TILT (Today I Learnt That) is a concept I still love.  I thought we’d done it right, used a panel of clinicians to pilot the idea, when that went well we built it.  I think it’s fair to say that it has failed, but after looking over it again after a few months of inaction I’m still enthusiastic about TILT.

The basic premise of TILT is that you record anything you’ve recently learnt (clinically).  As well as being a record of learning (useful for revalidation in the UK) it was also shared with the wider community.  The community could learn from your endeavours.  If you read someone else’s learning a simple click of a button added it to your own portfolio.  In many ways it’s like a twitter meets shared learning.

But why has it failed? I think the reasons are numerous:

  • It was over-complicated!  KISS (Keep it simple stupid) – I should have known.  As well as the core concept (which we piloted) we added a few extra layers e.g. the ability to follow other users, the ability to create groups.  I also think the input fields could have been perceived as daunting.  Although optional we had/have fields for tags, time spent learning, reflections etc.  
  • Availability of TILT.  Basically it was on the website and we also allowed people to automatically add content from twitter (by the addition of the #TILT hashtag).  But it needed to be easier for people to add TILTs – perhaps toolbars, bookmarklets, partnering with other sites to add TILT functionality. 
  • Design.  While I don’t think it’s bad, I feel it could be significantly improved upon.
  • Marketing.  Something TRIP isn’t great at and hence getting the word out didn’t really help.  In my naive mind I thought it’d be so good that word of mouth would see it diffuse.  However, this required it to be perfect which – in hindsight – it wasn’t.

To reiterate the concept it great and I still love it.  It’s a bottom-up form of learning – clinician’s read an academic paper (for instance) and distill what they’ve learnt into 2-3 sentences.  They only TILT when they’ve learnt something.  Brilliant.

To make it work I’m thinking the following would help:

  • Simplify.  Remove lots of the non-core bits (tags, groups, following etc.) while the site grows and worry about these when the site gets to a size that makes it an issue!  But build up the critical mass required first!
  • Availability. Better improve the integration with social media, create bookmarklets etc.  I also think re-writing the site in HTML5 would be great, making it work well on smartphones, tablets etc.
  • As part of the HTML5 work I’d be really tempted to improve how the site works and how people can use it.
  • Marketing – need I say anything about this!?

If anyone has any further thoughts feel free to share them!

UPDATE: I posted links to the blog on Twitter and the TRIP Facebook page and have received two comments so far:

  • “Is TILT still there? Is it still a feature? I never understood what it was or how to use it?” – A good one this, our inability to communicate clearly what TILT is and what we’re trying to acheive.
  • Make login mandatory” – less clear this one as you need to login to add a TILT.  But I guess if you were always logged in it’d be easier to use.  The comment also links to being logged into TRIP.
  • It is not clear what the value is for the user to use it. To my mind the value is one of being part of an altruistic community which makes learning easier.  Perhaps I’m too idealistic!