Last week I presented some interesting new findings on the Kindle’s expanding market, and asked you all to weigh in on whether you thought it would continue to expand into the corporate training market. The preliminary consensus, at least, appears to be "no".
The list of preliminary concerns raised in the comments section includes aesthetic concerns, such as bulk, and the lack of a color screen, as well as potentially more substantial barriers. These barriers include:
Lack of Two Way Capabilities
Nick raised an excellent point about the inherent limits of the Kindle feature set when he wondered,
- Is it possible to collect statistics, do quizzes? Does the platform support animated (Flash or other) content or is it static only? Lack of one or both of these capabilities could severely limit its usefulness.
Similarly, Steven explained that the hardware itself may not be sufficient because,
- The Kindle is not a good medium for social interaction. It is a private experience. As we learned at the recent Learning Innovation Network meeting in Cambridge, MA last week, social interactions are a key part of learning. The tactile dimension is not there. Once one is used to an iTouch or iPhone, it is hard to go back to a passive screen, even one with the wonderful resolution of Kindle. Touch and gesture are an important part of memory (and therefore learning.) So, although I expect to do a great deal of reading on Kindle-like devices, I expect my learning to be social, personal and tactile.
Yet Another Device To Carry Around
Finally, the largest and possibly most significant concern raised involved a logistical obstacle: people simply do not want to be carrying around another electronic device in their daily lives. As Martin strongly explained,
- Our employees will ideally want to access training via their existing device, not a Kindle. I couldn’t think of anything more frustrating than having to switch between several devices in my pocket, instead of just using my own mobile phone that allows me to wear training and take training, anytime, anywhere.
So, based on your comments the Kindle has significant hurdles to overcome before it is a corporate learning delivery device. However, mobile phones and in particular, the iPhone or BlackBerry, may be a more long-term solution as a mobile learning device since they offer institutional support, two way capabilities, and an all in a package that allows users to access one’s cell phone, datebook, contact list, notepad, mp3 player, internet access device, etc.
Whatever device emerges as the winner, our blog community sees new features and new capabilities for mobile learning appearing at an accelerated pace.