Apple Siri Poised to Change Performance Support Forever

Apple announced some major updates coming to macOS (formally OSX), iOS, tvOS and watchOS. While they announced many different new features coming this fall one stood out to me when it comes to learning and performance.

I am a developer but I am a developer in the learning realm. I am not an instructional designer but an eLearning developer with a web programming background. Because of this reason I have always been open to breaking free of standard eLearning tolls that seem to box us in the same kind of digital learning for every course.

For the most part it seems like the learning industry tends to be afraid of coding, they feel more comfortable with rapid eLearning tools that make it easy for you to create some online training, while these tools are great and have their place I don’t think they push forward the learning realm into really what it can do. Our learning tends to be a one size fits all kind of learning when we know that each person learns differently and we don’t try to adapt to a person’s preferred style of learning. I think we need to break free of that mindset and be open to working with developers that can help us create more engaging digital learning.

So with that in mind I am always looking for web development and mobile development trends that could apply to learning and Apple announced one that could change the way we think about performance support.

Siri Across All Platforms

By now we should all be familiar with Siri whether you are an iOS user or Android user you should at least know what it is. It is Apple’s virtual assistant that can send texts, look up information and do various other tasks for you. Apple this week announced that Siiri is coming to macOS coming this fall which is pretty big to be able to use that kind of virtual assistant on any device. I see Siri as the ultimate performance support assistant. I could be doing something and need to know how to do something or even do something in the moment, instead of pulling up an web browser and typing in my question I could simply ask Siri the question and she can deliver the answer I need in the moment so I can continue working in my app.

Siri SDK

Having Siri on the Mac will give me this kind of support on any of Apple’s devices and it good for standard information but what about information that is specific to your organization? The major break-through is not that I can now use Siri on my Mac but the fact that Apple has opened up Siri’s SDK to any developer. Wow, this means that I can program Siri to do specific tasks to my company app.

So let’s say you develop an app on macOS or iOS that has specific helpful information about your company and helps your employees with their job. Now you can program Siri to perform company specific tasks in the moment. So let’s say I need to fill out an expense form for getting reimbursed by my company and have the form pulled up but don’t know what each form field means. Imagine if you will, asking Siri “Hey Siri, what is the expense code for meals?” and then instantly Siri giving you the code! And that is just one example. Imagine I am editing a website and ask Siri “Hey Siri, how do I do a for loop in JavaScript” and instantly Siri shows you the code.

I know that may be a way’s off but I see that kind of support coming with developer’s ability to customize and extend Siri. If we can start doing this why don’t we explore that as a learning industry? Why don’t we break the trend of one size fits all courses and build apps that can adapt, expand and support learners in the moment that they need it. Yes it may take either learning how to code yourself or working with developers outside your normal development but I don’t think it is too far out of reach. What are your thoughts? How else can Siri be used in education?

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