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The eBook + 365 Day (& Bagel McTushy)

A year ago, my life looked very different. I was spending most of my days and nights sitting in a café or on my back porch typing my eBook. I was also filled with a hefty dose self-doubt. I had resigned from what was, on paper, a very good role. For a number of reasons, it was no longer the right position for me. So, one morning I cranked up Van Halen on my headphones, walked into the office, took a deep breath, and heeded the immortal advice of David Lee Roth: “Might as well jump”. I did.

Whilst I did lose my airline status points, I gained the time and freedom to put to paper the thoughts that I had had in my head for such a long time. In the end, this became “Data-Driven Learning Design” (DDLD). Basically, a shift towards leveraging metrics on learner behaviours in online interactions to gain insights to make more precise design choices. In skinnier terms: think like a digital marketer in conjunction with being a learning designer.

Fast forward twelve months and the eBook has been downloaded nearly four thousand times – that is about 3,995 times more than I expected when I factored in my parents, husband, and best friends. But this is less about the numbers and more about what has happened in the L&D landscape in the short span of a year.

Whilst my dream DDLD engine has yet to be built, there are companies who are making great strides in this space. Elucidat has embraced the concept of analysing data to improve content with outstanding results. Filtered is another one to watch – I have a big crush on them and their learning designs. Likewise, Lumesse is turning the dial up on personalisation and is doing very interesting work in learning campaigns – something I have been ranting about here. Without this capability, we have nothing to link the swaths of our microlearning and will end up with a lot of digital Kleenex. I also know of another player who is not-quite-ready-for-prime-time, but will blow your mind when they do launch.

The re-imagining of the learner experience partnered with data is revolutionary over at Degreed. Every click, view, and like, goes into their data hopper making the individual experience more meaningful and personalised. I picture the back-end of Degreed much like the plant Audrey II in Little Shop of Horrors – FEED ME (data)!

And of course, there is Watershed LRS and xAPI tracking the formal and informal learning, collating these against business results, so you can see how your learning is impacting your business, and where you want to refine. That is brilliant.

Fun fact: every time a learning professional uses xAPI, an animal species is removed from the endangered list. Please do your part to make this world a better place.

Yesterday, I reread DDLD with trepidation. Some parts have stood up against time. Yet, there is definitely an opportunity to add another chapter or two to reflect the evolving market (thanks to Sven Ove Sjølyst for the suggestion). Unfortunately, I am no longer in a position to take a couple of months off and type away whilst sipping on an americano! Especially not with house renovations looming. However, it is always on my mind and if anyone is interested in collaborating, ping me.

If you have not read the eBook, please consider having a look here. It is free and if you are scared by the request to enter in your name and email, here’s a secret: you can make all of that up and stay anonymous. That was the only way I could track the number of downloads and as is obvious, I am all about the data. However, if you do choose to go incognito, why not be creative? My favourite pseudonym so far has been “Bagel McTushy”. I snorted out loud when I read that. Whomever you are out there in cyberspace: you rock.

Lastly, a massive thank you to all for the support, debates, conversation, and growth over the past year. The best part of the eBook has been collaborating with an entirely new level of innovative thinkers. Until next time: data on, peeps. Oh, and Jump!

**None of the companies mentioned in this blog post solicited or compensated me. They were included solely based on my own personal opinions about their high levels of innovation.**