Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Brent Schlenker Joins EdCast!

The Big Story!

I am officially part of team EdCast. If you missed it, I left Litmos a couple months ago. After a few weeks of soul searching and many many conversations with mentors, colleagues, and friends, I decided a new adventure on the cutting edge of learning platform solutions was exactly where I wanted to be. EdCast checked all the boxes for me and my family and I am beyond excited about this journey. Special thanks to the visionary Karl Mehta for trusting me to be a part of his team.

A Little Historic Context

I remember very clearly being quite bored with learning tech in late '90s. I had experienced all the authoring tools, the cumbersome LMSs, and a fantastic virtual reality project just as VR entered the trough of disillusionment...and then basically disappeared. The industry wasn't moving anywhere. I didn't see anything changing and contemplated a complete career change. But then the internet changed.

The tools that would soon be called Web2.0 started reaching my network of like-minded geeky friends. Blogs, wikis, RSS, and early mobile devices (Remember the Treo?) hit the scene. These technologies changed me. Once again I became excited about my chosen profession and what was possible. I could see the future of learning in this new internet and it was wonderful. This early adoption of Web2.0, and the Learning2.0 craze, helped me build the rest of my career.

I was well into Web2.0, but didn't actually start this blog until 2005 when I couldn't sit on the sidelines any longer. I needed to play. And so I began experimenting and sharing those experiments at every event that would accept me. It felt like we were onto something BIG! 

Check out my first blog post to get a feel for my frame of mind at the time.

Sadly, as we rolled into the second half of the 2000s, I realized the L&D market was a LAGGING indicator, not a leading indicator of technology. It would take many more years for these tools to become commercially acceptable. And then many more years for L&D to see the value. Some might argue L&D still hasn't seen the value, or made the shift. 

It was obvious to me that companies were not ready for this type of disruption in their training departments. But I was lucky enough to join the eLearning Guild and use the DevLearn stage to help influence training practitioners around the world. DevLearn was the first L&D event to use an event hashtag and display the tweets LIVE on a monitor at the event. It was about the same time that a Guild research report stated 82% of Guild members NEVER use twitter. Let's hope that percentage is MUCH lower today.

During all of this change in the internet the backend technologies that drove these systems were defined as "the cloud". And just when I was beginning to lose hope that learning tech would ever keep up, I discovered Litmos: The tiny little cloud-based LMS out of New Zealand. This was nearing the end of the 2000s and I had renewed hope that there was something to be excited about. But while I was excited about LMSs finally moving into the cloud, nothing really changed. It was the same LMS functionality we had before just, sort of, a little better, a little cheaper, and a little more user friendly. And that was GREAT! But still no rss capabilities. No wiki-style functionality. And we were STILL trapping media content in the black box of SCORM. Very much not Web2.0. It wasn't what I had envisioned for a truly Learning2.0 platform. 

Does anyone remember my 2007 keynote at eLearnDevCon in Utah? Were you there? Maybe you saw me deliver similar presentations on Learning2.0 at other events that year. I hope you felt my enthusiasm for the changes I saw in our future. That was almost exactly 10 years ago.

That presentation and Learning2.0, 10 years later, is finally reality.

So why did I feel like I needed to write a history report? I wanted to give you some context around my excitement joining the EdCast team. There are over 1300 LMSs in the market presented in various shapes, sizes, colors, and flavors. The world doesn't need ANOTHER LMS. We need to focus less on training events, and more on learning and performance. No traditional LMS can do that, nor should it. They do what they do very well. They solve the training problem. Now we need systems that solve learning problems. 

Can your LMS grab an RSS feed like Flipboard can? No. Probably not. 

Can it make decisions delivering the right content at the right time based on context? LOL! Right... what was I thinking.

Do your employees start their day by logging into your LMS? ROTFL! I'm cracking myself up :)

Does your LMS have live streaming video capabilities? No it doesn't. Most still haven't figured out how to allow uploading pre-recorded videos.

EdCast does all of this and so much more!

Let's just look at video. Video is the future. In all of it's many forms. Whether it's professionally produced, DIY, live streamed, recorded, or 360 degrees, video will dominate the consumer experience. That translates into the learning experience. 

Because ALL content is LEARNING content to someone. 

And when we talk about culture change? All employees are now both student and teacher. Does your LMS allow EVERYONE in the company to create content? Share content? Like it? Bookmark it? Comment on it? It should. But it doesn't.

And is your LMS Mobile 1st? More like 2nd, 3rd, or not. Pick up your phone and look at how many apps you have that allow you to stream video at the touch of a button: Instragram, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, skype, slack, Periscope, gChat, and more. Is one of those icons your LMS? No. It should be. But that won't happen. It's going to take a complete rethinking of your enterprise learning culture to embrace the coming of the Learning Experience Platform (Learn more from Josh Bersin about Digital Learning).

Brace yourself! LXP is here... and it's about time!

Feel free to reach out to me online @bschlenker, LinkedIn, or even Snapchat @schlearning :)

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