Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Chocolate and Peanut Butter of Learning Analytics

On October 23rd, 2009, Adobe Systems, Inc. competed its acquisition of Omniture, Inc. An Adobe press release describes the benefits of this merger as follows:

The combination of the two companies will increase the value Adobe delivers to customers. For designers, developers, and online marketers, an integrated workflow — with optimization capabilities embedded in the creation tools — will streamline the creation and delivery of relevant content and applications. This optimization will enable advertisers and advertising agencies, publishers, and e-tailers to realize greater ROI from their digital media investments and improve their end users' experiences.
Beneficiaries: advertisers, advertising agencies, publishers, etailers
Benefit: greater ROI, better end user experience

What this press release does not say is that on that fateful day the chocolate of Omniture's web analytics tools dropped smack dab into the middle of the peanut butter of Adobe' s eLearning suite. Or it could have/should have/will if someone stops trying to flip up the most enticing Flash banner ad possible for a minute and thinks about the eLearning world. If the red and black eLearning folks will wander over to their new 1.8 billion dollar, lime green roommates and make a modest proposal, we could have a match as classic and enticing as the Reece's peanut butter cup.

Does Adobe have any idea that they are sitting on the biggest revolution in eLearning since the browser? Do they realize that they now have at their finger tips all of the tools necessary to dominate the eLearning space with the hottest, most completely integrated, most elegantly implemented learning analytics suite on the market? Who else has the power to build learning analytics straight into the most popular tools for elearning design and development? Who else has the statistical and number crunching guns to process and display massive amounts of learner data in slick, easy to use dashboards? Could there be a more obvious fit? Does anyone there realize that they could be the engine that powers a massive emerging industry?

Probably not. Why would the people focused on ROI for advertisers start scribbling on the back of napkins with people who are focused on ROI for eLearning ? Nothing against Adobe; big corporations just don't innovate this way very often. If they did, the press release might read as follows:

The combination of the two companies will increase the value Adobe delivers to learners everywhere. For instructional designers, eLearning developers, and online colleges and universities, an integrated workflow — with learning optimization and tracking capabilities embedded in the creation tools — will streamline the creation and delivery of customized learning content and experiences. This optimization will enable teachers, trainers, instructional designers, and training organizations as well as online educators to realize greater ROI from their digital training and teaching investments and improve their end users' experiences and, ultimately, the overall appeal, effectiveness and efficiency of their learning.

It would be a crying shame if this didn't happen. Imagine a world without Reece's peanut butter cups. It would be that bad.

1 comment:

Daniel said...

I agree with you completely- both on the potential of Adobe/Omniture in the eLearning space and the sadness of a world without Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. The power of tools where you can have a rich interaction and learn from every click, mouseover, and data point possible through today's computer interaction is hard to quantify. There are obviously applications for online community interactions and many others as well. I'll be very interested to see how they leverage the possible synergies here.