By Susan Camberis
Editor, Training Today
If one of your business partners wanted to have a conversation today about workflow learning, AI, or AR, would you be ready?
It’s not necessary to be an expert in all emerging workplace and learning technologies, but knowing enough to contribute is vital.
ATDChi’s September general meeting featured David Kelly, Executive Vice President and Executive Director of The eLearning Guild. Kelly discussed current and emerging technologies and the impact to L&D while sharing the concept of “conversational competence” – being knowledgeable enough to participate in the conversation.
If you would like to develop your conversational competence, here are 10 workplace and learning technologies you will want to be aware of:
- Responsive Design (sometimes referred to as multi-device learning) is design that adapts to the type of screen or device the learner is using to consume content. According to Kelly, L&D professionals have historically approached new technology with the wrong question in mind. Instead of asking, “How do I do what I do today with this new tech?” we should instead be asking, “What new questions can I solve with this new tech?” The smartphone, as one example, is so much more than just a device. We should be asking, “What will this device enable us to do that we haven’t been able to do before?”
- Data Analytics (or “Big Data”) is not simply about data or analytics. It’s really about having data available to inform decisions and solve problems in new ways. xAPI (or Experience API), for example, allows us to track traditional metrics and gain insights to bigger and different questions.
- Interactive Video (IV) enables a more interactive learning experience by embedding “clickable” areas that perform actions into digital video. IV also uses metadata – allowing learners to enter a name, phrase, or other data element and quickly search to find specific information. IBM Watson and Workday both have this capability today.
- Game-Based Learning is not an emerging technology, but what is emerging is research around the value of game-based learning. Related to game-based learning, Kelly said that sometimes our jargon holds us back as a profession. A few years back, when we thought that games wouldn’t be taken seriously, we changed our language to “serious games.” Kelly advised TD professionals to avoid jargon all together whenever possible.
- Workflow Learning is a buzzword that’s usage has spread faster than our understanding. Also known as microlearning, performance support, and just-in-time training, workflow learning has become popular because the technology has finally caught up. According to Kelly, workflow learning was never about content, rather, it’s the context that matters. What type of resource do people need in the moment? How can we best support people while they’re doing their work?
- Curation is a skill set that we need to get better at as a TD profession. We are in a unique position to empower users and user-created content, according to Kelly. That said, it is not always a value-add to create a new solution. It should be about leveraging what we have, according to Kelly. “We don’t always need to start from a place of creation.”
- Virtual Reality (VR) can convey an experience in a way that no other type of training can. VR is trending because the hardware has dropped in price so significantly. A high-end headset now costs $400 versus $40,000. The software is still very expensive, but the price is coming down. Kelly believes that VR will have a narrow but powerful use case.
- Augmented Reality (AR) will be transformative, but will need to reach a point of normalization. Google Glass, a familiar and early example of AR wasn’t a failure of technology, according to Kelly, but rather it was a failure of normalization. AR is not an L&D tool, but it will come in through the enterprise – leaders will buy it as another tool and TD leaders will need to support it. You’ll need to learn it as a tool for performance support.
- Wearable Technology is also not a learning technology per se, but one that TD leaders need to be familiar with. For example, today there are gloves that can measure what people are doing with their hands. Wearables will generate data that helps us better understand how employees are performing. Kelly expects that we will see more wearables in medical and sports-related settings. Wearables will be used in conjunction with company equipment and the IoT (Internet of Things) to provide performance support for the skill level of employees.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) is really about machines doing tasks that they are better equipped to do than humans. Becoming familiar with how your industry, business, and clients are beginning to utilize AI today is a good first step.
What else can you do to prepare for the now and next of learning technology?
Kelly offered these great suggestions:
- Plug in: Educate yourself about the trends.
- Listen: Where are the conversations that will help you grow; don’t be a fly on the wall; jump in, be an active participant.
- Contextualize: There is no right or wrong answer; it’s right or wrong for you.
- Play: “All the things I play with give me a starting point [for understanding],” said Kelly.
According to Kelly, “If you’re not pushing yourself forward, you’re probably limiting where you can go next. You own your career.”
Keep learning and you’ll be ready for whatever comes next!
To learn more about the eLearning Guild visit: www.eLearningGuild.com. Follow David Kelly at @LnDDave.