Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Vision 2014 – An Interview with Greg Gardner

Our sixth interview in the series is with an another eLearning industry expert, Greg Gardner. Below is an excerpt of the interview:

What are some of the key eLearning trends you are looking forward to in 2014?

I see mLearning really taking off to support more “Just in Time” and Performance Support based training.

What are some of the changes you would like to see in eLearning industry?

With the release of Experience API (xAPI) last April and vendors for tools and LRS finally buying into it, the ability for more Performance Support or Just in Time training really has traction. Unfortunately, most tool vendors have simply “TinCan-ified”

the basic SCORM calls. Right now, in order to accomplish what you really want to track with xAPI, you need to write your own JavaScript. I want to see quicker updates from tool vendors to minimize this.

Can you share more thoughts about any one of the key eLearning trends you have mentioned about previously?

m-Learning’s greatest asset really is its ability to get the information people need at the point in time they need it. Call it “pull” or “I want to know” learning. Having said that, there are certainly other methods for delivery using mobile devices. The “Just in Time’ concept philosophy is really built around

studies that show the small periods of time that people are engaged with their mobile device at a time. There certainly are multiple periods of time that people are using mobile devices; it’s just that those time periods are very short. On the other hand, when a person uses a mobile device for a long period of time in one “viewing”, it is generally when “playing a game” of some sort. Game based, scenario learning should start to be more relevant in the online learning space.

The game-based solution is one spectrum of where mLearning is going. Another is actually re-emphasizing some older technologies that fit very well into mobile delivery, namely podcasting and SMS messaging. These two items have their place in the spectrum of learning and should be utilized as appropriate to deliver a “full” blended solution for clients.

Social elearning has been talked couple of years now. How important is the social element going to be for eLearning in 2014?

It depends on the goal of the learning and the culture of the company implementing the learning. The more informal the learning, higher the chances of succeeding with social media for learning. Informal training is trending more, so this could mean greater integration this coming year.

BYOD –Do you see this culture catching up in 2014?

It’s a great savings for the company, so absolutely. People don’t want to carry multiple devices. I am so tired of carrying my personal device as well as my company issued device – especially since that one doesn’t do anything for me except get my company e-mail. There are certainly issues regarding security. Those can be overcome with current tools and business processes.

What are some challenges that you foresee the eLearning industry facing in 2014?

The preponderance of “lowest –cost” solutions to e-Learning needs means that quality instruction is taking a back seat. More and more clients are looking for Level 1 page turners so they can “buy more” and increase the library of

their offerings. e-Learning should not be measured by the quantity of titles in a library, but the quality of the titles and their ability to “change” behaviours or improve a process. Another great challenge is the understanding that m-Learning is not simply e-Learning delivered on a mobile device. There are many differences on how content should be created so that the learning content is appropriate for a mobile device.

Do you think mobile learning will take a leap to lead the learning industry?

It has to. Look at how people are getting their information today. Less and less time is spent in front of the desktop device and more is spent using some type of mobile device. Also, the trend is for more “Just in Time” knowledge transfer activities rather than multiple hour online courses. Let’s face it; people use their mobile devices as “all knowing machines”. In other words, I need to get some information right now and use the mobile device to get it for them.

Talking about the technologies, will eLearning embrace the cloud technology in the coming times?

Yes. In fact, you can see many vendors using the cloud to not only to distribute their tools as “Software as a Service”, but also

as a repository for the learning objects their tools are creating. These objects can then be embedded into content created by other tools or as stand-alone learning interactions.

About Greg Gardner
Greg Gardner is Founder - g2Learn. He leads the Online Learning Technical Team in the Center for Advanced Learning and Simulation group. His responsibilities include for evangelizing new technologies in the online learning spaces of e-Learning, mobile learning and most recently social learning, developing efficiencies within courseware development and integrating courseware with various Learning Management Systems. He has created e-Learning for Compaq, Microsoft and numerous state and federal government agencies. Mr. Gardner has developed e-Learning content using Lectora, Articulate Storyline and Studio, Adobe Presenter, Captivate, SmartBuilder, and Rapid Intake's Unison. His team is leading development efforts in mobile learning for many clients. He has presented at many conferences nationally.

More interviews will follow soon. Stay tuned to our future blogs to hear from the leaders themselves!