I am seeing more and more debate about learning in the cloud. I am not sure everyone really understands the cloud concept, and it's often used interchangably with Software as a Service (SaaS) or managed services. Which is fine really in this context. In essence, people really mean the same thing - learning content managed remotely and easily delivered anywhere. In many organisations, outsourced learning management is gaining traction, as L&D departments struggle to implement LMS solutions that really work for them.
Here at Sereno we've often kicked about the idea of offering Drupal training, & we're always open to learning about Drupal ourselves.
So signing up to Drupal video training from Drupalize.me a couple of months back was a no-brainer. Drupalize.me's offers quite a few one-off videos, which tend to be recordings of stand-up sessions from various Drupal events. While these can be useful, Drupalize.me's uniqueness lies in its video series, which really put clear water between its offferings and the freely available video learning that's already on-line.
We're pleased to be supporting the Drupal Discovery Day on 16th September - part of the Brighton Digital Festival next month.
The day's been put together by the Brighton Area Drupal Association - and it's going to be a game of two halves. A 'Hello Drupal!' session in the morning will introduce Drupal in a practical hands-on workshop. A conference in the afternoon is a programme of short talks about exploiting Drupal, concluding in a panel discussion at the end of the day.
It's by no means essential to run a social learning platform for yourself when you can easily adopt existing services, like Facebook, Ning or Twitter. There are also great free guides to using these tools, like as those provided by Jane Hart. That said, there are valid concerns about data protection, privacy & IP ownership that lead many organisations to consider running social learning platforms for themselves. In this article, I want to consider a couple of leading open source contenders - Elgg & Mahara.
Moodle is a great Open Source LMS. It's well supported and actively maintained by a committed, expert community. But it's very focussed on what it does best - e-learning. It may be used in more or less every sector that requires on-line learning, but it feels most at home in the tertiary sector rather than supporting younger learners. Sure, you can change the look and feel, but its reputation with many developers suggests that advanced theming can be difficult. And crucially, its workflow is not as flexible as that of many modern tools when teams are contributing content.
A lot of people have contacted us lately to ask for help in bringing back together their web tools. Over the years, they have chosen what feels like the best web app for the job. But as time has gone by, they realise that they are left with a Frankenstein's monster. The intranet is incompatible with their e-learning platform, their content management separate from their reporting tools.
Last time, I asked how you can use a combination of fit-for-purpose technologies, while avoiding building an unwieldy intranet solution for your organisation.
If you already have 'too much knitting' and you're burdened with a hard to maintain mix of branding and code, then complex technical solutions such as deploying skin-swapping technologies like XDV may be an option. But this requires design effort to retrofit existing sites. Budgets get stretched and can leave you with even more of a maintenance headache.
There are some great sites for e-learning professionals (I'll be blogging about them over the next few months) but Jane Hart's Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies has always been a particular favourite.
Jane always seems to pick up on so many conversations and I have her Tweet to thank for alerting me to Anne Marie Cunningham's recent blog posting about her social learning experience in the medical profession.
We've been approached in the past about looking at environmentally-friendly hosting. We've been long-term partners at Rackspace, and have been pleased with their own carbon offset schemes and environmental policies. Their Green IT award in 2010 was a testament to that.