Wednesday, June 20, 2012

#mlearncon Tin Can Hooky

Skipped the morning keynote (sorry Clark) because I got tied into a conversation with the Tin Can API folks.  Representatives from Ruscici, Articulate, ADL, the Feds, Chad Udell from Float (the Tappestry folks), Reuben Tozeman from edCetra and a few other folks I didn't know.

So I am apparently a voice for the downstream end-user educator / not-very-technical developer.
I'm still not entirely certain I understand what is going on, but ok.  

In my environment - there is a lot of noise surrounding "Analytics".  Not that anyone actually knows what they want to measure or what they necessarily want to do with that information - but "Analytics" have become real important.

Tin Can provides a more easily understandable standard for capturing information.  Though it is coming out of the education space - I think it will be even MORE powerful if they can somehow get some buy-in from the enterprise space.

Fundamentally - people learn EVERYWHERE.
This is what Float Learning is trying to capture with Tappestry.

I suspect this information could also be captured invisibly on the back end like Google Analytics does with web pages (wow - if you all could get Google in on it, this could be powerful / deeply frightening).

From an organizational standpoint - the best thing that could happen is an ability to capture and report on this learning.
- What do people know?
- What skills are they picking up?
- How are they gaining these skills (locations, tools, etc)?

Then - be able to leverage this information for the powers of good (ideally)
- Personal growth for employees

- Career development - moving folks into areas where we can use their strengths rather than keep trying to get them to "fix" their weaknesses

- Better aligning sales with organizational skill-set (not something I worry about in my job, but I've worked too many places where the sales team sold services that no one in the org actually knew how to do)

- Make it easier for folks to get the training, education, performance support and information they need.

If nothing else - having one standard would make it much easier to see what is going on in an organization and be able to actually create reports.  You know - like level 4 reports showing that our training group actually has real, positive, hard number financial impact using actual data.

Shoot - I would be happy if our organization could run a report showing all of the training an employee took within an organization. Nevermind external conferences and training and the informal stuff.

Tin Can appears to have the potential to make that easier.

What would be REALLY awesome - the ability for schmucks like me to be able to run our OWN reports.
Right now - I have to first get a hook into our DataMart system and wait for a hook into our DataMart system from our squirrelly HRIS system.  Then I need to beg the DataMart guru to build a report with the specs that I give him based on partial information because our 3 enterprise systems use different terms for the same fields and house them in 4 different fields in the back-end Oracle database.

I kinda don't think that is sustainable for anyone (nevermind educators) much longer.
So during yesterday's keynote, they talked about simple steps.

Here was mine: email my LMS vendor and ask if they have heard about TinCan.

To SkillSoft's credit, they have realized that their bread-and-butter needs to be analytics.
They have a pretty good roadmap right now.
Maybe if I can get them at least thinking about Tin Can too, and start helping to build some level of critical mass in my own environment - my immediate analytics collection tasks might be a lot easier.

That's my thought anyway.....

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