A tale of two experts on m-Learning - mLearning - Zimbio
EKL: Obviously IBM is really putting m-learning into practice. But where do you think the view that it’s been over-hyped has come from?
CK: I think what happened, and thank goodness we fixed things, was that everyone in the marketplace was spinning out this term m-learning. And it’s cool, but people don’t buy m-learning. You can take advantage of its capabilities for a business application deployment for a sales force, field force, and so forth, but people don’t buy m-learning. It’s a capability.
We gave it almost too much focus and drew attention to it, but pretty quickly we learned to back off and weave it through our existing offerings as a differentiator for us and a competitive advantage for the customers. We found that we need to get in the middle of these discussions with an important triad—the line of business (LOB) executive, the CIO, and then the CLO—and be the catalyst.
The LOB exec is the person who is going to drive an m-learning deployment. Clearly no one would ever deploy a device just for learning. But the LOB executives certainly would because they’re trying to give a competitive advantage or be more efficient. I use the term enablement. The CLO can say, if you have connectivity out to our endpoints, think about what you can distribute in a profiled fashion.
EKL: In 2000, you said we’re just on the cusp of achieving the potential of m-learning. Where are we now in 2005? To some people it may seem like not much progress had been made.
CQ: If we’re still on the cusp, that’s more due to the economic downturn over the past few years than a fundamental flaw in the logic. To be fair, there’s been a steady increase in the infrastructure (greater penetration of phones, increase in networks, and so forth), that makes it a more attractive and practical proposition now. I actually think we’re now past the cusp and on our way. After being on the stump for mobile learning for the last couple of years, we’re beginning to see some action: initial contracts, some experiments, and so forth.