iBook, iAuthors and the iTunesU from Apple, a great step towards changing the education system. For those who underestimated the announcement, this was a huge wake up call! Apple have been busy doing what they do best and that is innovating! Though targeted at schools and colleges and students right now, the impact that this could have on higher education companies, publishers, universities and colleges is mind boggling!
In one go, Apple has entered the eBook marketplace (taking on Amazon) in a big way, authoring tool space (Adobe must be really scratching their head with the free iAuthor) and into the realm of online education and learning (traditional companies that service the online colleges and universities and educational institutions as well). It would be interesting to track the share prices of some of the companies that are going to be impacted by the iBook, iAuthor and the iTunes.
It’s surprising how all the focus till now has only been on the impact these 3 Apps can make on the school and university level education. Think a little and you will be able to see the correlation these apps have with the eLearning industry.
- For content authors who work on Macs instead of PCs, you have a free authoring tool to create an interactive book or manual as opposed to using a paid authoring or epublishing tool.
- iAuthor may just prove to be the solution we are all looking for interactive learning courses on the iPad. If Apple’s lack of support for Flash means that we have to create courses for the iPad using HTML-based authoring tools, then perhaps this may a authoring tool which we must have in our skillsets in the future for an iWorld. Agreed that the initial Apple’s EULA (i.e. every piece created using iAuthor must be circulated through iBookstore) does not support the conventional client –vendor relationship. But if we step aside the legal ambiguity for a while and analyze it in terms of technical possibilities, it could be bang on. (Note: Apple has since backtracked on this but there are still some grey areas around the other ways to distribute the output created from iAuthor.)
- Also not all eLearning courses are custom designed for a client. Generic courses or vocational courses that apply to students who want to skill-up or employees/organizations/industries at large can be developed and sold through iTunesU. So iTunesU could be an alternative destination for interactive courses to be sold. I am sure eLearning catalog companies who have been building courses to run off their own LMS or client LMS (using SCORM standards) could have another potential revenue generator (and share some with Apple of course!). Again it does not fit with existing client-vendor models, but that’s what Apple is known for, revolutionizing existing models.
So, are iBook, iAuthors and the iTunesU all set to make that impact? Maybe not till, Apple has explored and substantially altered the education landscape. After all, the correlations pointed above are unintended by Apple as of now and they would certainly like to make necessary changes before officially targeting the online training industry. How soon will that be? Very soon is our bet!