I’m doing a presentation on Monday that was billed as my take on trends in technology for learning… I don’t consider myself an expert here, but as a leader in workplace learning, here’s what I pulled into my short list of trends:
Rapid development of e-learning. The use of tools like Adobe Connect and Articulate will continue to challenge instructional designers to become creative in ensuring learning. We don’t want to create a library of slide decks with voice-over – that would be little better than electronic page-turners (and more annoying because we read more quickly than we listen). These are fabulous tools; we just need to become more adept at using them to promote learning.
Blended learning. We’re rapidly coming to a time when NO design project will result in a “course” with a single delivery method. There are far too many options of value in continuing to learn and apply learning beyond a learning “event.”
Immersive simulations (aka serious games). Simulations, whether live or electronically mediated in some way (or a combination of both) are among the best ways of producing learning. We’re giving people the experience they need to develop skills and expertise, and that’s incredibly powerful. We need to sharpen our logic skills and let loose our imaginations!
Adopting web 2.0 technologies for learning. There’s a lot of excitement about blogs and wikis, instant messaging and other social networking tools… we just need to figure out how to use these tools to best advantage when our goal is learning.
Adopting 3D environment technologies for learning. I’m convinced that “second life” is coming to the training world (or we’re going to it), but I’m not yet convinced that this kind of tool is as broadly helpful as we might be led to think. If we’re putting our avatars in a virtual conference room to hear a virtual speaker talk through a set of slides… we’ve not helped the cause of learning, I fear.
Podcasting and vodcasting. These additional tools that have potential to be very powerful, especially for those who need to see and hear, and for those who travel frequently and like listening in the car. Again, we need to find the best place for this kind of delivery in an overall blended learning approach.
Learning portals. I believe we need to get better at giving access to great content that’s already out there without going to the trouble of repackaging it. We do our learners a favor by pointing them in the right direction on topics of interest so they don’t get lost in a web quest of their own. The trick will be to make our portals both rich in content and customizable in format.
Personal learning environments. We may need to help our employees use the tools on their desktops to best advantage in their own learning – that is, we need to teach them how to learn in a new (often electronically mediated) way. Very powerful and interesting stuff in this arena – more to come on this subject.
For what it’s worth then, those are the technologies I see having great impact in the near future. We can’t wait too long to get on board, because there’s another set of tools just over the horizon and bearing down fast.