Thoughts From an eLearning Strategist...

Posted by Tom Amari on 10/18/12 10:45 AM

Hi, I'’m Tom Amari, Director of eLearning at CLD.

I'’ve been designing and developing interactive software for a long time—everything from artificial intelligence software for graphic designers to eLearning modules for pharmaceutical companies. Over the years, I’'ve noticed a fundamental shift in the challenge of developing software that people are excited about using. I don'’t mean the advances in programming languages, improvements in processing power, or the advent of social media. I’'m talking about the attitudes of the users themselves.

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From my perspective, there has been an attitude evolution comprising three eras:

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  • Quill Era (“I don'’t need that — my quill works just fine.”)

  • Golden Era (“That is really great — what a time saver!”)

  • Seen It Before Era (“I have an app that does that too.”)

Quill Era: – I first started designing software in the 1980s during the Quill Era. The Quill Era was characterized by users who couldn'’t understand why I would bother giving them software that would make their jobs easier and more efficient. After all, their analog tools had “worked just fine all these years.” Their attitude was more puzzlement than apprehension.

Golden Era: – I refer to this era of software development as Golden because users had become comfortable with computers, but were still in awe of the tools we developers could provide. They were neither afraid of nor confused by new software. In fact, they had a solid understanding of how computers could help them, and were really appreciative of new tools that we created.

Seen It Before Era: – This is the era we'’re in now. In most respects, this is the most difficult era for software designers. Why? Although the Quillers were often suspicious of computers and were perhaps clumsy users, after their initial reluctance, they slowly started to appreciate the value of the technology.

Most of the Quillers had an easy transition as the Golden Era approached. The Quillers and Goldens, frankly, weren'’t ultra tech-savvy, so anything you developed was somewhat miraculous.

Then came the Seen-Its.

The Seen-Its are a different story. The Seen-Its are mobile. They own iPads, Droids, and NOOKs. They use Dropbox, Twitter, and Google Docs. That old guy working at the auto repair shop? He'’s a Seen-It. The 7-year-old, head bowed towards her thumbs? Proud Seen-It for over 2 years! For a software developer, Seen-Its are easy to spot. Just describe a new software idea you have, and they'’ve already seen it. “See? "Check out this app I have!"” Even if they haven'’t seen anything like it before, their interest lasts no more than 5 seconds—just long enough for them to show you an app that’'s just as impressive. In this era, the number of applications has exploded, and everyone has easy access to them. Everyone'’s an expert now!

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So what’'s an honest software designer to do? Are the geekstar days of the ‘90s gone forever? Well, in this era, when an app can go from new idea to design to development to market in just a few days, creating cool, new software is only a small part of the overall picture. 

At CLD, “cool” isn'’t enough. Sure, we develop cutting-edge technology. Sure, our eLearning software has the features you want. Sure, our apps are cool enough to keep even a veteran Seen-It impressed for upwards of 5 seconds. But that'’s only part of the story. At CLD, our focus is on learning. With help from a team of instructional designers, content leads, writers, software developers, and illustrators/animators, CLD provides:

  • Targeted learning objectives and assessments
  • Interactive application-based activities and real-life case studies
  • Captivating graphics and animations
  • Award-winning training programs of the highest quality

Our goal is to present training content for life sciences and medical device companies in an engaging manner that enhances key messages, explains the “why” behind the knowledge, and emphasizes the “what'’s in it for me?” 

And as for me, personally? Well, maybe the geekstar days are mostly gone. But at least I have some great ideas for new iPhone apps! For example, you enter your dog’'s date of birth, and it tells you how many other dogs nearby have the same birthday. Cool, huh?

What’'s that? You'’ve already seen it?

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Topics: Training Solutions eLearning Pharmaceutical Sales Training Mobile Learning