I spent some time over the weekend catching up on others’ predictions for 2010 (see sources at end of post). It got me thinking… how will I ever keep up? 3D learning, open learning, mobile learning, informal learning, social learning, game-based learning, new tools, new gadgets… It’s clear that the need for learning and the potential avenues to get support for learning are both exploding – what’s a learning professional to do to stay current so she can be effective in her role?
For me, it’s a balancing act between knowing a little bit about a lot of the landscape and a lot about a little bit of the landscape. While it’s critical that I maintain a grasp of all of the tools and techniques for learning, I have to make choices about where I want to establish and maintain my expertise.
The core of my work requires that I have a deep understanding of adult learning principles and techniques… and maintaining that expertise will help me to imagine how all of the tools can be put to use to support learning. Upon that foundation, I can be helpful and influential in strategizing broad-based learning environments that integrate a number of resources, tools, and techniques. Another part of my work requires that I know the latest in instructional design practices and processes, and keeping up with new approaches will help me to understand how these can be applied regardless of what is being designed.
I love the work I do in designing formal learning for delivery in classroom and online learning environments, but I focus in on facilitating learning in adult learning theory and instructional design rather than honing an ability to design for any topic. (I believe there will always be a place for formal learning, so I’m not feeling vulnerable that I hold that as an area of expertise.) I also love researching and writing and focus my efforts there (like here in this blog) on those same topics.
I’m not likely to ever create a flash-based e-learning component. I won’t be designing an electronic performance support system. I still don’t own a smart phone, and designing “an app for that” isn’t in the cards for me. Learning games and simulations are very powerful, but I won’t be designing one anytime soon. 3D learning isn’t going to figure into my own work in the near future.
Our landscape in the learning and development field is so very varied and complex that we really need to be able to rely on each other to develop particular areas of expertise so that we can work together to create the kind of learning environments in which learners can flourish and from which businesses can benefit. I am constantly amazed at how various social learning media have allowed me to tap into the minds of deep thinkers in those areas in which I have no expertise… they are critical to my ability to know “a little bit about a lot of the landscape.” Thank you to all of you out there posting blogs and sharing links in your Tweets!
My to-learn list for 2010 includes deepening my understanding of constructivist learning theory and research, as well as studying more on brain-based learning concepts and their relationship to cognitivist and constructivist approaches. I plan on honing skill in creating online courseware and creating online learning communities. And I’ll be using various opportunities to develop skill in researching, writing, and communicating ideas. That’s enough for one person.
My sources for predicitons for 2010: The Big Question for January in the Learning Curcuits blog, and the 2010 Horizon Report from the New Media Consortium and Educause. All interesting reading – thank you for sharing!