Friday, 28 August 2015 05:39

Leader's View: Future of Learning

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What Have You Worked On Recently That You Believe Will Become An Industry Trend In The Near Future?

Think about how we accessed “timely” information just twenty-five years ago. We picked up a newspaper or read a magazine, turned on the radio or caught the evening news on TV. The distribution of this information was controlled by a few and inherently delayed due to the restrictions of the channels themselves.

In less than 30 years, the Internet has revolutionized the way we access information by flipping this “top-down” model on its head. We now have access to a seemingly unlimited amount of information, when and where we want it. Social media and crowd-sourcing have largely democratized the process of creating, sharing and monitoring this information. The user is now the creator and curator of content.

Our industry remains largely focused on developing better ways to disseminate educational and training materials through the Internet. But this is still a top-down model. Forward-thinking companies are looking for ways to flip this archetype over, too.

I’ve recently encountered several highly innovative organizations asking the same question: “What makes a great teacher truly great?” They’re inevitably going to reach the same answer. An effective teacher has the ability to present a complex idea in a way that is accessible and resonates with students. Taking a lesson from the Internet’s elevation of the user, these organizations are developing strategies for “student curation.” They are empowering students to develop and share learning opportunities on topics or subjects of passionate interest. I will wager that your students are going to begin demanding this capability very shortly, if they haven’t already.

How Does A Company Prepare To Introduce This Type Of Student-Driven Capability?

The best way to prepare is to first dedicate time and resources to teaching people how to teach others. The organizations that are already going down this path are leveraging their existing learning platforms to deliver basic training around proper communication techniques and how to effectively present ideas. They are working now to ensure student creators and curators are prepared in the near future to deliver content effectively.

There are concerns that student-driven content will be full of errors or result in low-quality content, disrupting the the overall integrity of the learning environment. Once you successfully prepare students to become instructors themselves, the next step is to develop an effective process for group management and self-governance. Now is the time to plan out how you will transition your organization’s learning environment into a true learning community.

If Uou Were To Recommend A Good First Step That Learning Professionals Could Take Today In Pursuit Of This Future Development, What Would It Be?

You have to consider the ways in which people communicate and learn in their personal, daily lives. In less than seven years, we’ve doubled the amount of time we spend online every day, and the majority of this online access occurs on a mobile device. We now dedicate 41 percent of our total online time to social media — and this number is growing. We are suddenly consuming way more “bite-sized” video than we’ve ever consumed before. Today’s learning environment should already offer students the same kind of mobile viewing, content sharing and collaborative opportunities in which they so willingly engage outside of work. If your learning environment doesn’t currently mirror your student’s personal online experience, look for learning management solutions that take a “mobile-first” approach when designing their tools. The ability to confidently deliver a seamless, effective mobile experience is the first step in being prepared for a number of industry developments headed our way.

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