Online Communities in Business

If you’re interested in online communities then read the latest report by Ambrozek & Cothrel. The report surveyed 135 respondents, many of them experts in the fields of virtual communities, communities of practice, etc. The list of influencers on pages 22/23 of the report offers an excellent start to filling your RSS aggregator with the opinions of those who have the greatest influence in this growing field. There’s lots to chew on here.

The most interesting view of the future, from one of the respondents, that I think should be considered for those in the technology-based learning field is:

Cautious personal predictions for the future: movement from a linear scheduled-media environment to an IP-delivered, on demand, rich media environment where you can access tailored content where you want it, when you want it, how you want it … with linear programming and scheduling still firmly there, but as one of the choices you can make. [Media producers] may begin to talk about ‘brands’ and’genre content’ rather than ‘programmes.’ The public will begin to co-produce media, and the media producers will act more as editors who enable and shape this material, plus add the expert view and point to ‘the official view’ or ‘the best’, ‘the newest, ‘the most apposite,’ ‘the funniest. etc. Media producers will also still offer quality crafted content but audience/members will be able to view the content in different ways and to also feedback and comment/add material in separate windows or on separate menus if people want to drill down or across to take a look. Further ahead: 3D networked gaming environments with chat and self-build homes/dens/vehicles will increase in popularity with children, particularly boys. Medics and scientists will see the value of such environments for teaching, and holiday brochures will neverbe the same again.

With more people involved in multiple online communities, getting information and sharing their experiences when and where they want, there may be less acceptance of pre-programmed, linear elearning. Learners will also want to involved in the creation of their own learning programs, and will have the tools to do so. Add these together and we may see the end of “content based education”. If the content is up to the learner, then the only critical part (for organisations) will be the evaluation component. Instead of content-based testing, we may see a rise in performance-based testing. I hope so.

PS: There is a note in the report that the wiki is now open to anyone, but I haven’t found a way to get access –

Update: you can send an e-mail, which is available from the main link, and get wiki access from the authors – thanks.

One Response to “Online Communities in Business”

  1. Anonymous

    Wiki inviteWiki invite is on its way to you – and to anyone else who sends me an email. (We do say this on the page where you download the report, but I suspect people aren’t doing much on that page but clicking through to the pdf. Heck, I probably wouldn’t either.)

    Joe (cothrel AT


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