Portlets and widgits

My keynote at SkillSoft’s Canadian Perspectives conference yesterday gave some advice to the training department and how it may need to change to meet the demands of a complex environment. Several people said that they found the talk interesting and I will take the notes and feedback to write a paper on the topic which I should publish in a couple of weeks. All references to this presentation are on my Delicious bookmarks.

During the day I attended some breakout sessions, mostly focused on advancements in SkillSoft’s product and service lines as well as a few customer case studies. The first presentation of the day covered three market shifts that the company sees as having an impact on its business: mobile devices; ubiquity of content; and talent shortages.

I also noticed a theme that learning content has to move outside the LMS. The LMS is perceived as an appropriate tool for tracking objects but learning activities are being pushed outside the LMS box. SkillSoft’s strategy is to use an open (not open source) architecture to plug into other systems with “portlets”, which are similar to the web widgits that you see on most blogs today. It all reminded me of a discussion I had with Mark Dowds at the Brandon-Hall conference last year. Mark knows information technology but was new to e-learning. After a few days of presentations, Mark told me he had finally figured out what an LMS is, “It’s just another widgit”. It looks like that’s the way this technology is going.

3 Responses to “Portlets and widgits”

  1. Jon Husband

    I know of a collaboration platform about to launch its 2009 version .. at the bottom of the right-hand column on the screen is a permanent feature labeled “Add A Widget”.

    At some point in the future the IT department will no longer be telling you which digitial ballpoint pen (metaphor alert ! 😉 you must use … you will just plug the one you like most into the platform. I believe some of you are calling this PKM a key aspect (personal knowledge management).

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  2. Janet Clarey

    Exactly. We’re seeing this now in many LMSs and seeing instances of the LMS itself as a widget. Sun Microsystems Collaborative Learning Environment is completely built on a wiki. Their learners add their own content including documents, pages, ratings, tags, etc where allowed, as well as comments.

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