Predicting the Future of Enterprise Learning Technology

There is some disagreement among learning professionals about the future value of virtual environments, but general agreement on the value of mobile technology, based on recent comments obtained from a LinkedIn discussion group.

Curt Zilbersher, a chief learning consultant from the Boston area, sees continued growth in online education, especially in the following four areas (quotes his):

1) Virtual environments. “Although environments like Second Life are still far from mature, such [immersive] technologies are likely to grow as today’s gamer youth embrace this engaging learning [platform]. Platforms like Sloodle will continue to break down barriers between the recreational nature of virtual environments and learning.”

2) Mobile access. “Anytime, anywhere, any place. Ubiquitous access to learning will redefine how we view and redefine education in the 21st century.”

3) Advances in infrastructure hardware/software. “Continued advances in network infrastructure, open Web advocacy, HTML5, Javascript, open-source standards and toolkits, etc.”

4) 4. Social networks. “The ability to find, construct and nurture ideas/relationships through social networking applications will remain strong and will realize continued growth.”

Adds Jeff Whitney, a vice president at Outstart, Inc.: “I might expand social networking to a broader social business software environment where people have a system that offers a breadth of social capabilities, such as wikis, communities, blogs, social networking, rankings, the ability the follow topics and follow people and the like, all tied together synergistically, with the capability to readily access previously shared knowledge regardless of how it was contributed.”

Halfway around the world, they are looking at enhancements to 4G access speeds. Says Amit Garg of Upside Learning in India:

“Advancements in mobile technologies and devices and enhancements in access speeds with truly transform e-learning in 21st century. Just-in-time learning or performance support would become possible. Knowledge management would get (is already getting) a great boost with everyone capable of contributing and accessing using mobiles. Social media would always be with you in your pocket. Virtual worlds and games (not just simple ones) will be possible on mobiles. Everything else I think will revolve around that.”

However, fellow Indian Amit Kaveeshwar of Harbinger Systems takes issue with the coming importance of virtual environments and mobile learning.

“I still believe that virtual environments are good candidates, but could be misrepresented in the learner’s mind, and the learner might get swayed away from the real purpose of learning,” he writes. “[Also] mobile learning platforms would need a lot of work to follow various standards and to make learning results measurable, but just the fact that it is ubiquitous makes it a top candidate.

“Social networks intersperse with all kinds of learning. Just based on experience, even-end user companies look at social networking in a little suspicious manner for productive results, and — except for marketing — this platform is still evolving. But really mobile is the way to go in my opinion for its reach, ease of handling, access and pervasiveness.”

Finally, Roger Mundell of Udutu Learning Systems in Canada adds:

“Technologies that will facilitate just-in-time learning will be the social networking and Google Wave types of applications that let us combine human mentoring with pre-built best-of-breed content. I agree that some form of what we now call mobile devices will be a big part of this as they become more able to support a rich learning experience. Perhaps the resurgence of pad computer devices could trigger an acceptance of mobile learning that hasn’t really been very practical on smart phones.”

There is some disagreement among learning professionals about the future value of virtual environments, but general agreement on the value of mobile technology, based on recent comments obtained from a LinkedIn discussion group.

Curt Zilbersher, a chief learning consultant from the Boston area, sees continued growth in online education, especially in the following four areas (quotes his):

1) Virtual environments. “Although environments like Second Life are still far from mature, such [immersive] technologies are likely to grow as today’s gamer youth embrace this engaging learning [platform]. Platforms like Sloodle will continue to break down barriers between the recreational nature of virtual environments and learning.”

2) Mobile access. “Anytime, anywhere, any place. Ubiquitous access to learning will redefine how we view and redefine education in the 21st century.”

3) Advances in infrastructure hardware/software. “Continued advances in network infrastructure, open Web advocacy, HTML5, Javascript, open-source standards and toolkits, etc.”

4) 4. Social networks. “The ability to find, construct and nurture ideas/relationships through social networking applications will remain strong and will realize continued growth.”

Adds Jeff Whitney, a vice president at Outstart, Inc.: “I might expand social networking to a broader social business software environment where people have a system that offers a breadth of social capabilities, such as wikis, communities, blogs, social networking, rankings, the ability the follow topics and follow people and the like, all tied together synergistically, with the capability to readily access previously shared knowledge regardless of how it was contributed.”

Halfway around the world, they are looking at enhancements to 4G access speeds. Says Amit Garg of Upside Learning in India:

“Advancements in mobile technologies and devices and enhancements in access speeds with truly transform e-learning in 21st century. Just-in-time learning or performance support would become possible. Knowledge management would get (is already getting) a great boost with everyone capable of contributing and accessing using mobiles. Social media would always be with you in your pocket. Virtual worlds and games (not just simple ones) will be possible on mobiles. Everything else I think will revolve around that.”

However, fellow Indian Amit Kaveeshwar of Harbinger Systems takes issue with the coming importance of virtual environments and mobile learning.

“I still believe that virtual environments are good candidates, but could be misrepresented in the learner’s mind, and the learner might get swayed away from the real purpose of learning,” he writes. “[Also] mobile learning platforms would need a lot of work to follow various standards and to make learning results measurable, but just the fact that it is ubiquitous makes it a top candidate.

“Social networks intersperse with all kinds of learning. Just based on experience, even-end user companies look at social networking in a little suspicious manner for productive results, and — except for marketing — this platform is still evolving. But really mobile is the way to go in my opinion for its reach, ease of handling, access and pervasiveness.”

Finally, Roger Mundell of Udutu Learning Systems in Canada adds:

“Technologies that will facilitate just-in-time learning will be the social networking and Google Wave types of applications that let us combine human mentoring with pre-built best-of-breed content. I agree that some form of what we now call mobile devices will be a big part of this as they become more able to support a rich learning experience. Perhaps the resurgence of pad computer devices could trigger an acceptance of mobile learning that hasn’t really been very practical on smart phones.”

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