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Innovating in e-learning is worth it

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 27 May 2011, 21:12

E-learning projects/initiatives of 2000/2001 that cost £120,000 + and went nowhere. Dot.com start-ups that went bust.

Not quite first-hand experience as it wasn't my money or job on the line, but I was involved'sharing an office with the creators of 'Doki' an idea for an immersive language learning experience.

Pioneers of innovation are just that - brave people who go out in the cold with no clothes on.

It is this that I admire so much form the Open University ... 42 years of distance learning (pioneers at the time) and as Professor Jonathan Silvertown says in a video clip on the OU website 'It's as if the Open University was waiting for the Internet to happen - distance no longer matters'.

In terms of initiatives I'm familiar with away from the OU I like what corporate e-learning company Epic have done with the BBC Guidelines.

From my TV days I got a copy of these hefty manual every time a new edition came out - think of a Filofax so densely packed with printed pages that it is has the density (and about as much appeal) as a breeze-block. It was indigestible, however much you had to chew on it. Epic used narrative to create what I can only describe as an engaging tale that for its own sake draws you into the content.

The job is profiled on their website with a quote from someone in BBC Training saying that something that was costing X per head to train in was now a fraction of this for the 16,000 people expected to follow the guidelines.

Can it be costed if it is free?

Open Learn is free.

Or is it? 

As a tool to attract learners, as a duty or desire to support and share with the community (which is glogal now). To use Open Learn you still need a computer, broadband access ... and electricity.

It must work.

It must be worth it. (cash cost, time spent, time given up) It is pointless if a no or low cost none e-learning solution is better. i.e. can you teach someone to ride a bike online?

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Design Museum

What use is Rogers when in explaining innovations

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 31 Jan 2013, 06:48

Rogers Criteria of assessment:

1) Relative advantage
2) Compatibility
3) Complexity
4) Trialability
5) Observability

DOKI & iTV (WAYL) were chased intuitively – if a client would back it, then it was ok. This chase continued with projects developed to support equally speculative broadcast / internet linked projects. From a business perspective this was encouraging clients to chase chimera.

We should have know better and offered value in money made or saving made ... networking for the NHS was developed within their far more cautious framework. The advantages had to be apparent and the transition compatible. Though apparently complex the technology & the players were in place to take the next step. It could be trialled at a limited number of outlets and observations shared with the team.

The relationship with Ragdoll was different again; all they wanted was a website. We tried to steer them towards something that would be a credible tool for selling product (their programmes & merchandise). We all got tantalised by the creative opportunities.

With FTKnowlege it was another leap in the dark, feeling their brand name could be instantly attached to a distance learning MBA programme and feeling their was a need to get in their first. The view being that not to do otherwise would see other Amazons and the like taking a huge market share.


Kaye, R. and Hawkridge, D. (eds) (2003) Learning and Teaching for Business: Case Studies of Successful Innovation, London and Sterling, Kogan Page.

Rogers, E.M. (2003) Diffusion of Innovations (5th edn), New York, Simon and Schuster.

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