If you're on a business trip and you have to fly - think back to those days of yore when that meant that you would be out of touch for that time. I don't remember havign a lot of anxiety about it because we didn't kow anything else. You knew it was going to happen and you accepted it. Do that again. A couple of books (more are out there) address this - there is "The End of Absence" by Michael Harris and Sherry Turkle's "Alone Together." Truth be told, that's not even what this post about but I thought it was important since it's how I got the idea. Anyway....
I've always been interested in cyborgs. As far back in the distant past as 1995, I even got the chance to drop an article in a book called "The Cyborg Handbook." (you should all get An Illustrated Dictionary of Cyborg Anthropology by Amber Case if you haven't). My point in highlighting those works is that they both seek a more expansive view of cyborgs than we have traditionally thought of...I'd argue that the mobile phone has turned us all into Man/Machine combinations - cyborgs. That's cute and all but why does that matter?
It's important when we think about designing experiences for people using their mobile devices. This isn't just about screen size...we need to keep in mind that we're designing for something that people see as an extension of themselves. How you like some e-learning designed for and delivered in the most personal of spaces/devices? That's what phones are now. You have to respect that space very differently than you do a classroom or even a course delivered via a laptop. Appropriate and thoughtful use of that space though has HUGE potential.
I was reading an article in WIRED about how mobile phones had unlocked so many creative outlets (for good and ill). One thing that struck me was this idea that with mobile phones, we can essentially tap into an emotional infrastructure made up of all of our learners and their very personal relationships with their phones.
We need to think about how the dynamics that power such an onslaught of creativity on our mobile devices can be mimicked inside the enterprise. That's what people are really after when they say they want Facebook or Twitter inside the firewall....they want, enterprises are jealous of that storehouse of creativity and emotion that people tap into for all sorts of other things. To do that though, enterprises are going to have to ask themselves some hard questions.
People engage with those platforms in the same way they do with their mobile phones - with emotion and with a sense of ownership (there are many Flickrs but this one is mine). This isn't a technology question. These will be questions around how we organize our enterprises, how we determine and model corporate values, how we build relationships with our employees and our customers. These are very human questions - I hope we can find some very human answers.