Friday, January 2, 2009

Predictions for 2009

My predictions for 2009:

With the continued economic difficulties, e-learning will grow due to its cost efficiency, or at least its perceived cost efficiency. And because of its low environmental impact it will become very attractive to companies wishing to become "green."

Blogs and social media will grow as a knowledge management tool. It has already begun, but we will see it become more common place. And they will not only be used as learning tools internally, but also externally, reaching out and educating clients and customers.

Regard m-learning, Apple iPhone and Blackberry will finally adopt Flash Lite with many other phones following their lead. This will make Flash and Captivate the preferred development tools for m-learning.

Finally, after too many training departments are downsized, we will read Kirkpatrick's 4 Levels of Evaluation, again!


  1. "With the continued economic difficulties, e-learning will grow due to its cost efficiency, or at least its perceived cost efficiency"

    while i agree with you that it looks good on paper (OK, so I spec'd Adobe Connect to join two face-to-face "half" classes in two cities to make viable for both to run)...

    ... but a few "flies in the ointment" for making that blind Freddy statement a reality:

    - there's a limit to what subject matter can be delivered online. video tutorials, even live streaming video, it doesn't work for everyone. Great for IT or design, pretty limited for plumbing, nursing, childcare, or those with poor IT skills (like my wife - a primary school teacher)

    - even with IM, video conferencing, Twitter, et al, people still prefer to be in a classroom with an instructor. And lets face it, well delivered and interesting face-to-face teaching to a group of engaged students is a pretty good system.

    - people are starting to react to and reject the rubbish fobbed off as eLearning because of the poor quality and uninspiring nature of what's been served up. Online quizes and downloadable PDF's do not make for good eLearning.

    I actually see a trend where, because of tightening economics, potential students (lets call them "customers", eh?) become more critical and more careful how and where they invest their time and money when it comes to education and training. From a "consumer" POV, why should education be any different?

    I agree with you regarding blogs and social media. Our organisation is starting to use Yammer (paid Twitter-like) to get some dialog happening within the teaching and support staff. It's early days but the only way is up.

    I disagree with your M-learning prediction, basically because of the slow takeup of devices and small number out there. iPhones and Blackberry's are no where near as ubiquitous as they need to be to make M-leaning worthwhile yet. Wait until there's good penetration of affordable devices provided by Nokia, Ericsson and others... unless you want to provide such devices as part of the enrolment (don't laugh, there's a couple of business models where this is worthwhile).

    one thing is for sure, the interest in education will pick up. When unemployment starts rising, people start taking their own PD and skills more seriously.

    meh, my 2c. YMMV.

  2. Thanks for the comments. I absolutely agree that not all training is effective online. In fact, I very often reject requests for online training when it can only be effectively delivered in the classroom. FYI: I also design and facilitate classroom training. And luckily we have the facilities and trainers to do so at my company. I cannot say that I would be happy if some companies replace F2F training with online training, but it may be the reality in a very poor economy.

    I also agree that there is a lot of "rubbish" out there people are calling e-learning and it is making it difficult for everyone, learner and designer. And it is really sad when that is all people get the opportunity to experience and write off e-learning before they experience well designed, interactive, effective courses.

    One last thing. iPhones and Blackberry's are not "as ubiquitous as they need to be..." but Flash Lite is on Nokias, Sony Ericksons, Motorollas, to name a few. Flash Lite enabled phones crossed the half billion mark almost a year ago and a billion forecasted in 2009. In addition, 62% of m-learning target iPhone and Blackberry (76% in the USA). More on the use of iPhone and Blackberry in m-learning -


  3. what we (by all rights, lets wait and see if it eventuates) is more blended learning. Essentially face2face training augmented with online:

    - to give options (missed the lecture/class, caught the vodcast) or reviewing the recording as an alternative to deciphering scribbled notes (but then again, I'd argue that the old "chalk'n'talk" has passed it's use-by date because of the lack of engagement)
    - to become more efficent in having automated processes for lessons and activities that *can* be automated.
    - to have additional tools to extend what can be delivered face2face (eg: COPS: collaborative online problem solving)

    you and I know this, but the sticking points are
    - educators having necessary equipment at their disposal and the training to use it
    - students seeing the value of instruction being delivered in this way. As I said before, "customers" see a percieved value in having to make an effort to attend classes, especially when classes are worth going to.

    it's quite telling that, at the last University I was working at, lecturers stedfastly refused to record their lectures and release them as recordings, for fear of being replaced by them. Luddites!


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