Coke v. Pepsi
I’ve always been a Pepsi guy, but for some reason, I was compelled this past weekend to really give Coke a chance (it’s actually not quite as harsh if you pour it out of the can). All my brand loyalty waffle reminded me of one of the great stories in Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink. When Pepsi started their advertising campaign promoting their superiority in blind taste tests, the fizzy wonks at Coke decided they needed to change their product in order to compete, resulting in the gargantuan disaster that was New Coke. This is why it’s currently called Coca-Cola Classic – they had to revert back to the old formula due to public outrage.
What Coke didn’t realize is that nobody drinks their soda under the same conditions as the taste tests were conducted – comparisons of sips from unmarked cups. The problem is nobody drinks sips of two different types of soda in the normal world. Additionally, all the associated emotions that come with your choice of soda are not taken into account. There’s a certain comfort that comes with certain brands – particularly ones as old as Coke.
Cole Camplese had a post a couple of weeks ago that reminded me of this issue of comfort. Students in his class had a negative reaction to the level of organization in the class, possibly because the course materials were placed on a blog instead of an LMS, or the class structure was more open and grounded in constructivism.
For all the talk by edu-theorists and edu-bloggers about open learning and constructivism/connectivism/whateverism, I wonder if the issue of discomfort will slow both learners and educators from moving in these directions. After all, it has taken nearly a decade for the LMS-based system for learning to gain widespread acceptance. God knows why, as I have found the Blackboard interface at USF to be terribly outdated and confusing. About two-thirds of the links lead to nothing, and categories are vague and frequently overlap. Yet when I look back at my graduate education, I’ll think fond thoughts about that useless dark green navigation bar on left hand side.