For a couple of reasons I have been doing a lot of looking recently at a whole spate (what's more that a spate?) of applications which mainly fall under the current rubric of "Web 2.0". I've done some reading by some seemingly smart folks on the topic and even some of those folks critics...and currently that picture over there is pretty fair representation of what my head feels like.
I am looking at all of these through the lens of how could any of these impact learning/training and the not-so surprising answer that I keep coming up to is - very little actually - within the bounds of two conditions.
The first condition (now that I look - this appears to very close related to the second condition as well) being my strong belief that culture will always trump technology. If a corporate or organizational culture is not ready to change or accept change, then no technology is sufficient to break through that. So, changing the organizational culture remains the top priority.
The second condition states that none of the incredibly cool applications will impact corporate training to any noticeable degree if the market continues to view learning as a product that is designed, developed and built somewhere and then taken to the consumer, like a car. What do cars compete against in the market? Other cars mainly (I hear some of you saying 'mass transit' and if you live outside the U.S. you may have a point but not so much inside the U.S.). Even though if it is mass transit, it is still paying for transportation. 'Learning' products compete against an almost innumerable array of free [informal] options.
My favorite quote of the year so far? "You don't deploy a commnity." So many of these tools draw their power from community, from an organic coming together of like-minded folks - I think what organizations are missing is the 'organic' and all they are seeing is the 'power.' This gets at the heart of this second condition - the idea that driving this insane burst of creative energy from the Web 2.0 side of the house is the idea that we should build platforms and not applications. Maybe what we should be thinking about is how to become better advocates of changing corporate and organizational cultures to accept the deployment of platforms upon which their members/employees can construct their own learning applications. Oh and yes, we can build and sell those platforms.
Phew. I'm tired now.