Monday, 31 March 2008

Learner Management System vs Google personalised learning environment poll result

Well, last weeks blog certainly got some interest going! The question was “Would learners learn more & interact more using everyday tools (eg. Google applications) or a proprietary LMS?"

Everyone who answered agreed!!

Though it is great to see that the web is more democratic than an election!

A number of people emailed me saying they thought the question was slightly one sided (……never!!!) and therefore didn’t answer. Well, I thought that was what politicians do all the time!!!! The actual answer is something like………….

“Too right individuals want to use Google tools (or similar tools) and not a proprietary LMS. But if you are a company or a training provider, you need to host the content somewhere and
you need to ensure that learners complete their course. So you need a LMS for the basics of content and tracking, but your LMS must allow the learner to use Google tools (or similar applications!)”

Best of both worlds! ……….Still this has major implications for LMS developers who for some reason continue to think that they want everything in their secret “walled garden”!!!

In actual fact, what the LMS developer is really saying is that it will take me 1 or 2 years to develop the application in my walled garden. Then the application won’t be as user friendly as a google application. Oh yes, plus we have just spent £'000s of our companies budget!!

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Please don’t tell me that I have to use your Learner Management System - I won’t!

Do I have to learn to use another Learner Management System (LMS) to gain access to my elearning courses?
If I do I will use it for the minimum. You won’t get me interacting.
Why do companies and learning providers waste money on elaborate
proprietary LMSs?
Why not use google applications or something similar? (like NetVibes)
I hear you say that you are a public body or a sensitive plc!

Hey, the district of Columbia are using google applications for all their staff. All their staff use google email, docs, communities and use it to learn. Even their police force is using google maps and iPhones to catch muggers and murderers!

OK! You need to store the content (elearning courses) somewhere and track progress. Plus, if you are a public funded learning organisation, you need to meet Government audit rules. But keep the LMS to the basics and use google for the rest!! It will save you time and money, and you will get better results!

It can be done. A Chief Technical Officer has confirmed it. But, hey you may not want to save millions and you many not want to help your learners learn even better than now?


Here is my "iGoogle". It is my homepage for work, for life and for learning. one page contains my email, calender, RSS feeds, blogs, You Tube fav’s, bookmarks, photo’s, news and much, much more. All my hobbies (running, Springsteen, Spurs etc) are all there.

It contains all my work stuff - all the info on the web I ever need for my job. I also belong to lots of education & learning technology groups & communities. Plus it has my word docs, presentations and automatically lists all the relevant UKs Conference or training events. I can share it all with work colleagues or friends. All through a single login.

It all takes 2 minutes to set up. My 85 year old granny (on the web for the first time) set it up in 90 seconds and loves it. She is still learning. It is her personal learning environment.

Friday, 14 March 2008

Internet TV and learning

Welcome to my first blog (!) about learning and technology. This one is focused on Internet TV and learning! Well this all started as I’m sick of paying Sky TV large monthly sums, particularly for Live Sports …….and wanted to see if there are cheaper (legal!) ways. It subsequently turned into some thinking about Internet TV and learning. Here are my thoughts ----be great to hear what you think!!

Everyone seems to confuse IPTV with Internet TV. In my humble opinion, IPTV doesn’t have huge potential with education and training providers like a College or learndirect at present. However IPTV (a complex & investment heavy walled garden mostly for existing broadcasters/premium content) is very different from Internet TV (via normal streams over the internet) - see for more details!

I do think that Internet TV has some real potential to help engage learners and help learners learn. New Companies (on low budgets producing original content plus user generated content) are growing up daily offering Internet TV.

For example, a company called Revision 3 has programmes with a bigger audience than BBC3 or BBC4 (c. 400,000) eg. Digg Nation ( The take-up is mostly for 15-24 year olds, though it is spreading (it is an excellent medium to deliver content to niche groups at very low cost compared to traditional programming). Internet TV also covers self generated content eg. You Tube (indeed many of these channels like are also on You Tube, Facebook, iTunes - ie. they go where the punters are!).

Channels like Digg Nation or Cookery fully integrate all the social networking tools (plus links to additional content or news articles about the main bits in the programme). It is these social networking tools that are at the heart of their success within Internet TV.

Internet TV hasn't come of age yet, but it shows signs that it might in 2 to 4 years (when I believe it will be much easier for the general population to stream internet direct to your TV. ALSO broadband speeds are predicted to increase so that picture quality & reliability is enhanced. AND the online population is growing rapidly and using the internet in deeper ways once the preserve of the geek or the teenager!).

I could see a niche Internet TV channel for a profession, a sector or for a hobby with significant learning content. I’m sure channels will develop (!?). Perhaps learning organisations will need to wait to piggy back on some of these new channels.

Love to hear your comments on the potential of Internet TV and learning, and on this blog itself!!! (click on the comments button below!)

See you.........

Darren (March 2008)