Let me begin by saying that I am a member of the Carl Berger fan club. Carl's work has been an inspiration since I found myself being drawn into the world of learning objects back in the mid 90s. His involvement with the National Learning Infrastructure Initiative, NLII (now ELI), IMS and Sakai has given all of us a foundation for implementing enterprise learning technologies in higher education...one of my favorite examples of sustaining learning technology innovation on the road to broad adoption.
I heard Carl speak at the April 2005 University of Missouri Apple Digital Campus Leadership conference. I'm not even sure what the topic of his speech was anymore. I just remember that there was a point where he compared and contrasted the things that academic institutions and corporate enterprises care about. I knew he was talking directly to me. Carl articulated some of the big value differences I had encountered in my job (at the time I was the Sr. director of global higher ed solutions for Macromedia.) I scribbled a bunch of notes from his slides - and eventually used his remarks as the basis for some work I was doing at the time. It proved to be a very effective way of explaining some of the differences in how our customers viewed the world to my corporate co-workers, both at Macromedia and later at Adobe Systems.
I have since added a few things to this graphic, and no longer can remember which of this comes from Carl, and what comes from me riffing off Carl's ideas. As he helped catalyze these insights, I am happy to give him all the credit. (If you click on the slide graphic it will launch as a full screen image, so don't even try to squint and read the text.)
Given the past few posts, it seemed like a good way to illustrate a few of the big differences in what is valued in different parts of the elearning value chain. As you can see from the very first comparison on the list, innovation - that is, going forth where nobody has gone before - is highly valued in academic settings. From a perspective of the vendor community, volume is more important than innovation. It is far more important for more people to buy than for fewer people to buy, under any and all circumstances. It also shows the differing interests for using data - from the vendor perspective data supports decision-making, whereas for academics it is more for demonstrating the tenability of a construct.
During that same Apple Digital Campus meeting, then University of Missouri System President Elson Floyd warned us that "culture eats strategy, every time". It's time to figure out how to bridge a few of these culture gaps to see about maximizing the probabilities of our own success.