Google Voice and Web 2.0 for Learning Management Systems

 

Two ways that learning management system courses can enrich content and heighten the provided learning experience is with the incorporation of web 2.0 tools and speech technologies. Web 2.0 tools are ubiquitous and fun, and when used correctly, can increase the amount of interactivity for more effective and exciting learning.

That said, the challenges companies and institutions using a learning management system (LMS) often face in integrating web 2.0 technologies in their courseware are numerous. Although both training and educational courses can benefit greatly from incorporating such tools into their programs, the interruptions and distractions often prevent them from being very effective.

Blogs, social networks, discussion boards, wikis, VoIP technology (Skype et al) and podcasts are just a few great tools that more organizations and schools are incorporating into their online learning programs.

It’s a big web 2.0 world with great potentiality for interaction between students and trainees. However, distractions like advertisements are just one downside–especially for schools. When choosing which web 2.0 tools to implement in your online course or training program, choose tools that respect your users. Ads like those used on MySpace are an unfortunate aspect of many social networking and other sites. On MySpace’s login page, for example, it’s nearly impossible to locate the login box in the sea of hypnotically moving ads. But sites like Google and Facebook allow only less aggressive advertisements.

One might argue that difficult economic times make such obtrusive ads more permissible. However, not everyone does it. Companies like Google embody the spirit of user respect and ingenuity, proving that it isn’t necessary to resort to big, obnoxious ads. How does Facebook do it? Creatively, and soliciting the voluntary action of its users.

Facebook uses what it calls “engagement ads” to invite users to comment on videos, attend an event, or send a virtual gift. For instance, last year on election day, Ben & Jerry’s bought an ad that allowed users to send a virtual ice cream cone to their friends, advertising its offer of a real cone to anyone who voted. The ingenuity of social networking sites is the voluntary activity they prompt, and advertising is no exception on Facebook.

Distractions aside, most web 2.0 tools allow learning management system users to have a more interactive and dynamic learning experience.

An LMS offers a host of functions to organize employee and student learning experiences, all without having to pay for gas. And whether it’s in real space or cyberspace, most people would agree that speech is much preferred to typing. An LMS can be integrated with social software programs to give employees a virtual space for collaboration and training practice.

Speech synthesis programs like text-to-speech (TTS) and speech recognition programs are another exciting development to watch unfold. The quality of TTS continues to outshine speech recognition, but recent advancements in speech recognition technologies such as Google’s show a lot of promise. Of course, a functional TTS program is invaluable in meeting the needs of visually impaired learning management system users. But the ability to hear any text that appears on one’s screen is an incredible tool not only for the visually impaired, but for all students.

Speech recognition, however, is the newest hot topic with Google’s newly announced plan to combine Google Voice with Google Translate. Imagine a world in which English abilities are not the be-all and end-all in order to communicate with fellow trainees and students across oceans. Being able to talk seamlessly with people from other countries is an exciting prospect indeed, not only for the development of web 2.0 tools, learning management systems, and online education, but for greater global cooperation on a whole.

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