You know you’re getting older when you notice sentiment creeping in, uninvited, to your judgements. In today’s corporate e-learning world it’s ‘dog eat dog’ and, generally, there are no tears shed for those companies who fall behind.
However, one of the corporate e-learning industry’s longest serving companies – PeakDean Interactive – closed its doors recently and, in the current accepted tradition of the industry, instantly passed out of the industry’s collective consciousness. Its passing was unlamented and, indeed, probably generated some relief among its competitors who will not, now, have to ‘pitch’ against it ever again.
Yet it can easily be argued that there would have been no corporate e-learning industry in this country if it had not been for Christopher Dean – the ‘Dean’ of PeakDean – and his trusty partner, Quentin Whitlock. In the 1980s, these men wrote a seminal work – which formed at least one of the pillars on which the UK’s computer based training industry (as it was then) was based.
That book, like much of the US-originated theory and the UK forces’ experience that inspired it, has passed out of corporate memory. Few, now, will even recall Dean’s and Whitlock’s names, let alone remember them with any degree of industry awe or even recall them as ‘real people’.
The passing of PeakDean Interactive leaves Epic as, by far and away, the oldest surviving company on the UK e-learning scene. As the French used to say: ‘Le roi est mor. Vive le roi.’ Although it’s not encouraged in these revolutionary days, maybe those who are constantly knitting their e-learning courses around the corporate guillotine, could pause long enough to drop a swift but silent tear for the good old days.