Apple TV

What Is eLearning Waiting For?

Apple has revolutionized consumer devices – not just through great hardware design but through forward thinking about the ways consumers find, select, purchase and use content with their devices. While Apple is dominant in music, web content and phones, so far, TV has resisted the Apple golden touch. Why?

Last week I read this great post on GigaOm focused on what Apple TV is waiting for. Every operating system or hardware needs a killer app – the use of the technology that makes it unique, indispensable or irresistible. For starters, they’re missing live content like news and sports games, a marketplace like the App Store and hardware that would differentiate Apple’s offering from all the rest.

Apple hasn’t quite hit a home run with TV, and elearning is no different. We’re still in the throes of defining elearning – experimentation, innovation and cobbling together systems for creating and sharing information based on a variety of tools. There’s better hardware available every day. So what “killer applications” are we waiting for to truly make elearning explode in growth?

  • A better learning management system. To make sense of ever-growing libraries of content, you need an architecture. Today’s LMS features a system of administrators and users – where the admins get to create content, organize it and decide who can use it. In a world where learners are self-driven and empowered, LMS will need to behave more like a combination of a social network and a wiki: Support user-generated content, sharing and iterative improvements on content and tools.
  • Content that inspires. While there are many excellent courses out there (particularly in our marketplace!), we need more content that hits the sweet spot somewhere between all-text and “bling”. More forms of content, more ways to use it and flexible ways to “rip, mix and burn” it will make it more useful to everyone.
  • An app store. Making content and tools easier to find, purchase and buy will reduce the cost of sale, improve speed of implementation and make sharing content faster.
  • Better use of devices. Apple and others are creating nifty toys that make creating content accessible to anyone – and make consuming content possible anytime, anywhere. eLearning has to take advantage of evolving devices and needs to respond quickly to new opportunities.

Of course, OpenSesame’s mission is to build that desperately needed app store because we believe professional learning opportunities are the foundation of productive workplaces, satisfied employees and successful businesses. Today we are the marketplace for off-the-shelf elearning courses. Tomorrow, our future is wide open. Perhaps the next step is to build a marketplace for mobile authoring tools or serious learning games or location-based augmented reality apps.

What do you think? What elearning innovations would change the way you and your colleagues learn on the job? 

Image credit: niallkennedy on Flickr