At the recent DevLearn conference, I was part of a Guild Master panel on emerging technologies. It featured notables such as Julie Dirksen, Mark Lassoff, Megan Torrence, Ron Price, Chad Udell, Karl Kapp, and Jane Bozarth, all hosted by Mark Britz. Not surprisingly, I guess, the topic went to the future of the LMS. In a session the next day, Dr. Jen Murphy of QIC talked insightfully (as she does) about the Metaverse, and compared it to Web 3.0. The conjunction of discussion prompted me to reflect on the intersection, considering Web 3.0 and whither the LMS.
To start, I’m not one proposing that the LMS should or will wither. I’ve suggested that courses make sense, particularly for novices. That said, they’re not full development plans. So it’s worth looking, and thinking, deeper. The conversation on the panel suggested the evolution of the LMS, and I think that’s an apt way to think about it.
What prompted this was Dr. Murphy’s comparison of Metaverse to Web 3.0. She argued that Web 3.0 was about user-control of content. That is, it’s about things like P2P, e.g. blockchain, NFT, etc. I’ve had a different view (now over a decade old, admittedly), that we’d moved from producer-generated content, through user-generated content, and the next would be system-generated content. AI can parse content (that people have painstakingly hand-crafted). Then systems can use models and rules to individualize the experience. That’s what web content is doing already.
So, have things changed? The recognition I see is that folks are concerned with identity and rights. Which I applaud, to be clear. The statement is that by having clear documentation, we can reward individual contributions instead of someone owning all the transactions. The latter of which would be part of a ‘system-generated’ web, for sure. Maybe my 3.0 is really 2.5? Or maybe theirs should be 4.0. Not sure I care…
What does matter is what that implies for courses. Obviously, if courses aren’t enough, we need a bigger picture. An associated question is who should own it? I see a development path as having many components. Even courses should be broken up for spacing, and have a follow-on for ongoing feedback whether digitally delivered and/or a coach. There was an LMS that actually allowed you to mix things into your paths: so you could interview someone, or read a book, or…other things besides courses. Made sense.
The other part aligns more closely with the user-controlled vision. I believe (and have stated, not that I can find it) that I think that ultimately, the community should own the path into membership. That is, just as we should determine the path into membership of L&D, a group in sales should determine what the necessary component skills are. They may need facilitation of this, but us ‘owning’ it isn’t right. We should merely be supporting the endeavor.
Again, it doesn’t really matter whether it’s labeled Web 3.0 or not, but I think that having a mechanism to track development, owned by the associated community (or communities) is useful. It’s not really a Learning Management System (you can’t really ‘manage’ learning), but it can include courses, and it is worthwhile. So those are my thoughts on Web 3.0 and whither the LMS, what’re yours?