Moving at the Speed of Creativity by Wesley Fryer

The landscape of commercial eLearning curriculum options

An amazing array of eLearning curriculum options continues to proliferate on the web, and I would like to get my head around both the choices and the way those choices are differentiated from each other.

I would love to see a screencast or podcast presentation where a knowledgeable, third-party source (not someone directly affiliated with any of these companies) gives a comparative breakdown of how available commercial K-12 curriculum options stack up against each other. I was never a fan of the Jostens Lab / CCC style ILS (integrated learning systems) offerings popular especially in the mid-1990s, but I am a big advocate of blended learning and I think folks at all different educational levels need to embrace both web-based and face to face options for accessing content and interacting with it as well as each other for learning.

Some of the available options I know a little about include NovaNET, PLATO Learning, CompassLearning, and AEC’s Advanced Learning System. There are lots more, but I am less interested in getting a comprehensive list as I am in understanding who the main commercial players in the market are now and how they compare.

Does anyone know of an available screencast, online video or podcast that addresses these instructional desires?

I’m wondering if for K-12 Online 2007, we shouldn’t try this “reverse presentation” idea: Rather than asking presenters what they want to present on, maybe we should ask conference participants what THEY/YOU/I want to learn and then share that list with potential presenters? I’ve never heard of something like that happening at a conference before, and it might be an innovative approach to address different learning needs. Paul Clark from the University of Nebraska-Omaha talked to me a couple of weeks ago about doing a “title analysis” of presentations at different major edtech conferences, like NECC, FETC, and TCEA over the past 5 years. Certain terms and ideas definitely move into and out of vogue. Truly useful educational technology professional development needs to focus beyond the conference preso “vogue words of the day” and also explore emerging trends that may not yet be mainstream. I also think there are strong needs for presentations which are not single-vendor focused, but rather attempt to explore available options and give people the “lay of the land” for a given technology or context. That’s the stort of thing I’m wanting for commercial eLearning curriculum options.

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2 responses to “The landscape of commercial eLearning curriculum options”

  1. Bud Hunt Avatar

    I certainly hope that you will request folks to share what types of presentations that they want and share that list publicly. I’d arrange such a list by the strands that you want to run. That’d be useful. Very useful.
    Thanks in advance for all the hard work you’re about to get back into for the K12!

  2. John Pearce Avatar

    Firstly congratulations on already beginning planning for K12 2007, last year’s was a real blast.

    The notion of soliciting prospective participants ideas on what they would like to see in the presentations is very interesting. As a presenter for the 2006 conference i must admit that in getting my stuff together, I had little idea of the expectations of the participants and the final product was a real “shot in the dark”. It was really nice that in the end I did get some positive feedback both then and over the past few months via other than K12 links.

    On the other hand, one of the real joys of the conference from the participant angle was in the anticipation of reading the abstracts and then finding out how innovatively presenters had developed not only the content but also the mode of presentation. Developing presentations to meet participant’s expressed needs may stifle some of this creativity. In addition participants may not really know what they need to know, (oh my gosh is this shades of Donald Rumsfield?).

    Perhaps a mix of the two, some expressions of participant wants/needs balanced with some creative innovative options may be the way to go.