As anyone on-the-ground can tell you, great changes are happening in educator professional development. From the influence of social media and e-learning to the power of educator-driven communities of practice, PD itself is becoming increasingly personalized. Districts large and small have the opportunity to effect progress in education by offering ongoing and embedded support of teaching and learning within schools and classrooms. If we are to expect a customized experience for students, we must first effectively model that experience for the teachers who serve them.
The debate as to whether learning record stores (LRSs) and learning management systems (LMSs) are in competition betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of what each does and furthermore betrays a lack of imagination with regard to either.
More importantly, that dualistic debate leaves out the real rogue along the path to next gen e-learning: the AP.
Activity providers (APs) — especially those working off a standard such as xAPI — will be the human-to-machine interface of the next generation of e-learning. While those APs may include LMSs or components of LMSs, the real story will be the increasing number of APs leveraging mobile, wearables, vehicle computers, drones, and smart environments.
If you are developing for the xAPI standard, don't limit yourself to making your LMS compliant. And certainly don't complain and say that clients just don't want/need/understand xAPI because they aren't asking for your xAPI compliant LMS. Think beyond the LMS. Think beyond the traditional ways you think about the LMS.
Because the next wave of e-learning technologies (in fact the current vanguard of e-learning technologies) will be disparate in type and format — to the degree that many will not even seem like learning tools or technologies in the way that we commonly understand them now. The most successful and connected of these new technologies will leverage common standards which lend themselves to bridging learning, experience, and understanding with assessment, compliance, and measurable analytics.
Standards which create bridges across the ecosystem of formative experience.
The next generation of human-to-machine interface requires the next generation of machine-to-machine interface. The AP is at the center of that innovation between human, machine, and human.
We're about to transition into a new period in learning and understanding that has very little to do with what came before. To be more precise, a new period which will have very little to do with the technologies we've been using throughout the transition of the last several years as education in-and-of-itself has wrestled with the Internet.
It's time to leave that period behind.
And it is time to move beyond education and the technology of education as it has been realized and to move towards the technology of experience itself.
It is time.