April 26, 2011
Top Three Trends in Learning Technology
As a professional responsible for workplace learning, I’m excited about the top three trends I’m seeing emerge in learning technology today. These trends will make workplace learning more accessible, which will ensure our employees are well-skilled and knowledgeable – something in today’s challenging economic environment that has become more important than ever before.
Increasing use of blended learning environments:
In recent years, more and more organizations appear to be incorporating blended learning into their overall training solutions. Blended learning typically combines online learning with the traditional classroom setting to create an optimal learning environment. This blended approach offers several benefits:
- It combines the best of both worlds: the online learning portion provides learners flexibility in learning at their own pace while the classroom portion provides social interaction and an opportunity for reinforcing topics learned in the online environment
- It often reduces total training time and minimizes the time spent away from the job
- Blended learning research also indicates that students learn more effectively when more than one format is used to deliver information
Incorporation of Web 2.0 tools:
The use of Web 2.0 tools, such as interactive discussion groups, forums, wikis, and blogs has created a platform for informal learning that can be accessed as needed, which is empowering individuals to become more active in their own education. Users can contribute and shape the content by means of blog posts, podcasts, wikis, sharing videos, etc. This results in learning being centered around the interests of the learner, which enhances learning and increases engagement.
According to the article Top Mobile Shopping Activities of US Smartphone Users posted by eMarketer, there are currently approximately 73.3 million smartphone users in the United States – almost ¼ of the its population! This increased availability and use of web-enabled mobile phones encourages learning on the go. Of course, there are several challenges with mobile learning deployment. The variety in screen sizes, battery life, costs, and security are all items that must be considered. However, as more tools become available to make this process easier, I anticipate mobile learning becoming an effective way to support quick, informal, just-in-time learning throughout the organizational landscape.