my bonnie lies over the ocean – mixing metaphors part 2

8 03 2004

so at the end part 1, i was standing on the edge of a chasm. it’s enoromous! so huge that there is an incredible ocean of water in it! (note the subtle shift from one metaphor to another one.)

that ocean, for us, is the realm of elearning. and it’s a pretty vast one. to simplify, let just suppose that corporate elearning is only involved with three primary fields – education, business and technology. each are, in their own right, huge sets of knowledge, theories, practices, experiences and organizations. elearning is not only involved in these three areas, but we are pushing the far reaches of each of these disciplines. on the technology side, elearning professionals are trying and implementing mobile technologies, rss feeds, blogs and wikis and doing things to relational databases that are just unmentionable here! on the business side, we’re talking about metrics in ways we would have never dreamed possible, we’re participating in a real transformation of the hr function, and we’re getting so close to our internal business partners that at times you can’t tell us apart. finally, in education, we are focusing on the informal nature of the majority of human learning, we are looking at how to imbed learning opportunities into the day-to-day workflow, and we are teaching business executives to be educators.


(note: i’m not particularly thrilled with the above diagram of the concept i’m laying out here, if you have suggestions for a better way to represent this content, please email dave!)

keeping up with all of the innovations and ideas is quite the task. but the innovators and early adoptors of elearning have, frankly, revelled in the complexity. (see future post about the charts and diagrams we create!) but i’ve learned the hard way that the folks in the early majority and late majority don’t like the complexity and will disengage if their need for clarity and simplicity of message is not met. This is not a fault in them. it’s the way things work. the world of elearning, like the world in general, is not going to get easier. so it becomes important that the innovators and early adoptors figure out how joining in on our efforts can seem easier and approachable to those new to our field.

the first step is that we have to step up to the plate and look for areas that we may be creating complexity where it doesn’t need to exist. i’ve had to go back to a definition of communication i learned years ago, but obviously haven’t been practicing in my day to day efforts:

communication has occurred only when the message is understood by the receiver.

if the person i’m trying to communicate with doesn’t undersand my vocabulary or the concepts underlying my message, the person to blame for a communication break down is me.

so, now that we’ve looked at the wide, deep ocean of elearning, i’ll look at providing swimming lessons in part 3. please comment on these ideas by hitting the comments button below. does this make sense? am i just whacked? is there anybody out there? if you need to reach me directly email dave.



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