Many of the people I follow on Twitter are spending time at summer conferences. The ASTD ICE, Innovations in eLearning, NMC, Games, Learning and Society...it's been a bit like reading letters from summer camps for grown-ups. You can tell how much people love to hang with their like-minded friends and rivals (Nothing like sitting through a presentation by someone ELSE working in YOUR area to get teeth grinding and ideas flowing). The quality of tweets and posts have been exceptional - insights and reflections, great links to articles and blog posts, flashes of humor and grace.
It's really interesting to see different proficiencies emerge across the learning-technology-design industry when everyone is tweeting in the same stream. Can I just say...that last sentence ...I mean exactly what I just said. It's too bad it sounds bizarre.
In any event - This is a tip for those of you who conduct quantitative research on the topics related to learning, technology, design and performance improvement efficacy using various types of technology. You may not realize it, but you can influence the technology product roadmaps with the companies that you know and love. The impact of your data may not necessarily influence product design with your research, per se - unless you come from computer science or engineering. Instead, the empirical evidence you share may help sell technology products to specific vertical markets. You can become part of the go-to-market strategy.
Specifically, if you have data that shows that particular kinds of features in products can help students retain more, remember better, perform at peak levels of efficiency for longer periods of time then you need to figure out a way to get that information to the education marketing team at your technology company of your choice. Because those are the kinds of facts and figures that help sales teams connect with their educational customers. Education customers don't just want to hear about features and benfits. They also want to know about best practices for using products to solve real problems.
Here are a few things to keep in mind: Tech companies don't want to sponsor your research. At least the marketing departments don't. In fact, I can think of no faster way to turn off your marketing team point of contact than to start asking for free stuff. There are company policies forbidding that in most places that I know of. What they CAN do is to help promote your findings, showcase your success. They can also help support some of the work you are doing in exchange for you presenting your findings that are favorable to the company at conferences germane to your industry. So do your best to summarize your key findings in a page or two. Use easy to understand, direct language that is as jargon free as you can be. Use numbers that will help make a point.