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Posts Tagged ‘skype

In Singapore’s foodie culture, a crowd or queue is a sign of good eat. Following the crowd might be a good chance to take.

I read the article embedded in this tweet and was reminded why it is not always wise to do what everyone else is doing.

Microsoft’s Skype found out the hard way that following the social app crowd is not a good thing. Instead of leveraging on its strengths or developing something new, it tried mimicking Snapchat. Some users responded by giving Skype paltry ratings at app stores.

I suggest three takeaways that apply to educational technology integration, instructional design, and app development.

Do different
Going with the flow takes less effort than swimming against the current, so this might make sense in the development of curricula, course elements, and applications. However, this might be like doing the same thing as everyone else or doing the same thing differently.

Are you just delivering content and attempting to engage instead of designing to challenge and empower users? Doing the latter is more difficult, but this might be more worthwhile in the long run.

Sense accurately
According to the article, Skype Corporate VP Amritansh Raghav said that the new features of Skype were requested by users. Whether you are head of ICT or lead designer, you cannot listen only to your noisiest stakeholders because they might be a vocal minority.

You may chose to make data-informed decisions, but you need to know how accurate your sensing tools are and if the data are biased.

Needs, not wants
In 1989, Steve Jobs famously declared that the user is fickle [source].

You can’t just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they’ll want something new.

Jobs relied more on his intuition than market research. Since most of us are not like Jobs, what can we do?

I say we give the user — or in education, the learner — what they need, not what they want. Being learner-centred does not mean pandering to their desires. It means being focused on their needs and future, not our hangups and past.

One more thing…
The author of the article did not like the garish colour scheme of new Skype. There is an easy solution: Opt for the dark, monotone one in settings.

Every semester, I set aside time to meet my teacher trainees online during e-learning week. Reason? It is just good teaching sense to be available!

So I make myself contactable by Skype early in the semester, and sometimes after they have experienced Second Life later in the semester, I also offer to meet in the MUVE.

I rarely have any takers as it is an optional activity. Those that do take the trouble to meet me have real reasons to do it and they are thankful for that lifeline in cyberspace.

This semester I experienced something I did not expect. I did not plan on chatting via Facebook, but I did so simply because those folks were online and had questions.

I thought this was a bit curious considering my initial survey of them informed me that practically ALL of them were comfortable with instant messaging. About 70-80% of them had Facebook accounts but I wasn’t about to suggest that those who didn’t get one for the sake of the course.

I reasoned that Skype was something extra to sign up for and install. However, chat was not only built into Facebook, it was Web-based and my trainees already had a Facebook window open! I guess the only obstacle is the fact that they would have to “friend” me and that would make me privy to whatever else they shared on that platform.

I’ll have to think about whether to offer Facebook chats as an option next semester.

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