Software as Service: What are the Four Pillars for Elearning?

As I get ready for the new year and a new job, I find myself with more time for deep thinking. I’ve stumbled on to a really interesting framework for thinking about enterprise elearning. Phil Wainewright of ZDnet wrote about a recent presentation by JP Rangaswami, CIO at top global investment bank Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein (DrKW). Rangaswami is recognized as a leader, early adopter and advance thinker in enterprise information technology. In his presentation, Rangswami calls out the four pillars of “enterprise 3.0”: This could be a very interesting framework for thinking about learning and training applications. Here are some of my comments interspersed with italicized quotes from Wainewrights original post on The four pillars of enterprise 3.0. Publishing- Any application that generates data will act as though it’s a content publisher… Hmm, this sounds a lot like authoring tools and LCMS/LMS products. The significance of this is that it reduces all of these applications to the level of raw feed generators: “You can’t differentiate, it’s just content.” OK, here is where I see elearning being different; the interaction, the instructional design and the context seem more crucial than for your average IT application. Then again, maybe elearning is more like Conversation (see below). Discovery- This is the application that gives everyone a “Google experience” — a single, homogenous database where everything is stored and where everything is discoverable. Though the LMS was intended to be this, it clearly isn’t. There is too much critical learning/knowledge tucked away in help systems, informal learning, etc.To me, Rangaswami’s observation on security applies to the LMS in general because it isn’t a “daily portal” for most people and isn’t always on and easy to access; it has become a walled garden. Fulfilment- This is the application that makes things happen, most notably for customers. The training professional’s customer is a learner. Here, as in other businesses, the capability to provide identity management, roles, personalization, and contextual choices is critical. Conversation- All the channels of collaboration between people, either inside the organization or beyond its walls. This is really interesting. It hits on collaborative learning and reaching the extended organization (channel partners, suppliers, distributors, and customers). Very interesting to think about how web conferencing and VoIP will emerge in the learning & training “Conversation”. Right now, I’m not sure how authoring tools and LMS offering will handle these sorts of conversations. Historically they have been broadcast, not dialog. Though some may say threaded discussions and virtual classrooms are dialog, I see them as heavily moderated dialogs at best. All-in-all, this an interesting framework for analyzing and architecting elearning solutions, that I will make use of regardless of the technical uses of SOA and web services for elearning.

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