Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Wednesday, August 6, 2003

Good George

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Kudos also to George Siemens, of whom I much respect the detached, independent and thoughtful attitude he preserves throughout his posts. Nonetheless the beauty of what he finds he can keep a distinctive noble and surgical approach to describing the items that have gotten the most of his interest.

I gather he must be British. ;-)

Inhis essay entitled "If I Wanted to Make Money in Elearning...
Here's what I'd Do"
George does indeed a damn great good job of finally aggregating a good number of ideas and examples that can give good heart to those of you who see publishing and working online hardly as a sustainable business.

I believe as George that the time has come for you to see that this is not so. While I am not heralding in any way the Internet as an easy way to get rich quick, I would certainly tout the Internet as a unique opportunity to build a serious alternative to your alienating daytime job, and a real concrete venue to survive and be profitable while doing the two greatest things a man can desire:

a) Do what he likes to do best.

b) Help other people while doing it.

George Siemens recommends 18 possible different and alternative roads to consider when trying to create sustainability if not profit altogether in the eLearning arena. Here I have picked my favourite four out of George weakest ones so that I could make a Good contribution to his really excellent work:

21. Instructional Designer. Several years ago, this was described as the most in-demand skill in elearning. I'm not sure what the market looks like today, but career-sections of newspapers and bulletin boards indicate high demand.
Keys to success: Education. Experience. Diverse skill sets. Ability to translate technical terms into language instructors can understand.

*** This is really an empty spot with a huge amount of opportunities. Problem is to educate people about the critical importance of instructional design science. The fact that most e-learning is designed with the words "rich media" in mind shows how a complete lack for understanding what learning is about reigns supreme. It is like having a professor say: "Well for this course I will have an illustrated book." Fine. But how are you going to make the tsudents learn? remains the critical unanswered question.

20. Facilitator/Instructor. Obvious career. As elearning grows...the need instructors will obviously grow as well. Some instructors will transition from traditional trainer/instructor roles, others will enter the field specifically to teach online. Facilitators are also needed in organizations or corporations that provide communities for customers and staff.
Keys to success: Experience. Education. Ability to communicate digitally. Clear writing skills.

**** Yes, these are in great need to. What is again missing is any clear guideline on what makes one and where to get the right instruction and knowledge to become one. In my view this has got to be one of the most challenging jobs that one can choose to achieve. The skills and know-how involved are multiple and highly advanced. Knowledge of many communication skills, tools, and methods is a critical requirement. Overall I only see "online teachers" touting their obsolete top-down approach in the virtual classrooms. This is indeed the worst that can be done and the farthest away from where we should head.

16. Conferences. Pretty simple - set up a conference on elearning and technology.
Keys to success: Bundling the conference with existing publications/organizations. Reputation. Awareness - ability to get the target audience know you exist.
Examples: VNU, TechLearn

**** I see here great opportunities for online conferences and fairs. I also see great opportunities for conferences that extend online and VNU is a good early example of this. As most of the options listed by George Siemens in his great list, this is a very difficult one and requires a lot of skills and organizational talent. The positive point is that these can now be pulled off by capable individuals networking with like-minded experts and technical support staff. Also of great importance is the advent of breakthrough live conferencing tools that do not require anymore the supporting infrastructure and budget that the various WebEx, Placeware and Centra normally command. Web conferencing is now in the reach of anyone.

15. Create a portal. Sell advertising - the tried (but not always true) model.
Keys to success: Awareness - site traffic is critical to drawing advertisers.
Example: e-Learning Centre

**** Portals have evolved into knowledge hubs that aggregate and provide access to great amounts of valuable information and resources. These must smartly leverage the aggregation and syndication of uniquely selected RSS feeds covering the areas of interest as well as search and access tools to more easily find and identify appropriate and qualified learning resources. RSS, collaborative filtering, visual search and information mapping maybe the most critical ingredients to achieve this higher level of effectiveness.

Let me also add a couple new ones I have felt the need for several times:

Learning Template Designer
The learning template designer is an instructional designer with highly developed technical and information visualization skills who systematically develops templates for different types of learning scenarios. We need no more to reinvent the wheel every time we design or implement a new distant training course. We should capitalize on the great learning design ideas and build visual, conceptual and interaction design templates for educational lego-building.

Larning Game designer
Dear game developer your time has come also in education. Though you may not command the same spectacular budgets of some popular games you have a much less competitive market with a gazillion opportunities for building reusable, customizable and re-adaptable games for online learners. The list runs of game directions runs pretty long: quizzing, discovering, assembling, aggregating, finding, testing, role-playing, building demos, identifying, match-making, and much more. People want to learn while having fun. I can assure you of this. Why we have such little percentage of interactive learning games is a sign that people have not realized yet the opportunities this field offers to them.

Thanks Good George for this great inspiration.
This is an area to be further developed.

May your great list bring true awakening and enhanced vision to the many young minds searching for where to place their best enrgies in the near future. We need them here.

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posted by Robin Good on Wednesday, August 6 2003, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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