reusable andand combined to create new services. modular e-Learning has impactRSS RSS turns Weblogs from a re-active technologyinto a pro-active technology. RSS is an automaticnotifier for Weblogs. It provides an end user with anotification that a new posting has been added to a Register Today!blog they are interested in. This turns blogs and news-groups from posting repositories into a form of inter- +1.707.566.8990active communication. www.eLearningGuild.comPodcasts Podcasts are a delivery mechanism to store audio/ Hosted by:video on a portable player. Organizations can produceand provide audio and video (infotainment) broad-casts that can be downloaded and played on theirportable player (“iPod”). TechnologyScripting Sponsor: The latest generation of scripting and programminglanguages such as AJAX, Perl, Python, and Java now
LEARNING SOLUTIONS | October 9, 2006 4 Management Strategieshas more built-in routines that allow computer-to-com- effective, accessible learning — not to show off that Web 2.0 focuses onputer communication. This speeds up development of you can use a new technology.more distributed applications that collect information services rather than Courses are the application service.or farm out computing to other servers. software. Unlike the An end user takes a course over the Web. The us-XML er does not need to download any software or learn types of technologies Although the common understanding of XML is any new application. Like all effective application serv- that were introducedquite different, XML is really infrastructure that allows ices, an effective course adheres to the principles andpre-programmed definitions to be passed between practices of good Web publishing. Pages should dis- in the 1990’s, applica-Web pages. This is probably the most over-marketed play quickly without the need of a plug-in, appropriate tion services don’tand misunderstood technology on the Web. It seems navigation should be used, and integration to otherlike any vendor that is having a problem providing an services (like an LMS) should be transparent. require the end useradvanced application will say they support this func- to load software onto E-Learning’s long tailtionality via XML. In reality, XML is to the Web what Roman charac- E-Learning’s long tail consists of all those industry their computer. Ser-ters are to writing English. The invention of Roman or company-specific classes that are appropriate for a vices reside on thecharacters provided an easy infrastructure to commu- relatively small audience. Rapid e-Learning is the train-nicate via writing. Roman characters alone do not pro- er’s solution for accessing long-tail users. Most train- Web. When the endvide communication. What you need on top of Roman ing needs fall in the long tail, while most off-the-shelf user wants to partici-characters is an agreement on language e.g. Spanish, courses are produced for the sizable (bell) market.French, English, or Italian. Likewise for XML, the ability pate or use a service, E-Learning mashupsto pass XML strings does not provide you with any they go to a Web site.services unless a specified data format has been E-Learning does mashups by taking multiple sour-agreed on. One of the most successful XML data for- ces to provide additional services for a learning expe-mats is Rosettastone, a data format used by manufac- rience. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that byturers. combining different online pages from different cours- A note to anyone purchasing a system where the es you can produce a mashup course. More likely,vendor touts XML: Ask the next question — what data you will only produce a ransom-note course.format are you using? If the vendor says they are Look at the broader goal of training: e-Learning hasusing their own data format you will know they used been providing mashups for years. We call it “blendedthe term XML to make a proprietary solution sound e-Learning.” A good trainer will look at the differentopen. The “X” in “XML” stands for “eXtensible.” This technologies and delivery systems available and mashmeans that one of the main features of the language up a solution that is effective for their learner base.is that it can be extended. But unless all parties using This may include text, pictures, multimedia, and quotesthe particular document understand the details of ven- from different authors, hands-on training, live presen-dor-provided extensions to the language, the commu- tations, and self-paced delivery.nication will fail. Harnessing end users (learners) to add value2.0 trends applied to e-Learning Forums, blogs, wikis, etc. can all be created to sur- Now that we know what the 2.0 trends and tech- round your course with an expanded set of learnernologies are, we need to understand how these resources. You need to be very careful to be sure thattrends and technologies are applied to e-Learning. you understand your learner’s culture. (Most mid-levelIt is important to remember that the end user is the and senior level employees are too busy to contributelearner; and that the supplier is the course creator, to blogs and Wikis.) You will never get these expand-trainer, or training organization. Companies that pro- ed resources off the ground if you don’t have a cul-vide LMSs, authoring tools, and simulation tools are ture that fosters and gives value to adding and joiningproviding the “enabling technologies” used by train- Wikis, blogs, and forums. Also, don’t make the mis-ers to provide 2.0 services to end users. LMSs, take of thinking that Wikis, blogs, and forums areauthoring tools, and simulation tools are to trainers e-Learning. They are resources. E-Learning needswhat a database is to Google: the behind-the-scenes structure and instructional design to be effectiveengine to provide their service. and provide return on investment. My mother would say that not all fashions are foreveryone. The same statement works when applied to Microcontent moves learners from trainingtechnology. Because a technology is in fashion does to learningnot mean it has to be deployed. The goal is to provide Required training will never go away. Microcontent
LEARNING SOLUTIONS | October 9, 2006 5 Management Strategiesis small training sessions that are taken as the need Case Study — Knowledge Pills It is important to re-arises. For instance when an employee needs to ac- Knowledge Pills Inc. is a Web 2.0 e-Learning com- member that the endcess a corporate service, she types the name of the pany. Knowledge Pills Inc. develops short, 15-minute-service into the corporate search engine. A link to the long, training courses for the consumer and corporate user is the learner; andservice, along with a short course on how to use the market place. In the corporate market place, Know- that the supplieer is theservice comes up at the top of the search. The em- ledge Pills’ goal is to provide companies with employ-ployee takes the short training, and then uses the ee-directed courses that can be taken just-in-time course creator, trainer,service correctly. throughout the business cycle. Daniel Purlich, CEO of or training organization.Services above the PC Knowledge Pills, sees his company as a knowledge provider. “Like most people who access an applica- Companies that provide When you create a course, you don’t know how alearner will be accessing it. Create your courses using tion service, visitors to our site, or clients that put our LMSs, authoring tools, products on their intranet, do not want their end userstechnologies (HTML, CSS) that are supported by all to feel like they are accessing technology,” states and simulation toolsof the devices including PCs of any configuration,PDA’s, and mobile phones. Avoid authoring tools that Purlich. are the “enabling tech- Employees should be able to search a string offorce you to choose the size of the output screen be- words in their corporate search engine and a Know- nologies” used by train-fore you produce your course, or that provide absol-utely positioned pages. To be effective you need to ledge Pill containing this information should come up. ers to provide 2.0 serv- Employees can take a course on whatever deviceuse the Web (and specifically a browser) the way it they use without restrictions, or needing additional ices to end users.is designed to be used. technology that will slow them down.“Intel Inside” One of the first courses Knowledge Pills built was In the case of a course, the content is the core “Doing Business in China.” There are 450-page booksvalue. If you establish a reputation for providing good and week-long seminars on doing business in China.content that is easily accessible, and that does not These are necessary for the manager who is movingrequire recurring delivery maintenance costs, you will to China to run an operation. The manager who is fly-improve your ability to brand yourself through your ing to China for a two-day business trip does notmaterial. With e-Learning your courses should be more have the desire or need for this level of breadth andthan a one-time event. Courses should be searchable depth of information. What they want is a fifteen-and accessible on the network. Employees should be minute course that highlights basic courtesies andable to type in key words and have access to course business etiquette. This type of quick-to-take coursepages that apply to what they are trying to do at that that is focused on long-tail subjects, and of interest tomoment. a small specific market, is what Knowledge Pills pro- vides. Knowledge Pills intends to provide short cours-New technologies es on hundreds of subjects that help workers stay in Just because it is new does not mean the old is tune and up to date with current issues, trends, andbad and the new is good. Your goal is to get the end technologies that affect them on a daily basis.user to learn. A new technology is only effective if it Knowledge Pills has also shaken up the traditionalprovides you with a better service. Podcasts are on sales model. Purlich has been on the receiving end ofeveryone’s lips right now. The benefit of Podcasts is course pitches for over 20 years. “I was always frus-the delivery mechanism and the popularity among the trated that the course was missing in the sales pitch,”consumer electronic market. It is much easier to put says Purlich. “Few purchasers of training courses everan audio on a Web site and let iPod users download take an entire course they purchase; many times theyit then it was to send people tapes and have them buy courses without ever seeing them. We embraceplay the tape in their car or Walkman. the modern concept that information should be acces- However, the new technologies have not added sible. With Knowledge Pills, all the training coursesany value to the content. A boring speaker will be just are on the Web site. You don’t need special pass-as boring on an iPod as they were on a Walkman. words to access the training and you can take anThey will be more boring through a recording than entire training course, not just a couple of pages thatwhen they gave the live presentation. show how pretty the training looks.” Purlich also be- To work well for organizations, Podcasts should be lieves in enlisting the end user to add value to theprofessionally produced by audio specialists, should training process. Wikis, newsgroups, student com-be narrated by professional actors/narrators, and ments, and rankings should be part of any trainingshould be entertaining. That’s why the most popular course.Podcasts are radio shows and music. Knowledge Pills are initially available in four lan-
LEARNING SOLUTIONS | October 9, 2006 6 Management Strategiesguages: English, French, Spanish, and German. realize that classroom training and traditional e-Learn- 2.0 courses shouldCourses will eventually be in many more languages. ing will not go away. Quick, cheap, rapid e-LearningTheir philosophy is that learners should be able to courses provide them with the necessary training infra- never be a hodge-take courses in the language they are most comfort- structure employees need to do their job now. These podge assembly of oldable learning in. Knowledge Pill plans to have distribu- courses are very popular with employees. They allowtion in North America and Europe. The general learner them to keep up with trends and their workload. methodologies deliv-can access the Knowledge Pill Web site for free. ered through new tech- Most companies want to control their employees’ E-Learning 2.0 courses: Conclusionlearning experience by having courses available So what does a 2.0 course look like? 2.0 courses nologies. They shouldthrough their intranet and by using their LMS. Know- should never be a hodge-podge assembly of old be a true “2.0 course,”ledge Pills has a program where companies can pur- methodologies delivered through new technologies.chase courses and receive additional services includ- They should be a true “2.0 course,” rather than a self- rather than a self-pro-ing customization of content, customization of the propelled PowerPoint presentation or CBT training pelled PowerPointcourse look and feel, and custom Knowledge Pills. presented on a PDA. 2.0 courses provide just-in-time Many of Knowledge Pills’ ideas about type, length, training. They are used as a resource — not a one-time presentation or CBTand accessibility of e-Learning come from founder event. A 2.0 course lasts 15 to 20 minutes, runs training presented onDaniel Purlich’s experience in the training market- smoothly on any configuration of device (high resolu-place. Purlich has a traditional training and e-Learning tion, portable) or PDA, and delivers smoothly on all a PDA. 2.0 coursesbackground. In the 1990’s Daniel was the general versions of Web browsers. Finally, 2.0 courses incor- provide just-in-timemanager of France Telecom’s training division where porate the best-of-breed techniques from Web designhe was initially responsible for identifying corporate and instructional design. training. They are usedtraining direction, and purchasing and developing Author Contact as a resource — not aCBT training and, eventually, e-Learning courses.More recently, Purlich was director of content devel- Anita Rosen is a trainer, speaker, one-time event.opment at Educaterra, the training arm of Telefonica, and author on topics includingthe second largest telecommunications company. In e-Learning and e-Business. She2004, Daniel’s organization at Educaterra provided has appeared as a guest speaker90,000 Telefonica employees with over a million on many business radio programshours of training a year. including regular appearances on Purlich worked closely with managers throughout Jim Blasingame, Small Business Advocate, the Jerrythe organization to understand their needs and re- Bower Show, America Radio’s It’s Your Money, thequirements. What quickly became apparent was that Edward Lowe Report, and International Business onthere was a fundamental change in training that man- KUCI; She has been an editor or contributor to theagers were requesting. Managers did not want to I.T.Times and The eLearning Guild. Anita has been atake their employees out of the workplace for training. speaker at a number of conferences hosted by organ-Changes in technology and business operations were izations including The eLearning Guild, the country ofhappening frequently. Managers needed to be assur- Singapore, French Telecom, and the American Man-ed that employees were up on these changes. They agement Association.could not afford to have employees out of the office Ms. Rosen has written three books: Effective ITfor days of time. What managers wanted were brief, Project Management, The E-Commerce Questionfifteen-minute training sessions that employees could and Answer Book, and Looking Into Intranets andtake anywhere, when the need arose, which provided the Internet, all published by AMAcom. Contact Anitathe employee with the nugget of information that was by email to firstname.lastname@example.org for them to perform their job or be able toparticipate effectively in a meeting or conference call. Discuss this article in the “Talk Back to the Purlich realized that for his organization to react to Authors” Forum of Community Connectionsthis change they needed to change the size and (http://www.elearningguild.com/ community_scope of course production. Courses needed to be connections/forum/categories. cfm?catid=17&reorganized and prioritized differently. Many cheap-to- entercat=y). You can address your commentsproduce, short training courses on subjects that were to the author(s) of each week’s article, or youpertinent today but may not be pertinent in the future can make a general comment to other readers.needed to be produced. These courses had to workon monitors of any resolution, including PDA’s and Additional information on the topics covered incell phones. Managers throughout the organization this article is also listed in the Guild Resourceare happy with the direction training is heading. They Directory.
LEARNING SOLUTIONS | October 9, 2006 8 About the Guild A Worldwide Community of Practice for e-Learning ProfessionalsThe eLearning Guild is a Community of Practice for e-Learning with your investment. In the table you will find a comprehen-design, development, and management professionals. Through sive summary of benefits offered for each membership level.this member driven community we provide high-quality learning To learn more about Group Membership and pricing, go toopportunities, networking services, resources, and publications. www.eLearningGuild.com.Members represent a diverse groupof managers, directors, and execu- Guild Benefits Associate Member Member+ Premium tives focused on training and learningservices, as well as e-Learning eLearning Insiderinstructional designers, content devel- Annual Salary Survey opers, Web developers, project man- Past Conference Handouts agers, contractors, and consultants. Resource Directory — Access Post Guild members work in a variety of Info Exchange — Access Post settings including corporate, govern- Job Board — Access Jobs Resumes ment, and academic organizations. Job Board — Post Resumes Guild membership is an investment in Job Board — Post Jobs your professional development and in Guild Research — Online Briefings * your organization’s future successwith its e-Learning efforts. Your mem- Guild Research — Reportsbership provides you with learning Guild Research — Archives opportunities and resources so that Learning Solutions e-Magazine * you can increase your knowledge and Online Forums — Archive $ $ skills. That’s what the Guild is all Online Forums $ $ $ *about ... putting the resources and Face-to-Face Conferences $ $ $information you need at your finger-tips so you can produce more suc- Pre-Conference Workshops *cessful e-Learning. Event Fee Discounts 20% 20% 20%The eLearning Guild offers four levels Other Event Site License Discounts 20% 20%of membership. Each level provides *See www.eLearningGuild.com for detailsmembers with benefits commensurate = Included in Membership = Not available $ = Separate fee requiredThe eLearning Guild organizes a variety of important industry events... CHECK ONLINE October 10 - 13, 2006 October 10 - 13, 2006 for topics and dates! SAN FRANCISCO SAN FRANCISCO April 10 - 13, 2007 April 10 - 13, 2007 BOSTON BOSTON