As part of the Eleaning Guild’s 10 year anniversary, David Kelly is hosting the #LRN2024 Twitter chat on September 5, 2014 at 2 PM ET / 11 AM PT for one hour exploring what the future of learning might look like in 2024. I’m always thinking (dreaming) and imagining how to do my craft better today, but the questions posed intrigued me to realy think about where we’ll be in ten years. Below are the questions and my first thoughts.
How has learning changed in the last 10 years (from the perspective of the learner)?
Five years ago this question would have several variant answers. Today however, learning has changed from the perspective of the learner in major ways that learning happens where the learner is located. Learning is now. This change has largely been influenced by mobile technology and the freedom to discover at the very moment one needs to learn. Learning is more social, not to be confused with Social Learning (different debate). Meaning, learners collaborate more, ask advice, face challenges together, and while there are still silos it seems learners are breaking them down from the inside out.
What is the most significant change technology has made to organizational learning in the past decade?
When I think of the past decade, I recall being asked to convert 3-ring binders to some sort of web-based interactive experience. Not having any knowledge of how, and not knowing there were systems (LMS) that managed content such as this, I started with a simple text editor. I remember having to submit a justification request to have access to a small amount of space on a web server just to test with no real strategy of where all this new web-based content was going to live permanently. Ten years later technology would have boggled my mind a decade ago! Again, the most significant change in technology to organizational learning I don’t think can be attributed to one thing singular. Rather, a combination of hardware improvements such as video cards for better display, moving from CRT monitors to LCD and now even LED monitors. Bandwidth increases in upload/download times and more and more improvements in computer processing and WiFi technology. All of these are significant in their own right, but it can be argued that one wouldn’t have evolved without the others.
What are the most significant challenges facing organizational learning today?
These newer technologies mentioned above coupled with a mindset that learners are increasingly saying (yelling even) they don’t want to sit in a classroom or have content pushed to them. One of the most significant challenges I faced in my previous organization is the same today…how to get learners to pull information when they need it right when they need it.
What technologies will have the greatest impact on learning in the next decade? Why?
We’re going to continue to see the evolution of mobile technologies with new innovations in wearable devices. Augmented reality is a technology that’s become consumer friendly in recent years with the release of Google Glass, and we’ll see more real time learning with similar wearable devices. The global network will expand exponentially to the increased demand in learner access and sheer volume of content. Big Data, or tracking performance data has grown in popularity and interest in recent years as well with great strides in not only collecting the right data, but how to properly measure performance with that data.
What new skills will professionals need to develop to support learning in the future?
My prediction on skills needed ten years from now don’t exist today. A fairly bold statement, but there are skills I’ve learned that didn’t exist a decade ago (HTML5, app development, etc.). It’s fairly safe to assume then, there’s no reason not to expect the same. Industry professionals will need to continue to perfect their existing skills, learn newer skills that exist today but they haven’t learned yet, and stay embedded in the industry to follow trends and practices to know when newer technologies present an opportunity to learn even more. For example: HTML5 has flipped the elearning industry on its head. Those who were masterful ActionScript (Flash) programmers found themselves with an obsolete skillset due to not only the changes in mobile technology, but a consumer market that demanded mobile content. If you intend on staying in this industry for the next ten years, you really don’t have a choice to at least have a fundamental understanding of that standard and it’s progression.
What will learning look like in the year 2024?
The best way I can describe what learning will “look” like in 2024 from an organizational standpoint (not K-12 or academic) is to describe what a new hire may experience. A new employee walks into their new place of work on day one not to be escorted to an orientation class, but handed a virtual reality headset or augmented reality eyewear. They’re greeted by a virtual avatar that will guide them through an orientation journey. This journey will include heads-up displays with maps to the organization’s building, video greetings from various leaders, voice-activated menu, and ultimately a self-paced experience where the new hire (learner) can pull the information as they need it and at their pace. In all honesty, that technology is available today but organizations haven’t completely figured out how to implement it yet. It’s exciting to imagine.
There are hundreds of scenarios that we can draw from what learning will look like. It’s crazy fun to imagine a perfect learning environment with no limits to technology as we know it today and what we can try to imagine it will be ten years from now. In ten years, that world will blow us away if we had the opportunity to peek ahead!
For me, there’s two technologies yet to be innovated, discovered, or invented from Star Trek that will open up a world of possibilities: The Holodeck and the Transporter!