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 continueto expand into the corporate training market. The preliminaryconsensus, at least, appears to be “no”.
The list of preliminary concerns raised in the comments sectionincludes aesthetic concerns, such as bulk, and the lack of a colorscreen, as well as potentially more substantial barriers. Thesebarriers 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? Doesthe platform support animated (Flash or other) content or is it staticonly? Lack of one or both of these capabilities could severely limitits 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 LearningInnovation Network meeting in Cambridge, MA last week, socialinteractions are a key part of learning. The tactile dimension is notthere. Once one is used to an iTouch or iPhone, it is hard to go backto a passive screen, even one with the wonderful resolution of Kindle.Touch and gesture are an important part of memory (and thereforelearning.) So, although I expect to do a great deal of reading onKindle-like devices, I expect my learning to be social, personal andtactile.
Yet Another Device To Carry Around
Finally, the largest and possibly most significant concern raisedinvolved a logistical obstacle: people simply do not want to be carryingaround another electronic device in their daily lives. As Martin strongly explained,
- Our employees will ideally want to access training viatheir existing device, not a Kindle. I couldn’t think of anything morefrustrating than having to switch between several devices in my pocket,instead of just using my own mobile phone that allows me to weartraining and take training, anytime, anywhere.
So, based on your comments the Kindle hassignificant hurdles to overcome before it is a corporate learningdelivery device. However, mobile phones and in particular, the iPhoneor BlackBerry, may be a more long-term solution as a mobile learningdevice 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 newfeatures and new capabilities for mobile learning appearing at anaccelerated pace.