Stephen's Web

By Stephen Downes
June 7, 2002

Evolving Business Models in eLearning Summary of a larger (and expensive) report (in annoying PDF format) that asks the question, "Which technology will be the next 'killer app' for eLearning?" The answer, in a nutshell: none (though the report predicts the advent of learning object exchanges and hosted services (which is a pretty easy prediction when you think about it)). Good analysis of the demand drivers for continual development in e-learning, especially in certificate-driven and regulation-driven environments. But the report should be more forward looking. I expect significant changes in the field over the next couple of years, including the end of the LCMS as the dominant paradigm.

While I am writing about this item, let me observe that the security features in this PDF disable the 'copy' function (meaning I had to type out the quote above by hand). Now, what purpose is served by that? If I wanted to copy the document, I could screen-capture it and then run it through optical character recognition (OCR). Or I could just retype it. All that is accomplished is to make it needlessly difficult to quote. This is silly and futile and moving in completely the wrong direction.

Oh, and I'm not going to buy the report either. Tom Barron can take his PDF security features and... well, you know. By Tom Barron, SRI, March, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Teacher Education Guidelines: Using Open and Distance Learning Longish manual in PDF format released by UNESCO to assist in the training of distance instructors working in developing nations. The manual is intended for senior and middle-management education officers in education ministries and teacher training institutions. Based on a number of case studies from around the world in 2001, the study cites solid evidence that distance learning is a cost effective and successful approach to teacher training. The manual then provides a good basic guide to implementing distance ed teacher programs. By Hilary Perraton, Charlotte Creed and Bernadette Robinson, UNESCO, June 3, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

E-learning Evolves to ASP Model Yesterday I spent the morning at a Macromedia seminar providing technical details on its new MX suite. The value of the seminar was in seeing the code used to deploy and use web services within a Flash environment. All this makes the current item, trolled yesterday by elearningpost, particularly relevant. Seeing the simplicity of the Flash system (oh, you'll still need a designer and a coder, though) suggests to me that more and more e-learning will be deployed through web services. According to the author of this article, "generic training" will be the mainstay of web services (I guess he hasn't heard of learning objects). Yes, true, but learning objects are evolving in a slightly different direction. I'm sure this is temporary. By Paul Rubens, ASP News, May 31, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2002 Stephen Downes