Why people don’t use collaboration tools: “When faced with the choice of learning new technology and chatting to colleagues on the phone and email to get a job done, if it can be done with what they already know they will go with that; Collaboration tools work best when your collaborators are geographically distributed and in other time zones…”
In my experience with collaboration tools, I can comfortably say that 90% of my projects have failed (or not met my expectation). Collaborative tools often don’t work for two reasons: 1) we haven’t worked that way in the physical world (so it’s a social/change issue)…and 2) we balance time saved/time spent/value afforded when we approach new tools.
Many tools require a significant shift in work habits (which is always a barrier to adoption) and a high time investment to learn the functionality of the tool. Most people see technology as a tool that assists in the completion of specific tasks. Not everyone cares to blog, contribute to a wiki, podcast, read RSS feeds…blah, blah, blah. And they shouldn’t. The ed-tech space has become a complex, jargon-filled space. This really struck me recently as I began instructing an online course – I sent out my introductory email, and received a reply “What’s WebCT and how to I find it”. That’s reality for many. The digital skill divide will increasingly impact how we move froward with learning technology. If those of us who think we know what’s going on, don’t pause and see if anyone is following, we will quickly see our currently limited influence dwindle.