Future Skills 2020 and the Implications for Professional Development
When Do You Pay Attention to Your Professional Development?

Is Morris Lessmore the Future of Elearning?

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore iPad App Trailer from Moonbot Studios on Vimeo.

Ex-Pixar Designer William Joyce has created a stunning children's book/i-Pad app that should be a wake-up call to those of us who work with adult learners, especially in designing/developing e-learning. 

Based on the video above, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore is a stunning piece of work that draws you into a story that includes subtle interactive features on every page:

In fact, the interface design is so subtle it wasn't until I was about six pages in that I realized that every page of the app has some delightful feature embedded into it that you have to find for yourself. This is the key to a successful children's book -- inviting them to play and explore and be curious, not just jab buttons to activate cheesy visual effects. 

This is what adults want, too--something that engages and draws them in, inviting them to explore and be curious, not just answer quiz questions or "jab buttons to activate cheesy visual effects." There's a story here and the opportunity to interact with the story in meaningful ways. I find it hard to believe that we can't achieve something similar in e-learning. At the very least, this seems to set the bar much higher than before, because after you've experienced something like this as a bedtime story with your child, it's going to be hard to slog through some PowerPoint tutorial. 

I'm also struck by the pricing of this extraordinary piece of work--$4.99. Really?! Less than $5 for something that is this interactive and beautifully done when I'm spending $9.99 for e-books on my Kindle? Not that I don't love to just read, but this pricing differential suggests to me that I'm lining someone's pockets, not paying for great design work. 

It occurs to me that if this kind of creativity and talent could be harnessed for e-learning, we could make tremendous leaps forward in using technology to enhance our professional development. Imagine learning with an app that could bring this kind of magic to adults?

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I'm running two free Positive Professional Development Camps on July 26 and 28. Check out this post for more information and to sign up. There is just one spot left in each session, so I'd encourage you to sign up quickly! And if you can't attend, go ahead and fill out the form anyway, just to let me know you're interested so I can see about scheduling additional sessions. 

Comments

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Apps like these really show the possibilities of tablets. And I certainly agree that high-end design like this in e-learning apps would be fantastic. But it all boils down to economics. To sell an app for 4.99, or even 14.99, and be able to just break even after paying a former Pixar designer and his team, you have to sell hundreds of thousands of units, I would guess.

It could be done if you have a fabulously successful Chemistry 101 interactive app, or something similar that lots of people will buy. But for your average in-house course where most of us make a living the money just isn't there. These days, most folks are lucky if they have a budget for a dedicated Flash designer when Captivate is "good enough."

Agreed, Yoni, that the $4.99 price assumes sales volume and I totally hear you on the average in-house designer not being able to do this kind of work. At the same time, I'm wondering if other factors won't push us toward creating this kind of thing. There was a great article in the Harvard Business Review on hyperspecialization and how companies can now outsource different kinds of work to hyperspecialists. I wonder if elearning might not go in this direction, rather than having in-house designers. . .

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