Clark Quinn's Learnings about Learning
(The Official Quinnovation blog)

17 April 2007

eLearning Tools?

Clark @ 3:34 PM

In my elearning strategy session at the elearning guild, I included the following graphic as a model to think about how tools can help populate a performance ecosystem (aka learnscape):


The point being that different tools fit different spaces in terms of who they serve in terms of experience, and whether they’re more individual or more group. The desktop/mobile may become less clear, but still makes sense for now.

I’ve seen folks trying to understand where blogs, wikis, etc fit into the space of learning tools (and realize that some of the tools have a broad reach and I’ve tried to place them in their center of impact; maybe I need some circles or auras or something indicating reach).

So, do you think I’ve got it right? And, do you think it’s useful?


  1. Hi Clark.
    I’m not sure I’d put blogs where you’ve got them. I’m finding blogs as more of a data capture/collaborative tool. Sure it’s a place where experts document their thoughts (data sharing), but feedback like this makes them collaborative, indices make them searchable for practitioners and novices. Granted, your novice may feel like s/he is immersed in a foreign language, but isn’t it that way with any type of learning?

    I wonder about your virtual worlds being at a mid point. Think about your serious gamers. They are indeed the experts immersed in their discoveries, but at the beginning stages your novices are in an exploratory mode as they begin to learn.

    I’m curious what you mean by “yellow pages” and SMS. (acronym blank out here)

    Perhaps there needs to be more of a circle with your people on the outside looking in, and different people build them and different people access things for different needs. A wiki, for example, is constructed by folks with knowledge, but may be resources for people anywhere on the continuum of learning. Maybe it’s a two layer thing: the builders and the accessers.

    Jean Marrapodi

    Comment by Jean Marrapodi — 18 April 2007 @ 7:16 AM

  2. Jean, thanks for the feedback. While people can comment on blogs, as you did, it’s not as easy to collaborate. I still think of them more as a personal reflection, and look to discussion lists for more open thought sharing. I’d have posted this to an elearning mailing list, if we had one! And I’m perfectly willing to be wrong.

    I hadn’t thought about the ‘searchable’ issue. Will have to ponder that. Certainly reading blogs could and should be part of a novice’s enculturation.

    I put virtual worlds in the middle because they span novices to experts. I don’t think it’s quite easy enough yet to collaboratively build in the worlds, but I need to talk to Tony O’Driscoll more about them. I’m more skeptical, he’s enthusiastic, so I want to understand his side better.

    And, sorry: SMS is text-messaging (Simple Messaging System). ‘Yellow Pages’ are knowledge management tools that help you find people in an organization that are experts on this and that. They can scan email and decide what you talk about, or you can self-register.

    Interesting idea re: builders and accessers. Again, something to ponder. Thanks for the great feedback!

    Comment by Clark — 18 April 2007 @ 9:03 AM

  3. An interesting model, Clark, but there are a few terms that I’m not familiar with in this context, e.g. representational tools / collaborative model building / ubiquitous games. Is there a paper to accompany it?

    Comment by Clive Shepherd — 21 April 2007 @ 9:16 AM

  4. Clive, no, there’s no paper yet; I suppose there may have to be one! As to your question on terms (and my apologies, it was something I whipped up to help me understand things, and I shared it in a raw state), representational tools are, to me, tools to build representations/understandings with. It can be graphic tools, or even the 3D model building you can do in 2nd Life. Which also may fall under collaborative model-building, but how about a tool like Stella, a system-modeling/simulation building tool but collaborative…wikis with graphics and dynamics, say. (I’m not claiming all these truly exist yet, I’m trying to lay out a conceptual space.)

    Ubiquitous games are things like I Love Bees, and The Beast, that were done to promote a computer game and a movie (Halo 2, AI) respectively, (think: the movie The Game), but could be done for learning. Jim Schuyler from Red7 has created an architecture that supports this and he’s done some things that have outlined the space without having addressed a complete instantiation (I’ve worked with him on a couple). It’s an issue of finding someone who really wants to put a stake in the ground.

    Comment by Clark — 22 April 2007 @ 3:28 PM

  5. Hi Clark,

    There is a new type of technology that is just emerging, I would call it “graphical Wikis”. Kerika is an example of a graphical Wiki: it lets you sketch out a project, process, strategy or idea on digital pages, add your content to these pages (files, documents, pictures), and then share them with other people. As your buddies make changes to these pages or to the content, the changes are automatically replicated to everyone else.

    Although Kerika was originally designed for commercial use by professional services firms (e.g. consultants), it is now finding its way into universities where students find it much easier and more useful than Blackboard, or similar portal-like systems, and instructors find it a new way to guide students when they assign them projects.

    You should take a look at http://www.kerika.com/kerika_for_school.html where you will find some screenshots and a 2-minute demo.


    Comment by Arun Kumar — 29 June 2007 @ 12:38 PM

  6. Arun, interesting software. It does let you create and share diagrams, but it’s not a wiki that anyone can access with just a browser, and of course there’s that ‘monthly fee’. Still, I like the initial concept of having graphic and annotation tools and your sharing, versioning, etc.

    Your business model is familiar: get them using it early, in school (ala windows and Macs), and hope they’ll demand it later. But I guess I’d like one that’s more: give them limited capability for free, and once they see the value they’ll pay a somewhat higher price for the premium edition. Of course, that may work better for pure web-plays than downloaded apps. Which is probably why I’m not running strategy for a software firm…;)

    I wouldn’t normally allow a business promotion, but a) since I asked, b) since it’s free for educational use, and c) I’m a sucker, I’ve approved your comment. Thanks for taking the time.

    Comment by Clark — 29 June 2007 @ 2:24 PM

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