Tuesday, February 23, 2010

E-Learning Vendors Attempt to Morph Mobile

The sign should read:

"Don't touch! Wet Paint!"

I had a good chuckle today after receiving my latest emailed copy of the eLearning Guild's eLearningInsider update. A linked feature story in the update that immediately caught my eye was titled "Best Practices for Creating Mobile Learning Content" and clicking that link shuttled me over to SumTotal's corporate web site where I registered to download their latest mobile-related white paper.  Ahh, the anticipation of discovering what "the big boys" are up to felt close at hand. After supplying my details, I was rewarded with the delivery of not so much a white paper as a 3-page pamphlet outlining a few simple (and somewhat helpful) "tips" for someone approaching their first mobile learning effort.

Come on, SumTotal! Calling this effort a white paper is truly a stretch and a marketing ploy that falls far short of its intended mark. In fact, it is a "white paper" only in the sense that it's three total pages include a cover that's mostly white space balanced by a final page with only 7 total lines of text (and some disclaimers/addresses) along with a single page of information sandwiched in-between providing marginal tangible value and including several incorrect statements (e.g., the stated supported video formats for smartphones are simply wrong to anyone who is actually delivering video files to Apple iPhones and Windows Mobile devices). And I'm willing to "put up or shut up" too -- click here to see what a real white paper on mobile learning looks like!

On the positive front, this action proves again that most of the "tier one" LMS vendors are all show and little go when it comes to mobile learning. Having ourselves invested more than 7 years and millions of dollars to design, develop and perfect our own scalable, enterprise-grade solutions for mobile delivery, its amusing on one hand to witness how completley far behind the big guys are on the mlearning front while also disconcerting to see how they continue to provide mis/disinformation to their customers, prospects and the broader market. The "tier ones" may not be good at mlearning (yet), but that doesn't mean mobile isn't already 100% viable and practical if approached correctly using proven tools, methods and vendors. 

After many years of building awareness and false starts, 2010 will finally prove to be the year mobile learning gains wide market acceptance and proves its potential to organizations of all sizes.  We fully expect each of the Top 20 elearning vendors to start talking up their "don't touch/wet paint" solutions and experiences in mobile to try and keep their customers from selecting mature and viable mobile solutions from those select vendors who have stayed focused on the promise/potential of mobile.  For now, I'll sit back and continue to chuckle at whatever the tier ones convince themselves is relevant.


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