I made my comments last week about R/WW’s All you need to know about e-learning 2.0, and the discussion has been picked up by several people in our community, most notably Tony Karrer. A recent comment on R/WW , #24, by Hank Horkoff of ChinesePod, is perhaps the most insightful on the real effects of “2.0”:
First, I want to second Tony’s assertion that the changes in learning are paralleling the impact of Web 2.0 on mass media. This fundamental shift, re-constructing the value chain around the needs of the end user/student, rather than the needs of producers of content or educational institutions, will reverberate through the learning industry for decades to come. I just wonder why the label isn’t a little more ‘digital native-esque’ as simply Learning 2.0.
Second, with ChinesePod we have been able to build a business model around a three-point strategy that provides a more integrated learning experience for students. One, provide an attraction (free daily podcast lessons, in our case) to compensate students for their attention. Two, facilitate community involvement through use of a variety of software tools and active human participation to build out a community of practice. Three, continually experiment with a number of paid services to generate the revenue necessary to sustain the service many years into the future. Even though Chinese-training for English-speaking markets is only a ‘small niche business’ in Richard’s words, ChinesePod will do more than a million dollars in revenue this year.
ChinesePod gets it right by understanding the user/learner. This three step model is one that any Web learning business should critically examine, so let me reiterate:
- Reward attention, because it’s everything on the Web
- Community (not content) is king
- Keep tweaking the business model