Alan Levine is circulating a 2-minute survey recently about Virtual Worlds (i.e., what’s happening with them?) – you should fill it out. In it, he references Gartner’s Hype Cycle:
With respect to Virtual Worlds (in fairness, my only experience is Second Life), I’m in the Trough of Disillusionment, and don’t expect to see the Slope or the Plateau. I’m just not interested – neither for fun, nor learning.
However, I find it interesting to think of other technologies in terms of this Hype Cycle. For example:
Synchronous/Web Conferencing: Peak to Plateau?
At my institution, we recently got Elluminate. It’s awesome! My hope is, that with great support, training and modelling (for instructors/moderators, in particular…and we do have this in place), we’ll skip the sad Trough of Disillusionment altogether, and just go from the Peak of Inflated Expectations to the Plateau of Productivity.
Why I think this: Elluminate is obviously and immediately useful to people in our context. It’s exciting technology, fun technology, it’s technology that brings people together. It’s not difficult to log in/participate or to moderate. There are a lot of options, but you can start out small/simple. It gets transparent pretty quick (ie., instructors can get on with designing useful/active sessions and stop worrying about buttons)
Google Wave: Perfect Example of Hype Cycle
Hey Kids! Remember Google Wave? Right. I forgot too, until someone mentioned it the other day. So here’s a great example of the Hype Cycle: Peak of Inflated Expectations? CHECK! Followed by the Trough of Disillusionment? Checkety Check. Waiting (optimistically) for the Slope….Check.
Mobile Learning: TDB
I’ve got a toe in the Trough right now with respect to mobile leeeeearning. My research project is in its very early stages (TCB: Ethics Review, Lit Review…i.e., haven’t torn into the fun part yet). This is probably a GOOD place to be starting a research project, actually (open-minded skepticism).
However, here’s what I notice in my own recent shift between being a Smart Phone “have not” to a “have”: I love it. Really. It’s fantastic for productivity/keeping in touch. Love the apps. But that’s personal/professional use…not learning/course use. I find I generally/naturally avoid text heavy pages (i.e., lots of content, discussion forums…you know, typical course stuff). I don’t “surf” or “read” much on my phone. That may just be me, we’ll see. Anyway, it raises questions about design for m-learning – it may not be enough to simply ENABLE m-access on your LMS (which is cool, and the point of the research). So, a toe in the Trough for typical courses NOW. Still more in the Peak of Inflated Expectations in considering about what could be.