Moving from Traditional Training to Virtual Classrooms, Part 1

Meeting Future eLearning Devices at CES

The annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is right up there with ComicCon and Steve Jobs’ annual “And one more thing” for exciting geek news. The 2011 CES is no disappointment – tech companies large and small are unleashing innovative devices with great learning applications.

Goggles for More than Snowboarding 

Recon Instruments is showcasing LCD goggles with an Android operating system – enabling developers to create nimble augmented reality apps. The goggles will display Android apps and use BlueTooth capacity to sync communications with mobile devices. While awesome for providing GPS data to backcountry snowboarders, these goggles could also provide needed information to learners in the context in which they are applying the information.

Imagine, for example, that you are an electrician. Electrical manufacturers could use the Android app platform to quickly develop an app that coaches electricians through using the newest equipment. The Android platform will enable developers to create nimble responses to changing learning needs while the LCD display will enable learners to understand and apply new information in an immediate context on the job.

These kinds of augmented reality learning experiences build on the advantages of other elearning: They are self-paced, learner-directed and accessible to learners at any time.

Take SecondLife to the Next Level

The new Kinect avatar technology makes virtual environments more realistic, useful and fun. The lifelike avatar has applications for connecting with friends and family to socialize or to play games with a (very) personalized avatar.

But beyond a very thrilling future for Angry Birds, I’m excited about the applications for collaboration. Companies can use this technology to create inexpensive learning and practice scenarios for collaborative practice, experimentation and learning. Make a new kind of team-building activity: one where learners all over the world collaborate to solve complex virtual scenarios, using their lifelike avatars to build connections between team members. Creative, collaborative and different.

Teaching Learners to Fish

Combining successful approaches to elearning with creative use of new technology will make take corporate training from “showing the learner how to do it” to supporting them while they do it themselves. Every new tool makes elearning more powerful, but it’s up to us to dream up the creative applications.

Thank you to Lisa Goldstein for sharing the Kinect video during #lrnchat.