Over the waters at Auricle, Derek again provocatively asks who will drive the next wave of learning technology trends:

In my recent Auricle article A filling station model of e-learning? I suggested that integrated mobile multimedia players and communication devices could be the ‘googly’ which catches advocates of centralized e-learning solutions unawares. So are the major proprietary interests responding to this? Apparently not. But …

At least one vendor has now pitched in to this space. If you really can’t bear to be away from your Blackboard calendar, announcements, and course content, and you’ve got a mainstream PDA, then ArcStream Solutions’ BlackboardToGo apparently wants to be your ‘filling station’.

He is asking to compare these solutions, which are not cheap, to the raging excitement over “podcasting” a technology meme barely 8 weeks old, but spreading like wildfire. I have no grand insight, but my gut says that things like IM, weblogs, podcasting have a gravitational tug at people because they are simpler technologies that provide that something personally important.

For the most part, IMUO (In My Uninformed Opinion) the big monolithical enterprise solutions for elearning serve mostly to reinforce the learning via lecture paradigm (“record your lectures to stream via the internet!”) that leave the new generation…. well yawning in ennui.

After all these years of “course management systems” (and is learning really about “managing courses”?), they still are completely structured wrong in that the main organizational scheme for them is the course (which is ephemeral) rather than the learner (who hopefully will stick around). When the course expires or is archived or deleted after the semester, there goes all the student’s work. During the brief existence of the “course” all of their work is filed away in different iron shoeboxes labeled “Chemistry” “Composition”, “Sociology” with no affordance to connect between the boxes, no integration across disciplines, no record saved of achievement and progress. The semester ends, grades transmitted to the registrar, and flusssssshhhhhhhh goes all the work that took place.

Why is this so? Ahhh, it was an easier way to program the systems back in the mid 1990s. Time for a change.

But the best thing about Derek’s article is grabbing a good new term to kick around:

Finally, what’s a googly? Nothing to do with Google I’m afraid; I just borrowed a cricket term. The BBC’s Sports Academy defines it thus:

“A googly, or a “wrong’un”, is a delivery which looks like a normal leg spinner but actually turns towards the batsmen, like an off break, rather than away from the bat.”

Or, to put it another way … sometimes unexpected things happen that changes everything:)

Thus, not having ever known it, I am a major fan of “googlies”.

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Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. Yes, so true. I guess the vendors are so stuck in their own world. Do the guys building these products even observe the behavior pattern of their own kids?

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