After designing new courses and conducting multiple studies in 2010, I am terminating my older sites to aggregate all of my teaching and research here. If you’re intrigued by the terms transmedia (in addition to multimedia), mLearning (in addition to eLearning) and continuous partial attention (besides dedicated attention), this site may be of interest. Those who still claim “we really don’t know where all this technology is taking us” haven’t been closely following – or may not value – the empirical research of systematic and often predictable user trends that continue to evolve before our eyes and in the data. The different ways diverse audiences seek, select and share digital information are being analyzed by those interested in what’s coming in journalism and education.
In addition to Facebook‘s popularity, WordPress.com reported that six million new blogs were created in 2010 plus 23 billion page views, a 53% increase from 2010. According to Mashable, Twitter’s CEO Dick Costolo reported that 40% of all tweets in 2010 originated from mobile devices. That’s up from 20-25% in the previous year. It’s no mystery that we’re rapidly approaching the time when smart phones will represent nearly all mobile devices on the planet.
Looking ahead, Ann Mack at the J. Walker Thompson Company compiled “100 Things To Watch In 2011.” I identified at least 42 trends related to what I research and teach about digital information literacy, mobile devices and user behavior. Clearly, more personalized content through new social networks and mobile marketing is on the horizon plus increased interactivity with eBooks, mobile blogging, and video calling. All of these enhance content coherence for individuals who will use multiple resources to synthesize the multiple facets of daily life.
From using mobile devices to scan and purchase products to monitoring their health in real-time, users will also maintain vehicles and control washers, dryers and appliances remotely with their devices. At home, work and school, users will devote continuous partial attention to what they need and not to the distractions (or what I call cognitive kick-outs) for what they don’t need. In short, simultaneously combining personalization, interactivity and coherence with minimal kick-outs describes the P-I-C-K model for digital content. If information overload is the problem, efficient filtering is the only solution. Effectively communicating information is no longer just producing multimedia content, it’s combining the content so it can transcend media to communicate one coherent message. There’s a unique time and place for personalized text, interactive graphics, specific video, etc. Our research of effective Transmedia takes multimedia to the next level.
In education, online courses are becoming online universities and high schools with new tools for students and teachers to manage grades, tests, textbooks and instant messages. My blended classes require laptops for continuous interaction. Mobile devices and custom course apps support mLearning (or mobile learning) as I investigate when and how students seek and share different types of knowledge. This also informs the journalism industry, which can benefit from more applied research of mobile audiences and social media. Analyzing past trends of how society interacted with technology is important, but the competition journalists face from the ever increasing amounts of mobile users and digital content represent an unprecedented information environment of tomorrow that research can foresee today.