Learning has become fluid and dynamic, fuelled by the pervasive influence of technology and the opportunities it provides
Learning started as an informal process. And in the course of time, as man became an evolved species, there came a need to formalize learning. This came about in recognition of what the unstructured, the informal can deliver (and not deliver); and this is what prompted us to create opportunities and environments to facilitate and enable the ‘learning process’ to a widespread audience – by bringing together ideas, thoughts and experiences from all over the world and making it an intrinsic part of formal learning. This is precisely where the term ‘Pervasive Learning’ comes into picture.
According to Don Pontefract, “Pervasive Learning is learning at the speed of need through formal, informal and social learning modalities.” This suggests that learning can happen anywhere, anytime. Since we spend most of our time at two environments – home and workplace – these areas are considered to have the largest influence on our ‘learning’. It means we need to stimulate and enrich these environments with learning opportunities and harness every form and facet of our environment to provide these opportunities.
With the passage of time, learning has become fluid and dynamic, fuelled by the pervasive influence of technology and the opportunities it provides to access and experience knowledge. To embrace and use new technology, we have changed the form of learning materials, adopted and tweaked them to make them compatible, engaging and appropriate to the new mediums.
Significantly, the omnipresent Internet is the one technology that has the most ‘pervasive’ influence on our lives and is the font for all information. This kind of “pervasive” technology has given us the ability to explore and learn of places, people, natural phenomena and everything else. While the forms remain the same, “all pervasive” technology has changed almost every way we access and acquire information. This has undoubtedly impacted our learning forever. The separation of learning and technology has narrowed to a point, where technology has become almost an extension of our senses.
While the business and communication aspects of work are virtually run by technology, the people and knowledge areas of talent development, knowledge retention, skills improvement, learning and training are still trying to make the best use of technology to deliver ‘learning’. eLearning has been a simplistic answer to using technology in training. And to manage its delivery, usage and effectiveness, LMS was born.
Today’s the world of mobile technology. The power of this medium is symbolized by its mobility, ease of access and our ability to react to our environment using this device as a first port of call to “learn”. The mobility of technology means we walk around with the ability to access and pull up information with the click of a mouse or swipe of a screen and thus by making learning contiguous, continuous and pervasive.
We know technology helps us access, understand and apply this learning but the keystone of success is ‘Us’. We need the motivation and the curiosity to engage with our environment, to absorb learning, to appreciate and leverage the power and richness of knowledge that is so easily available through the benefits of other people.
Our role and mission in learning must be as catalysts of learning, to create and build learning and also to be the tour guides to direct and guide because in doing so we ensure that we keep learning to keep learning.
And as you’re reading this, look around and chances are that you’ll be able to spot at least five different things to learn from. Call it what you will, the fact is that we ‘Keep Learning’!