I am a mLearning Evangelist. I have been a proponent of real-time decision support for all of my career. I remember working it into a design in 1992, and when it was previewed hearing that “they really didn’t think the Internet was going to catch on." That was fun. But, how easy is it to suggest to an organization that they take the red pill instead of the blue? If your business is used to and comfortable with your learning solution, it may not be an easy sell. How ready is any organization to move into the revolutionary environment of mobile performance support? You may find that you have a choice only in how fast you adopt new learning and delivery models. This train is not stopping. Getting on when it is at a slower speed--versus the long, running jump that will have to be made as technology accelerates--will make all the difference.
Learner advocates may be seen as not mission critical. Especially if you try to reconcile the user and the machine she uses and give them equal weight. That will often get you thrown out of implementation decision meetings. As Basil Fawlty once so aptly said: The hotel business would be great, if it weren’t for the guests. People’s needs are confusing. Just pick the elearningmlearningperformancesupport platform already, why are you slowing this whole machine down?
Yet, at the end of the day, the outcomes depend upon the learner. If you build it, will they come? Many times, they don’t. Lost money. Lost time. Lost productivity. Lost opportunity.
So, what the heck is a mLearning Evangelist? I see it as a person who believes that the learner and technology they use are in a collaborative relationship where each creates possibilities for the other. Without an equal focus in this reflexive relationship, one has a tendency to be more significant than the other. Technology without humans is sterile. Humans without technology are less operative. And, as we will continue to be more and more interdependent, we must learn to join together with a common purpose. Yet, we must begin with a renewed focus on the human being and a passion for advocating on their behalf. Even though we will be in partnership, we remain the reason for the relationship to exist at all. As Frog’s Fabio Sergio puts it: “We have been focusing on the concept of mLearning--where 'm' usually stands for 'mobile' but also just as easily for 'me.' ”
So, be an opener of doors.
Work to slow the machine down, to open it up and to see how it runs--then it can move fast and also meet the organization's real needs. Keep the emphasis on how the learner uses technology to begin with, because it’s not the chicken or the egg. It really, really starts with the chicken.
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