Column: Pithy Bites
Author: Paul Saunders, Global Product Manager, Flatirons SolutionsSubscribe
In August 1973, a botched attempt to rob a bank in central Stockholm resulted in a hostage situation and a stand-off between armed robbers and the police. After six days, the robbers were subdued and the incident ended without anybody being seriously hurt. Despite enduring an ordeal, which included death threats and physical violence, the hostages claimed they were more frightened by the police and their potential actions than they were of their captors. In fact, some of the hostages went on to keep in contact with one of the robbers and even testified in his defence at his trial. The reaction of the hostages generated quite a lot of academic interest and ultimately resulted in the term ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ being coined to describe the phenomenon where hostages have positive feelings towards their captors.
Despite the seemingly irrational nature of this condition, Stockholm Syndrome is more common than you might imagine. The FBI in the United States estimates that around 8% of hostage victims show evidence of Stockholm Syndrome which is brought about through traumatic bonding or mistaking a lack of abuse for an act of kindness.
“What’s this all got to do with IT?” you may rightfully ask.
Have you ever noticed how some victims of legacy software cling to the vestiges of what made the old system better than the new system? Have you ever found it amazing that legacy software hostages, after years of abuse by a user experience that had no respect for their sanity, are deluded into thinking that they were happier before the replacement system was implemented? If so, then you may have encountered sufferers of Software Stockholm Syndrome.
The Battle for no-man’s land on your Device
When was the last time you checked how much storage space you had left on your electronic device? How often do you curse at having to delete your favourite episode of Breaking Bad in order to download the latest revision of a manual? Thanks to Moore’s Law applying to memory capacity as well as to processor speed, those days may well be numbered. There’s a strong chance that your next device might well have enough storage space to allow all of your media and business apps on the same device. If that’s the case and there is some unused storage left over, then some of your smarter business systems guys will be looking for opportunities to claim that ‘no-man’s land’: the unused storage on your device.
My money’s on eLearning and Training apps to fill that space. Think about it: How many days a year do you spend outside of your normal work environment in the classroom? How much money would an airline save by keeping you and your colleagues flying? I’m not just thinking about the direct cost of you attending the course, but the lost productivity time. That’s not to mention the benefits to be gained by allowing you to learn at your own pace, in an environment and at a time of your choosing. A number of studies have shown eLearning methods to be more effective in terms of knowledge retention and application when compared to more traditional means of instructor led training. The same innovations and creativity that have been applied to app development are being used in instructional design and development, leading to more imaginative and engaging training content than ever before. With emerging technologies like augmented and virtual reality being prototyped for eLearning, there might even be the chance in the future to spend time in the simulator whilst you’re flying a sector.
Now that would be progress… or at least that’s how I see IT.