Web 3.0 Fact or Fiction

Web 3.0 Fact or Fiction

Five Years Ago, It Was Fiction. Today, It’s Fact – And Organizations Are Finding It More Popular And Accepted by the Day. Most learning organizations have not even completely implemented Web 2.0, so why are we asking about their plans for Web 3.0? What is Web 3.0 anyway? Our goal in a proprietary survey undertook earlier this year was to look at trends around Web 3.0 and e-learning. We did screen out a small number of respondents who were not using social networking or collaboration technologies, but because the Elearning! magazine audience tend to be more on the leading/bleeding edge with technology, this was only a small percentage. WEB 1.0, 2.0 AND 3.0 In any survey of this kind, definitions are important. Here are the survey definitions for Web 1.0 through Web 3.0: Web 1.0 – Organizations publishing content to people to inform them. In learning, this would be best illustrated by an instructor- led classroom, where students absorb what is pushed to them. Web 2.0 – People publishing to each other to inform, work and socialize with one another. In learning, this would best be illustrated by a dispersed team collaborating on projects via social networks, group workspaces and/or communities of practices. Web 3.0 – People and machines publishing to — and interacting with — each other to inform and augment each other’s work. In learning, this could be a learner who is recommended courses or solutions by the system for work or browsing he may have conducted. The content presented to the learner could be augmented with multiple layers of content — mobile application with location based information augmenting a map. ENGAGED INNOVATORS Almost 1/3 of those responding to the survey are in the category of HR, training, performance, development VP, director, manager/non-manager. Twenty-one percent are consultants. The rest are scattered across a variety of roles. From other
answers, we believe that many of the consultants are engaged in implementing Web 2.0 or Web 3.0 e-learning systems in a variety of industries. “Financial/Insurance/Banking/Real Estate” and “Software/Web Development Services” are the two most popular industries to respond. About 16 percent of the respondents are in the public sector (nonprofit, government). The e-learning audience seems to have a high percentage of early adopters, innovators and technophiles. Sixty-one percent see themselves as “expert” or “power” users, and 56 percent see themselves as “innovators” or “early adopters.” Thirty nine percent say they are “somewhat sophisticated,” embracing Web 2.0 social communities for learning. Data from a 2010 study of Elearning! magazine’s readers found that 67 percent used social networking and collaboration tools for business, a rate that has increased to 83 percent in 2011. This trend is supported by additional data showing that 10 percent of those surveyed used social networks only for personal use last year; this year, that number drops to 6 percent. More data to support this trend: last year, 23 percent were planning to use social networking and collaboration technologies; this year, it’s 11 percent. MOVING FROM 2.0 TO 3.0 The first part of this year’s survey looked at current use of Web 2.0 technologies. Seventy-two percent of those surveyed own notebook computers; 59 percent own smartphones; only 20 percent own iPads or tablets. Fifty-two percent use social networking and collaboration tools for both business and personal use, including: >>social networks (70%) >>wikis, blogs and forums (71%) >>podcasts or video podcasts (62%) >>shared workspaces (Social Text or SharePoint) 61% >>shared video media (YouTube) 56% These Web 2.0 tools are used most often to find new information, connect with colleagues, and keep track of interesting people or topics. Seventy percent of survey respondents believe that their investment in Web 2.0 technologies is valuable. Sixty-one percent of organizations surveyed claim to have implemented Web 1.0 well, while 37 percent claim to have implemented Web 2.0 well. Both of these results are no surprise, but what is surprising is that 30 percent already believe that they have done a good job of implementing Web 3.0. INFLUENCE OF WEB 3.0 ON TECHNOLOGY Even if Web 3.0 (by the survey definition) is not yet here, 77 percent of those surveyed see Web 3.0 as “the intelligent Web,” which includes “the semantic Web” and natural language search. Location awareness and recommendation engines are also popularly believed to be part of Web 3.0. Fifty-five percent say that they increased collaboration through Web 2.0 implementation. In terms of specific technologies being used, simulations, multi-player games, mobile learning and personalized learning portals were most popular. Most organizations believe that they can find what they are looking for on the first search, but personalized learning content is still not as prevalent as many would like it to be. Learning from multiple resources and having a learning history, publishing user content to company training sites, and focusing learning or IT resources on Web 3.0 still have a long way to go, with only 30 percent to 40 percent of organizations doing well. Sixty-three percent feel that the biggest benefit from Web 3.0 is the ability to filter and personalize search results. The ability to interact with more types of Web content and search using natural language were seen as the second- and third biggest benefits. WHO OWNS 3.0? In our 2009 study on social networks in the enterprise, we asked, “Who owns the budget for those technologies?” It was no surprise when both I.T. and C-suite said they owned social networking. As the technology becomes better understood by management, there is a greater chance that the C-suite will own the budget, but until then the ball is in I.T.’s court. This is no different with Web 3.0, which most management teams don’t yet value and understand, 45 percent feel I.T. owns the initiative and 41 percent feel IT owns the budget. The C-suite is a distant second at 12 percent for owning the initiative and 18 percent for owning the budget. In the 2009 study, we found that social networks arose organically about 25 percent of the time. For Web 3.0, the survey respondents believe that no one owned Web 3.0, and 21 percent feel it was growing organically. Another issue around ownership is around identity and search. Thirty-one percent are concerned that “liking” or “tweeting” is an invasion of privacy, while 30 percent are okay with it, as long as it adds to their Web experience. WEB 3.0 AND E-LEARNING Being innovators and early adopters, 73 percent feel Web 3.0 will have an impact (some or a lot) on how education and training is delivered at their company. Some of the reasons given for this improvement are: wider use by employees, better collaboration, smarter search, more personalized and flexible technology, better support for distance learning, better student engagement, better support for mobile learning, the ability of learning to be embedded in work processes, and help with both thinking and content curation, as well as lowering costs. Eighty-eight percent of those surveyed do not see Web 3.0 as real until 2015, and
this is supported by the fact that only 23 percent currently believe that Web 3.0 is having a high impact on learning. The biggest barriers to Web 3.0 are time, budget
and resource constraints. Sixty-four percent feel that the adoption of learning and
workspace technologies are a barrier, and 37 percent still have security concerns. Sixty-eight percent are either using or plan to use a personalized learning portal or mobile learning apps within the next 24 months. Sixty-three percent are using or plan to use simulations and smart search. However, the idea of a virtual assistant
(either software like Siri or Monica or a live person) is a part of Web 3.0 that has yet to catch on with 64 percent currently having no plans for a virtual assistant and only 18 percent claimed to be using a virtual assistant. The same is true for some other Web 3.0 technologies: 76 percent have no plans for augmented reality, and 73 percent have no plans for 3-D immersive learning. SUMMARY Whether or not Web 3.0 is a reality, almost a third of the Elearning! survey respondents were already trying to implement aspects of it. Much of the time it was either through I.T. or software and application consultants with expertise in these kinds of technologies or elearning. One of the reasons we saw I.T. as having a large role in Web 3.0 is because of all of the different types of integration needed, as well as access to enterprise data. We also don’t believe most management teams understand what Web 3.0 is, so have left it as a technical issue to I.T. We believe that control of these initiatives will shift to the C-suite as their understanding of the technologies and their effects on the enterprise increase. Most of those responding had good adoption of collaboration and social networking technologies, which was not the case in our 2009 study, so adoption of Web 2.0 technologies in the enterprise has been very high over the last two years. We see Web 3.0 as a similar case, with less than 1/3 currently adopting these technologies. Most of those surveyed believe it will be another three years before Web 3.0 has an impact on e-learning and their organizations. We believe as more mobile devices are available and become more sophisticated that mobile and any-time learning will start to drive more adoption and become a hallmark of high-performance organizations. Web 3.0 adoption is also dependent on a number of trends like: the increasing use of video; the importance of collaboration; lower costs of storage; more sophisticated cloud topologies; social search; and location-based technologies. All will affect both the adoption rate of Web 3.0 as well as its use in e-learning. —David Coleman is a regular contributor to Elearning! magazine. He is on the advisory board for the upcoming ELCE conference, where he will be presenting the results of the Web 3.0 study in more detail. Reach him at: davidc@collaborate.com, on Twitter @dcoleman100, or by phone at (650) 342-9197.

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