Jan 5, 2007

2007: the year of ...

Everyone is making lists these days, so I couldn't resist. This is the list of topics I would like the learning professionals and the learning industry take to heart in 2007:

1- Architecture

Architecture is not just about IT systems. It's a combination of people, processes and systems. I would like to see more focus on the design of the learning function.

Architecture comes to mind when you think of buildings. Buildings need architecture because they are complex systems with many components (foundations, walls, electricity, heating,...), because you want to be able to redo it later on, and because you want to be able to change it later on. Without a blueprint that would be close to impossible. We need more architecture in learning for the same reasons: it is complex, we want to be able to redo it and we want to be able to change/maintain it. So we need a blueprint of how the people, processes and systems in the learning function deliver their goals.

2- Reuse of content

It has been a promise of the learning industry for years: reuse of content. It is one of the main reasons that make organisations standardize on SCORM or AICC. It is one of the main reasons why we design our learning products as a combination of small 'reusable' learning objects.

But it doesn't happen. Why?

There are dozens of LMS vendors out there, but end of this quarter we will have one single dominant worldwide player for content: SkillSoft. (And a bunch of small, local players.) There is just no competitive and efficient market place for content. I would like so see more focus on sharing/selling content. What stops us from doing it?

3- Localisation

Another wet dream of the learning industry is to one day be able to assemble a course 'just in time', adapted to the unique needs, delivery capabilities and style of the learner. It will not happen in 2007, but we can already progress halfway between this dream and the one-size-fits-all approach we still take too often. We can start localising our learning products better. With localising I mean not just translating (which is important on its own), but also making the examples and exercises relevant to the learner, the learner's organisation and the learner's work context.
So what does it take to be better at localising content?

So that's my proposal for the learning agenda this year. I'm even too realistic in my dreams: I did not dare include measuring the impact of learning, but some day we need to get our act together on that one too. Hypes last for years, but when they are over you need to be able to prove your value. Maybe in 2008...

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