Friday, July 27, 2007

July's Big Question

I'm blogging this from the Cedar Rapids Airport where there is free wifi. I'm finally taking the time to respond to The Learning Circuit Blog'sBig Question for July: Choosing Tools. I arrived here after seeing an email from a coworker that noted that Karl Kapp mentioned me in his blog (picture me blushing) in his response to the question. There is not much that I can add to what he said, but here's my brief take before boarding my flight home.

How does the eLearning design process need to change to accommodate such a wide variety of tools?

The eLearning design process does need to change at least for those of us who are independent contractors. We need to be aware not only of the variables that are available, but their pluses and limitations, then we need to be able to clearly communicate these variables to our customers. In addition. I would add that the tools we are discussing (wikis, blogs, virtual worlds, etc.) can be used in the classroom as well as in the elearning venue, and we need to make our customers aware of these opportunities.

How does the tool selection process need to change?

We need to be collaborating with our customers on implementing these additional tools. For instance, in an instructor-led class, video could be used in role-playing to create more realistic feedback to classroom activities.

What should learning professionals do to stay up-to-speed? Do they need to learn new tools constantly? Can they stick with a few tools?

This one is a no-brainer. We are learning professionals we should be keeping up to date with the latest tools, just as any other professional. You don't see many carpenters using an old-fashioned hammer for jobs that require hammering a massive number of nails, they have quickly adapted to using automatic hammers. In some instances where commercial vendors are attempting to sell their products they offer free webinars and 30-day downloads that we can play with. For other web 2.0 tools such as wikis, blogs, 2nd Life, etc., we need to be willing to roll up our sleeves and try out these applications.

Will this trend continue? If so, then what does that imply for us?
Of course this trend will continue; technology development will continue apace and we need to keep our eyes peeled for new trends. Fortunately, we have social networks that can get the word out about new tools and applications. We just need to keep our eyes open to these new tools and not be afraid to try them out.

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