Its been a while….
A long long while….
But during that time I’ve seen some amazing things and have had the pleasure of turning a concept into reality and then letting that reality steep in…wait for it…reality. Thats right, my reality has been steeping in other people’s reality and this my friends is helping us at edCetra Training get ‘real’.
Lets talk about some of the amazing things I’ve seen. A couple of weeks ago, I was introduced to a company called Mark Logic at their annual Mark Logic User Conference. I thought I was going to check out some new fancy content management system that played nice with XML, and instead saw a revolution in database technology. Mark Logic is a non-relational database built for dealing with today’s unstructured Big Data problem. In brief, all the stuff thats out there in social networks, blogs, data capture in analytics tools, intelligence data doesn’t necessarily fit all that well in a relational database since the data is all structured differently and has no inherent relationship. Using Mark Logic technology, there is now a way of curating all of this stuff and keying in relationships and normalizing ‘stuff’ so that there is a fuzzy network of relationships between everything. I’m probably explaining this like an instructional designer having gone to a programming conference….but hey….you get what you pay for. I also saw neat little tools at the User Conference like a tool that can scan web pages and somehow find names, places, etc and begin to catalog and index where the content appears and then allowing it to be discoverable in bite size chunks. Combine that with Mark Logic database and now you have an engine that can scan, curate and store information with very little human intervention. Kevin Kelly once said that the real impediment to the semantic web was someone needs to go through the web page by page and catalog all the information within it, so that we can build a taxonomy that fits everything….not so Mr. Kelly. I’ve seen the future and it looks promising.
Now, onto concept to reality steeped in reality so that we can get real. Its never made sense to me, that training and development people haven’t tuned into technologies that leverage existing content within organizations and exposing it using XML so that the transformation from legacy content to new wonderful eLearning/mLearning content is an XSLT away. The one thing that the Mark Logic conference taught me was that my intuition about where companies are investing their big dollars is indeed in leveraging existing content and that the underlying technology to that is XML. Tie that into what simple observation shows us, which is Google is a far better learning tool than any of the eLearning systems we use today, and a far better paradigm for organizational learning emerges. This new paradigm is one in which courses are assembled at run time, within context of the user who is publishing the content, at the users request and specific for the device on which it is published. It starts of course, with a simple search.
I am a learner. I am at point A and I need to get to point B. I look it up. I see that there are some videos, images, flash assets, user generated content and some text on getting to point B. I am on my mobile so I choose first some text, and then a quick video and hit a button to publish this content to my phone. It happens right there and then. I feel confident I can get to point B, but I review the user generated content by having that published to my phone. I learn a great tip and remind myself that when I get back to the office I should create a job aid with the user generated content I just read. I get back to the office having completed my task. I go back to the system, do the same search, find my user generated content and say publish to PDF. It does it, right there and then. I decide this is really valuable for my team, so I tweet what I’ve just created. Now others can download the PDF I created right there and then. This is fantastic!
This people is real! It can be done. I’d love to see this bake in reality longer and make it really real. What a trip!