The debate was an interesting one and where one individual raised the comparison with the software market – where great programs like Open-office etc are available free.
So having reflected I wondered if this could work for the training and consultancy fields.
Open source – would it work for training materials?
Then as people take and add to it they also make their additions (not usually deleting anything previously added) available to the world – often they bundle it with their product – generating an income stream.
So if the same were to happen in T&D…
Person A would create an outline
Person b would add some content and then publish
Person c would add more content.. etc.
It seems that many in our field are happy to take and add – but few prepared to put back into the public domain again for further development.
So if we want to do this we need to be more open – are we willing to do that? Where would the publishing space be?
Would users honestly include a page of contributors at the back of their handouts – in the same way this is often embedded in software? Recognition of contribution seems to be important in the software model – so why not for a training model.
Training – a commodity market place
As we become a more commodity based market this is not a bad idea – but it needs to start somewhere… ultimately though this will impact on professional products.
For example – on a thread on another forum recently there was a discussion about mind-map/ concept mapping software. Several people said ‘why buy when you can get free versions?’.. the reality is that someone somewhere has to put time in – they cannot do it as a charity.
The fact that the paid for products were better seemed to be missed by a population that has learnt that just because material is free why pay.. Its like having a website – why pay for hosting when you can have a free site – all be it with adverts for stuff you do not own – and reasons for people to leave your site! Buy hey it is free.
One of the barriers we have is use of ‘proprietary’ models. For an open source approach we would need to re-engineer much of what we use. Could we persuade some of the ‘old school’ like Peter Honey, Pedler, Kolb, etc to ally use of their models if appropriate copyright was attributed?
May be access to existing theories may well be one of the limitations of such a system, unless this issue can be overcome, in a way which engages original thinkers and current authors.
The ‘open source’ market is a good idea but we all need to realise the implications. Will this be started in the UK, US, AU or some other part of the world first?
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