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

27 June 2011

Quick mobile thoughts

Clark @ 5:45 AM

SIM card vending machine

It’s obvious that mobile is booming, as you can tell from this shot taken as I deplaned at Heathrow Airport on my way from mLearnCon conference to an engagement.  It made me reflect on an interesting tension that emerged at the conference.  The resolution will happen, so it’s a question of when, not if, but it’s still a pain.

I was honored to be part of a closing panel with some very clever folks (Bill Rankin, David Metcalf, Carmen Taran, Jim Box, and Richard Culatta, to be specific) responding to crowd-sourced questions.  Paul Clothier served as ringmaster, and the highest rated questions were lobbed at us.

One of the emergent themes was considering what would be really innovative mobile learning applications.  We imagined things from individual coaches to universal teachers.  All this requiring, of course, a pretty robust infrastructure.

And of course, as I sit in an airport (awaiting the 3rd and final leg of which Heathrow was the first), and recognizing that I can’t use the data plan on my phone for fear of penury, I’m still quite frustrated with the situation.  However, there is hope.

advert for a ubiquitous data package

On the wall right next to the vending machine, which I also captured, is one solution.  Here, Vodafone is offering Brits mobile internet when they travel, at a very favorable rate. This is better than the solution I thought was possible: having a service at an airport where you hire a personal wifi device for some reasonable rate of $10 a day or something that you return when you finish your trip.

My traveling companion on the post-US legs (and Internet Time Alliance colleague), Charles Jennings, resides in the UK and said that the competition between providers supports this sort of offer.  £2 is far better than the rate I was hoping for, and way better than a $1 – $20 per MB that is my current option.

Unlike some who worry that we might lose thinking skills, I’m quite happy to devolve certain tasks to my external brain, and only retain the ones I wish to keep for myself.  And once I’ve become so enabled, it’s painful to do without.  I’m glad to see some are getting viable solutions, and hoping I’ll have one soon too.  So we can come up with even more fabulous ways to accessorize our brains. Which is what we want to do!


22 June 2011

Amber MacArthur #mLearnCon Keynote Mindmap

Clark @ 9:48 AM

This morning’s mLearnCon keynote was by journalist Amber MacArthur. She talked about the intersection of mobile and social, though mostly talking the social side. Definitely a fun presentation with lots of humorous examples.


21 June 2011

Jeremiah Owyang mLearnCon keynote mindmap

Clark @ 10:45 AM

Jeremiah Owyang, analyst at Altimeter, keynoted the opening day of the eLearning Guild’s mLearnCon conference.  He talked about the intersection of mobile and social, talking mobile definitions, organizational structures, and core transitions, using a metaphor of bees.

14 June 2011

Integration (or not)

Clark @ 6:14 AM

I’ve recently been asked about what industries are leading in the use of (choose one: mobile, games, social).  And, in my experience, while there are some industries (medicine in mobile, for example), it’s more about who’s enlightened enough yet.  Which made me think a little deeper about what I do, and don’t see.

What I do see are pockets of innovation. This company, or this manager, or this individual, will innovate in a particular area.  Chris Hoyt has innovated in social learning for recruitment for PepsiCo, and is now branching out into mobile.  One company will do games, another mobile, another social. And that’s ok as a starting point, but there’s more on the table.  You want to move from tactics to strategy.

Performance EcosystemI want to suggest it’s better if someone higher up sees that tying the elements together into a coherent system is the larger picture.  You don’t just want the individual tactics, but you want to see them as steps towards the larger picture.  At the end of  the day, you want your systems tied together in the back end, providing a unified environment for performance for the individual.  And that takes a view of where you’re going, and the appropriate investment and experimentation.

I recall (but not the link, mea culpa) a recent post or article talking about the lack of R&D investment in the learning space (let me add, the performance space overall).  That is, folks aren’t deliberately setting aside monies to fund some experimentation around learning.  Every learning unit should be spending 3-5% of the budget on R&D.  Is that happening?  If so, it’s not obvious, but I’m happy to be wrong.

I really struggle to find an organization that I think is getting on top of this in a systematic way: that has realized the vision, is aligning tactics to organizational outcomes, and is looking to integrate the technologies in the backend to capitalize on investment in content systems, social media systems, portal technologies, and learning management systems.  This can also be customer-facing as well, so that you’re either meeting customer learning needs around other products or services, or delivering learning experiences as a core business, but still doing so in a coherent, comprehensive, and coordinated approach.

I am working with some folks who are just starting out, but I think the necessity to link optimal execution with continual innovation is going to require much more thorough efforts than I’m yet seeing.  Am I missing someone?  While I love to hear about exemplary individual efforts, I’d really like to hear from those who are pulling it all together as well.

8 June 2011

Chris Dede Keynote Mindmap

Clark @ 6:58 AM

Chris Dede opened the Innovations in eLearning keynote with a speech that very much resonated with me and reflected things I’ve been blogging about here since Learnlets started, but has had the opportunity to build.  His closing comment is intriguing: “infrastructures shape civilization”.

He talked about teaching skills to deal with wicked problems and developing new literacies, using MultiUser Virtual Environments.

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