Growth Cycles of Exponentially Advancing Technologies in Learning Management Systems

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There is a business life cycle and a technology life cycle, and the two are similar and interrelated. In this LMScast Joshua Millage and Christopher Badgett discuss growth cycles of exponentially advancing technologies in learning management systems, and their significance to eLearning.

In a previous LMScast we talked about exponential education entrepreneurship based on concepts presented in the book, BOLD, by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler. Those concepts apply to technology as well as business.

You probably already understand the classic business innovation life cycle involving innovators, early adopters, early majority, and latecomers. The life cycle for exponentially growing technology is very similar and advances in six basic stages as outlined by Steven Kotler:

  • Digitalization
  • Disruption
  • Deception
  • Demonetization
  • Dematerialization
  • Democratization

Technology becomes exponential when it becomes digitalized. There are no boundaries to scalability or accessibility at that point. What this means to eLearning is that you can construct an entire learning environment and interactive student community online. This is a disruptive technology in that it bypasses the necessity for a conventional campus, which dematerializes and democratizes development and availability.

Exponentially advancing technologies have also demonetized eLearning by making it possible for you to create and share your online courses using a web host, a WordPress installation, and a learning management system like LifterLMS. In comparison to traditional education, your costs are extremely minimal, thus your courses can be affordable and accessible to a much broader global customer base.

The concept of deception includes the hype around a new technology, which prevents many people from becoming early adopters. However new eLearning appears to be, it has essentially passed through this phase and has proven to be viable, sustainable, and profitable.

One thing that remains consistent is the basic human need for connection to and communication with others, and online learning environments fill that need better than ever. Exponential communication platforms like Twitter and other social media platforms have demonstrated this.

Online learning management systems offer you the opportunity to create and shape the quality learning experience you want your students to have, with any level of interaction you choose to engage in, and to profit from sharing your knowledge and expertise.

The LifterLMS course development platform is designed to help you build your courses based on the growth cycles of exponentially advancing technologies in learning management systems. You can try a demo of LifterLMS and see for yourself what it can do for you.

Remember that you can post comments and also subscribe to our newsletter for updates, developments, and future episodes of LMScast. Thank you for joining us.

And if you’re an already successful expert, teacher or entrepreneur looking to grow, check out the LifterLMS team’s signature service called Boost. It’s a complete done for you set up service where your learning platform goes live in just 5 days.

Episode Transcript

Joshua: Hello, Everyone. Welcome back. It is Joshua Millage and Chris Badgett with another episode of LMScast. Today we’re talking about growth cycles of exponentially advancing technology in learning management systems. That sounds fancy, Chris. What are we talking about? Let’s dig into it.

Chris: This is kind of a segue from our previous episode about exponential education entrepreneurship, but we’re going to get a little more into the nitty gritty of the technology, exponentially advancing technology, or accelerating technology, in the context of learning management systems.

Joshua: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris: This is also built off of the work of Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler’s work. They create a lot of content around these ideas of exponentially growing technology. I think to start off, I think it’s important to talk about the diffusion of life cycle of innovation in the context of business, because that’s a classic one. If you understand that, then it’s easier to get into where we’re going to go here. That’s just, to simply put it, when a business comes online, it’s not going to be around forever, per se. There’s a life cycle to a business. The beginning, you have innovators and early adopters, then early majority, late majority, laggards.

Joshua: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris: There’s kind of a natural bell curve that you see in certain businesses. That’s an example of a business over time.

Joshua: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris: If we look into exponentially growing technology, there’s a similar sort of life cycle. Steven Kotler provides us with six words that all start with the letter D to help see how technology advances into the category of exponential technology. The first is digitalization. That’s when the technology becomes exponential once it becomes digitalized. In our context with learning management systems, it’s pretty straight forward that you can now teach and learn and have community online in the digital world.

Joshua: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah, and it doesn’t have to require any sort of in-person interaction.

Chris: Yeah, and it’s scalable. As soon as you go digital there, you’ve got that scalability factor.

Joshua: Yeah.

Chris: That’s the E in front of learning. I mean, it’s … We’ve had those tools for a while.

Joshua: Yeah, one other thing I want to add there is that, and maybe this is in one of the D’s that I don’t know about, so I apologize if I hopscotch, but the cost associated with the technology. For us, the old way of teaching required a classroom, which required lots of money and lots of time and resource to get that put together. Now it doesn’t. A shared hosting plan and a WordPress, not that I would recommend shared hosting, but you could get a WordPress install up and going pretty quickly, and install a learning management system, and you’d be off to the races.

Chris: That’s demonetization.

Joshua: So, I am hopscotching.

Chris: Yeah, which is good.

Joshua: Because I have some coffee here, that’s why.

Chris: Yeah. The classic example of demonetization, like you mentioned in education, is right there. The thing about a college education and computer science versus what’s happening in places like Team Treehouse or other places where you learn how to code or people are using WordPress sites to sell their coding knowledge and that sort of thing.

Joshua: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris: It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to pull all the money out, but at the very end, like now, where we don’t buy film for our cameras anymore, most people don’t, it’s pretty much demonetized pictures, right?

Joshua: Right.

Chris: Once you have the camera, they’re free.

Joshua: Right.

Chris: You don’t even need the camera anymore. You can do it with your phone.

Joshua: Right.

Chris: The next one is deception.

Joshua: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris: These technologies get introduced, and it takes a while for them to get up to speed. There’s all this hype in the beginning, and they fall into this deceptive period, and people kind of dismiss them. So there’s that famous quote, “First they laugh at you, then they ignore you, then they love you,” whatever it is.

Joshua: Yeah.

Chris: I could see that. I remember … This is just … I have a background in anthropology. I remember one of my cohorts doing his senior presentation on online culture, and this is going to date my age, but this was in 2001. I didn’t get it. I didn’t think there would be online … It just didn’t make sense that people would form groups and behave in an anthropological or sociological way online, but he was so ahead of his time. I was like, “wow, that’s amazing,” looking back.

Joshua: Yeah.

Chris: But I had some doubt, or I didn’t understand where he was coming from. We’ve seen this with robotics and artificial intelligence and all kinds of things.

Joshua: Yeah, we underestimate these things, and then all of a sudden, they’re ubiquitous, and they’re everywhere in our lives.

Chris: Yeah, and I can see that with learning management systems. Some of it’s deceptive, like right now we’re with the innovators and the early adopters.

Joshua: Right.

Chris: A lot of teachers are … “No, I don’t want to do technology,” or some entrepreneurs or subject matter experts, they don’t have the clarity yet to be able to teach and bring their material online on a global scale. They don’t believe it yet.

Joshua: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris: So that’s that deceptive …

Joshua: Yeah, absolutely. I think it’s really important to recognize the deception there, and for personal motivation, to keep on charging when you feel that conviction to share what you have to share online. I think you come across the resistance at one point or another in your journey as an online education entrepreneur, or just a teacher in general. It’s like, “Is my information valuable? Will people buy it?” You go through the deception. You could hear a stat like that and use it as fodder for your cannon in terms of killing your project and nixing it. I think consistency is important. There is some things as we’re talking about this that don’t go out of style, and human connection’s that. Reaching out, like cold, and reaching out to people and asking them, “Hey, come and check this out over here that I’m working on.”

I’ve done that a lot recently with Twitter, which is leveraging an exponential communication platform, but utilizing it to find people who are interested in the things that I’m interested in, and then connecting with them and engaging them at quantity, at scale, knowing that not everyone’s going to respond, but the people that do respond, then I’m hyper-human. I should coin that term, hyper-human. I just interact. I act like the Twitter becomes a text message at that point, and I’m text messaging a friend. Yeah, so that’s … Just to springboard off that a little bit.

Chris: Absolutely. Another D is disruption, so that is where technology plays a role in subverting an established industry or industries. Clearly, with learning management systems, when a professor or a subject matter expert of some kind comes online, it can be very disruptive.

Joshua: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris: Really, the computer science industry, especially in the realm of learning how to code, does not happen through the traditional system anymore. It’s been disrupted. Those folks in that niche are kind of leading the charge, whereas there’s some other industries that are late to come online. For example, that’s one of the reasons why my wife and I went into the gardening education, because it’s not as far ahead as learning how to program.

Joshua: Right.

Chris: There’s that disruptive quality to exponential technology in the same way that the digital camera disrupted the film analogue SLR cameras.

Joshua: Yeah, that’s a great point. Sometimes you hit these break points in technology where everything shifts. Now you can’t even buy film. It’s crazy.

Chris: Yeah, and you almost didn’t even notice it happen.

Joshua: No.

Chris: It just sort of disappeared.

Joshua: Yeah.

Chris: Just that’s what happened, and it got free, and we didn’t even really notice that either.

Joshua: Yeah, back in 2002, 2001, I was studying photography in England and Scotland, and I was I think the last class that learned how to shoot photos on Chromes, which are basically, they look like slides, but it’s a way to get really high quality photos. You scan those chromes and digitize them afterwards. I was at this weird shift of moving … Still shooting analogue, but then taking it digital, and we took it through this ice scanner that used infrared light to eliminate the dust on the scan. I mean, it was just … Looking back, it was crazy. I have a more powerful camera in my phone than I did when I took that class with the $2,000 camera I bought. I also have more processing power in my phone than I did in the laptop I took to school in ’06.

Chris: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Joshua: It’s crazy.

Chris: Yeah, it’s wild.

Joshua: It happened so fast. Like you said, we don’t even notice, too.

Chris: The pace is accelerating. That’s the exponential part. Then the next one is dematerialization. That’s an example of like you were just saying, with your phone, there’s all these other things that no longer exist. You don’t have a Walkman or a cassette or a CD player. It’s all just in the phone.

Joshua: Yeah.

Chris: You don’t have a separate camera. There’s these things that are becoming dematerialized.

Joshua: Right.

Chris: That’s why we’re big proponents here when we talk about online education and learning management systems that it’s important not to get too focused on getting things too cluttered. Really, it’s an opportunity to curate, simplify, get to the high impact stuff, focus on the learning experience more than all the stuff you can cram behind a paywall or whatever.

Joshua: Yeah.

Chris: That’s that dematerialization part. What we’re saying is you don’t have to go get some real estate and several million dollars to build a school. You can do it with our WordPress plugin and a hosting account. That’s much more less dematerialized. That’s not saying that those other things aren’t important and don’t have their place in society where we are right now, but there is a disruption that also plays out in dematerializing things.

Joshua: Yeah, and a huge opportunity in all that. I love it. That’s cool.

Chris: Well, I’m onto the last one here which is democratization.

Joshua: Okay. Which is a word we like to throw around.

Chris: Yeah. I like … The best way to understand democratization in terms of technology, especially in what we do is, I like it how Matt Mullenweg said a long time ago that the purpose of WordPress was to democratize publishing.

Joshua: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris: What that means is anybody can become a media outlet. We’ve seen small blogs get huge.

Joshua: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris: There’s other people’s blogs who don’t make it, but that’s the open, fair market, competitive thing, or whatever.

Joshua: Right.

Chris: What we’re doing is we’re in a space where in online education and learning management systems, we’re want to democratize online education, so empower other education entrepreneurs to have the tools, that you don’t need to start a school or get accredited or whatever. If you’re ready just to teach. Put it out there, see if the market, if you can reach them first …

Joshua: Yeah.

Chris: … And second, see if you’ve got a good fit.

Joshua: Yeah. That’s a great point. When the cost goes to the bottom of the barrel, when it comes to building the stuff, things can get really interesting really fast. I think it comes back to then you just have who’s quality, what does quality look like? Like I had a friend ask me one time, he’s like, “How does Bill Gates or Warren Buffet value a pair of jeans?” It’s an interesting idea, because it’s like well, to them, they’re not going to know the difference between a $20 pair of jeans and a $400 pair of jeans in their bank account. They’re not going to feel that, so what are they actually looking at? What’s the value? You can kind of apply that to this. It’s like, now that everyone has access to the … Everyone can buy expensive jeans or cheap jeans. Which one of those are they going to buy? Well, they’re going to value things differently. They’re probably going to buy things like the story.

The person that has the ability to create a course on basket weaving who’s in some sort of culture where that’s huge, versus someone who’s the world’s best basket weaver. The cost of trying both courses is low, or relatively low. Of course, they could price them high, but the cost of building them is low. It just allows you to get experimental, allows you to not have that cost barrier and value things differently. I think democratization is pretty interesting when it’s applied to education, because now the guy who is the genius in the backwoods of Kentucky can actually distribute his knowledge out there and have impact.

Chris: Lovely.

Joshua: Yeah. Very true. Cool, so that’s the six D’s.

Chris: That’s it. If you want to see the article that we’re referencing, head on over to and you can just also just Google Steven Kotler’s six D’s of exponential technology, and you’ll find that article. It’s a great article, well worth the read. If you’re listening to this on iTunes, I’d encourage you to Google Steven Kotler. You’ll find a lot of great information if you’re into this kind of thing about exponential growth.

Yeah, thank you and good luck with your online course project, your learning management system project, and there’s never been a better time.

Joshua: Right on. All right. Until next week, we’ll talk to you soon.

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