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How innovation and technology advances will impact the L&D industry

As Henry Ford once said, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”

This is certainly relevant as a L&D professional working for a progressive recruitment firm, that likes to keep at the forefront of technical innovations.I attended the Learning technologies event this year and the sheer pace of change in L&D was a hot topic. Take the development of Google glass, as an example, a type of wearable technology with an optical head-mounted display - wearers communicate with the Internet via voice commands. Over the next few years, Glass should be able to offer a plethora of ways for L&D professionals to enhance employee’s absorption of knowledge.

There are 3 main changes to highlight: the technology we use, how learners interact with this technology and e-learning in the workplace.

The technology we use

According to the 2014 Towards Maturity Benchmark Study, nine out of ten L&D Leaders are hungry to modernise their learning provision, in order to respond faster and to support learning at the heart of where it is needed. The top technologies and tools used in learning and development at the moment are:

  • e-learning courses - 93%
  • Live online learning such as virtual classrooms - 86%
  • Learning Management Systems - 80%
  • Mobile devices - 74%

Another emerging trend is for virtual reality training - where a scenario or risky situation is practiced within a controlled environment. Virtual reality is used to train surgeons – both locally and remotely and has won many plaudits for doing so and is expanding into other realms (for example Boys Scouts!)

How learners interact with this technology

We live in a mobile world - in 2013 there were more mobile devices in use than people on the earth. Bryson Tiller, an online sensation learnt the violin to impress a girl. His method of learning? Youtube videos! (worth a watch). This is one form of e-learning, where people can go through a mobile learning course at their own pace, choosing to learn the specific points they need. Staff enjoy being able to learn on-the-move and it has great potential for quick skills development or for refresher training. For example, if someone needs some helpful hints before a headhunting call, they can instantly refresh their learning, in a bite-sized format, when it’s needed.

E-learning in the workplace

With e-learning now prevalent as a development tool, it’s no surprise that 31% of adults learn what they need to do for their job from e-learning courses (compared to 17% from classroom). This stat in particular hits home for me and in response to this changing landscape Morgan McKinley are introducing changes to the way our staff are trained on technical systems. We’re moving a lot of our face-to-face training online. If content is pre-written then users can pause, rewind and rewatch the videos as much as possible. It’s self-paced, which allows for reflection; learners can engage with the theories or concepts before they enter the ‘class’ to then collaborate, problems solve and create content. This concept (‘Flipping the classroom’) is becoming the new norm for larger firms.

It is becoming more and more critical for Companies to embrace learning ‘on the go’ for a successful, productive workplace. Empowering people to learn anywhere, anytime offers freedom and is largely seen as one of the main drivers for continuous learning.

  • Apr 23, 2015
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Andrea Webb

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