NB advanced learning technologies sector

If you read the Telegraph-Journal you’ll find my comments in today’s story, Technology solution must be industry led:

Harold Jarche … who has long worked in the sector, authored two previous reports for government on advanced learning technologies and now consults largely outside New Brunswick, took issue with that suggestion.

“What we really need is start-ups,” Jarche said, pointing to industry’s close connection with several government funding institutions.

“We should be planting lots and lots of seeds,” Jarche said.

“Waiting for some saviour to come in and give us jobs, I think that’s the wrong focus.”

Back in 2004 I suggested more of a focus on European markets in Going Euro:

There is some focus on the European market but this is miniscule compared to our single-minded fixation with that marketplace to our South. I’m not saying that we should avoid US markets, but that we are not taking advantage of our “middle power” position.

In 2005 I recommended that we focus less on large companies and more on individuals to grow Our local learning industry:

I believe that the sustainability of the regional industry will depend on the knowledge workers and entrepreneurs who remain here to weather the next economic downturn. This could be difficult without a larger and more diverse group of small and nimble companies, developed during the good years.

My quotes in the Telegraph-Journal article are pretty close to what I said but I wrote a longer observation on the NB Learning Industry last November, with this conclusion:

Finally, I think that a non-profit chaordic organisation (PDF), as recommended by Rob Paterson on the Fast Forward Blog, might be a better structure than the some of the models tried already. I hope that the asset map that is being developed will be published and that it will be made freely available for open discussion and even for remix.

In this report, of which I have only read what is available in the executive summary, the call centre industry has been lumped in with learning technologies, which is a bit of a stretch. Therefore, this is not the same industry that I examined in 1999 and 2004, but some of the same problem areas are cited – R&D and effective marketing. In addition, there is a recommendation for a – leader or ‘champion’ – to represent the industry. I would suggest that there is already a group of people in this province who have been having serious conversations about industry and/or learning technologies for several years. They include:

Stephen Downes

David Campbell

Jacques Cool

John Gunn at MonctonITA

Jeff Roach at PropelICT

Please add more in the comments

Maybe it’s time the C-suites visited the e-suites and joined in the conversation.

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