The Changing Face of Learning?

It seems that everything in the field of corporate learning is a pendulum swing; we moved from the era of heavy performance support in the 1980’s to the era of e-Learning or web-based training in the late 1990’s and the early “aughts”. Over the past 30 years, learners switched from sitting in the classroom for 40 hours per week, once per year, to sitting in front of their computers for 40 separate hours over the course of a year. These days we hear terms such as “traditional e Learning”; traditional now represents something that is less than 15 years old.

In this era of tight profit management, corporate training budgets are flat or slashed while the need to train employees in the fast paced competitive market place has increased exponentially. This need for reduced time to effectiveness and greater efficiency is changing the face of learning once again.

With the proliferation of interactive, virtual learning technologies and social media we are moving back to the era of just-in-time, micro performance learning. But how do we continue to engage our learners and ensure the acquisition and application of knowledge on the job?

Certainly video learning and pod-casting are effective new methods. Deployed from the corporate learning departments and shared learner to learner, I believe this new paradigm of “casual knowledge transfer” will be the preferred methods of the teens and twenties.

In this atmosphere, another question comes to mind…what happens to the need to track this type of learning and what happens to our “legacy” learning technologies like the LMS? I predict that over the next 10 years, the LMS will either have to morph into a new type of technology or die a slow IT death.

Because of the needs of the business world now, and the rising sea tide of social media and social learning, the mega LMS deployment will become a thing of the past. Certainly regulatory and compliance-type training will still need to be tracked and reported upon. However unless the LMS vendors incorporate social media and knowledge management in an easy-to-use (and administrate) internet-style format, the business will need to find other ways to support their learners and customers effectively.


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