It isn’t uncommon today to see a “new and improved” service, theory, technology, gadget, or enhancement coming out in the learning industry. But this can be a double-edged sword, and leaves me wondering, are we over thinking the learning industry?
First, I want to make it clear that I am a proponent of progress, but I am also against progress for progress sake. In all honesty, most of the enhancements in our industry are the result of an increase in demand. If anything, that means that the industry is alive and growing. Yet I am beginning to believe that this is also causing companies to enter this market with money on the mind rather than fitting an actual need.
As our industry grows and starts to command even greater profits, then it makes sense that it will attract new entrants. The problem I see is that these new entrants aren’t usually directly related to the industry, but decided to create and pump a new product/service because they are trying to get their piece of the pie.
To tell you the truth, I have seen an explosion of new LMS products (specifically software-as-a-service providers) in our industry in the past couple of years. I am well aware that WPLMS will be added to the “noise”. That said, I am confident that we are filling a niche for many small organizations out there looking for an simple and familiar enhancement.
Fortunately, experienced learning professionals can sift through this noise and find the real value. Still it can be easy to fall prey to the “shiny-new-object” syndrome. From a consulting standpoint, we need to exercise caution when providing advice to clients. Just because something is “new” or “revolutionary” doesn’t mean it is necessary.