I have always been a fan of Nick van Dams e-learning Fieldbook, and often refer enquirers to answer the questions posed by Nick to understand what e-learning works best for.

I have now completed Nick’s 2011 book, Next Learning Unwrapped, that comes with an introduction from the great Elliot Masie, who usually signs off with the catch phrase “Yours in Learning”, but leaves us with “Carpe diem” – Seize the Day, but missing off the rest of Horace’s phrase which goes on to say “putting as little trust as possible in the future!”

I am sure Elliot realised this, as he provides a comprehensive list of what learners are demanding from “next” of future learning – some irony here perhaps!

Quite how much trust we should put in the future of “which technology next for e-learning” has always been a challenge…will it be smartphone? will it be tablets? will it be social? will it be serious games? as we all we know that this is an industry that continually agonises over its failings to go mainstream and breakthrough, and is always looking for the next new thing. So maybe the  e-learning industry mantra should be “Carpe diem quam minimum credula postero”  “Seize the Day, putting as little trust as possible in the future”.

Why is this important, well in our previous post we talked about the fear of many organisations to “go for” e-learning due to the speed of change of technology. Some fault of our hype seeking industry?

Back to the book: This is not a book predicting the future of e-learning and learning technologies, though some of the early chapters do discuss new learning approaches. However the principle content that makes up this work is given to showcasing corporate distance (e-learning or online) success stories.

There are over 30 of these, addressing on line performance support, social and expert networks, 3D worlds, wikis and blogs, communities of practise, virtual classrooms, serious gaming and simulation, distance learning programmes and blended on-demand learning programmes – so some fabulous examples here – where the mantra of seize the day and lets not worry about the future.

These case studies or vignettes follow a standard format, – aligned, designed and deployed (not dissimilar to our own ‘define and determine’, ‘design and develop’ and ‘deploy’ approach). In addition attention is paid to key business drivers and the marketing approach.

The findings or business impact session and “lessons learnt” is probably the most interesting of each vignette, and having just completed the Towards Maturity benchmark questionnaire, (which you should all do), I will be interested to know if the findings can be presented in such an engaging manner such as this.