Wikis, blogs, onlinebulletin boards helpChief Learning Officersembrace Web 2.0 as part oftheir learning strategy that isincreasingly welcomed by thelearners today. M-Learning or‘learning via mobile devices',be it smartphones or tablets,are the emergent mainstayfor functional training
The opportunities in learning are limitless today and the times are truly exciting for both the learner as well as L&D professionals
Learning at workplaces is seeing a new level of excite in the present day scenario with the plausible use of immersive video games with scripts such as those of ‘God of War’ or ‘Assassin’s Creed’, that will see a place for itself in modern day organizations - Gautam Bhushan, Head – Aircel Academy
I believe that learning today is in its most exciting and complex phase yet. There are a plethora of innovative learning methodologies and tools emerging to support needs of the new generation learners. The corporate executives of today are easily distracted, having low patience levels; demand instant gratification, thanks to the fast-paced work-environment and; now more than ever, rely on friends and peers via social networks for support and recommendations.
Organizations have, over a period of time, realized that ‘behavior change’ cannot happen as a result of an isolated learning incident, otherwise referred to as a ‘training program’ and learning now is increasingly being viewed as a process rather than an event. Training days, classroom delivery and power point presentations are so ‘last season’! Organizations are trading full day training programs with learning on demand in the form of small nuggets that are available to employees for just-in time learning. Problem-based learning, experiential and action learning have evolved to new levels. Add to this the right mix of ‘buddy programs’ and ‘field coaching’ along with an opportunity to reach out to your friends and network and voila - you now have a highly engaged learning environment!
At the fulcrum of the changing canvass of learning methodologies, is surely the rapid leap in technology that we have witnessed and continue to witness. It plays a critical role in delivering structured learning on demand as well as collaborative user-generated knowledge building content. CISCO’s ‘Show and Share’ is an illustration of a technology application that can be used in learning to create a secure video community that allows trainers to record their own videos and make them available for learners to access at their own time and pace; peers to collaborate in skill building by posting, annotating and commenting on videos and; training managers to view and generate reports on learning statistics.
Likewise, in today’s learning environment, collaborative knowledge-sharing and cloud-based systems are critical to leverage the learners’ comfort with social networking, collaboration and communication.
Wikis, blogs, online bulletin boards help CLOs (Chief Learning Officers) embrace Web 2.0 as part of their learning strategy that is welcomed by the learners today.
M-Learning or learning via mobile devices, be it smartphones or tablets, are the emergent mainstay for functional training. This is of value to the employee on the move, busy executives, telecommuters, and pretty much everyone in the spectrum. There is a great buzz around learning apps available for the iPAD and Android devices. The power of M-Learning has been heightened by easy access of mobile 3G services, making available video-based learning and interactive quizzes on the go.
Given this scenario, it would be fair to ask: What about the traditional way of learning? What does the future hold for ILT (Instructor-led training) or experiential learning as we knew it? Interestingly, what technology has done is that it has allowed for a far more creative and learner centric design to emerge, which provides for distinct elements of the learning need to get their own unique treatment. It has enhanced, rather than diminished, the role of the more traditional methodologies. However, one thing is clear – the role of the Instructional Designer, which was primarily understood best by eLearning organizations of a different era, will now gain far greater significance as design will be playing a key role in achieving the business outcomes that learning sets out to achieve.
Let us take a look at some traditional methodologies that are creating a buzz and are likely to gain a lot of momentum as tools for learning and development in the future.
Imagine a workshop on ‘Appraising Performance’ or even better ‘Managing Change’ through the use of performing arts or corporate theatre. Sounds strange? Not really. Organizations are increasingly using this medium as learning through visual memory and associative recall is long lasting.
Most of us have grown up listening to or reading stories. Apart from forming strong bonds with the storytellers, they have also shaped our thoughts and beliefs. Story-telling is being used as a powerful tool with the objective of introducing and embedding the values within an organization. These can be in the form of new stories set in contemporary times or more interestingly, familiar folk lore and mythology that is analyzed and contextualized to modern day corporates.
My personal favorite is the use of comic books in learning. The humor and creative pull of comic books is unsurpassed by any other medium. Publications such as SmarterComics, are changing the entire delivery mechanism of learning with their comic book adaptations of bestselling business books. Daniel Margolis in his very recent article ‘Comic Books Become Learning Delivery Superpower’ in Chief Learning Officer says, “If written and presented correctly, comic books can impart business learning in a way that aids absorption and retention of content”. SmarterComics emphasizes how a comic version of important books is the perfect solution for people on the go, helping them learn and simultaneously, save their time.
So where do we go from here? As Niels Bohr said, “Prediction is very difficult, especially if it is about the future.” Coming back to the role of technology, another very exciting development is that of alternate reality learning games as a powerful tool for learning. An Educause whitepaper describes Alternate Reality Games (ARGs) as games that “weave together real-world artefacts with clues and puzzles hidden online to create an engaging, collective experience for players.”
ARGs, according to Educause, are not computer or video games, though electronic devices such as computers, cell phones, and GPS-enabled handhelds are frequently used to access clues. ARGs are not role-playing games, in that players generally function as themselves in a real-world environment. Clues and pieces of the puzzle can be anywhere - websites, libraries, museums, stores, signs, recorded telephone messages, movies, television programs, or printed materials. So, in that sense, ARG’s allow the learners to research, collaborate, use multiple resources and media to find solutions, skilling them with problem solving and decision making - qualities vital in their roles in the corporate world.
Beyond this, I can also visualize the use of immersive video games with scripts such as those of God of War or Assassin’s Creed as tools for learning. Or for that matter, the use of something similar to Second Life set against a corporate backdrop, building essential business skills and bringing the most immersive learning ever!
Peter Drucker has aptly said, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” The opportunities in learning are limitless today and the times are truly exciting for both the learner as well as L&D professionals. We can only begin to imagine what lies around the corner.