Learning Technologies in 2010 – the definitive top 10 list

by | Feb 12, 2010 | Articles

It’s that time of year when everyone seems to feel compelled to generate their list of ‘Top Ten Predictions’ for 2010 – or perhaps their Top Five or Top Seven! We didn’t want to feel left out so rather than compile another ‘Top Ten’ list we thought it might be fun to develop the ‘Definitive Top Ten’ list based on the thoughts and ramblings of many of those respected in the industry who are members of our ‘Community of Excellence’, sprinkled with some of our own insight.

Of course the beauty of this crystal ball gazing is that if you’re proved right at the end of the year then you clearly have an in-depth understanding and unrivalled insight into the world of learning technologies. If you’re wrong then you can simply blame social, economic and political factors that were unknown at the time you compiled your list – quite a handy ‘get out of jail’ card really!

Some of our colleagues have chosen to review their 2009 projections to see how close they were 12 months later. Others ‘played safe’ with predictions that most of us could make about operating in global markets, facing increased competition, the current economic climate and the political landscape etc so we’ll focus on those predictions that are perhaps a little more forward thinking and of particular relevance to learning & development.

At Towards Maturity, we like to think we keep our finger on the pulse, not just by keeping up with our colleagues but through our own research into what’s working and what’s not (via our implementation benchmarks) and the impact we are having on the organisations we work with (via our evidence for change programme and our latest Impact Indicator).

So unsurprisingly we also have some thoughts of our own!

The Definitive List of Top Ten Predictions for 2010

Well it may not be ‘definitive’ but it’s ours!! It won’t surprise those of you who are well aware of the work of Towards Maturity that our list will include those things that we believe will and must happen in 2010 for L&D to be seen to be making an invaluable contribution to an organisations performance. In no particular order here’s our Top Ten Predictions for 2010:

  • More focus on delivering business value ( and communicating that we do!) – ok, it may not be the most original thought but our most recent research with the Impact Indicator survey reveals that what managers look for in terms of the value and contribution of learning  is not what we’re giving them, and that’s assuming we’re giving them something! We will concentrate on aligning learning to business and ALSO improving the way we communicate our value back to managers.
  • Web conferencing for live online sessions – already growing rapidly from our last benchmark study, we think this will become much more prevalent because many organisations already have licences for web conferencing services and will find it relatively straightforward to adapt. In effect the technology will continue to act as a bridge between pure self-study and classic classroom based training and will be a more comfortable option for traditional trainers to engage with.
  • A continued rise in rapid e-learning solutions – Again one of the fastest growing technologies from our last benchmark, we believe the adoption of such solutions will continue at a pace and we’ll continue to see richer and more engaging tools becoming available. The economic argument for accelerated adoption is a strong one but in 2010 we should see more creative application of rapid content within our learning offerings for business (eg.to support internal communications, change, within the blend of leadership training and other talent management initiatives) and many L&D teams will feel happier that these tools are now firmly established in the mainstream.
  • Increase in mobile learning – Mobile learning is back in vogue as a result of the new web enabled functionality that many carry around with them. Many of the others are predicting the rise of mobile learning this year as a result of new tools in  our hands – guess what – we agree!
  • More flexible learning management platforms – We may just be witnessing the death of those large scale inflexible LMS’s we were all so excited about back in the 1990’s!! You don’t find many advocates these days so we think we’ll see far greater use of open source systems that allow you to add applications according to your needs, especially with Moodle which is rapidly establishing a mainstream audience.
  • Frameworks for Social Learning – social learning is on almost everyone’s target list right now and for good reason. We’ve been debating it for the last 2 years and finally we will see organisations embrace the 70/20/10 rule. But to get the most benefit organisations will need to bring in more context so that busy professionals can ‘get it’ faster – we believe that we’ll see more frameworks for implementing social learning so that it starts to make sense for traditional businesses. (We’ve case studies on site, such as B/T’s ‘Dare2Share’ and IBM , that provide good examples of this).
  • Scenario based learning – we’re all familiar with the use of simulations from their use in IT systems, office desktop applications and product training to soft skills, but we are going to see the emergence of more scenario based simulations such as those used in supporting the training of airline pilots and emergency services personnel.
  • More focus on building L&D skills – we will see the continued growth in the use of informal learning communities for L&D and more learning resources and events for L&D will appear. Trainers will be more interested in increasing their basic awareness of technology opportunities and will need to know how to integrate it effectively into solution design. There will also be more focus on building strategic skills of implementation & engagement so that the terrible e-learning mistakes of the past are not repeated.
  • L&D will become more demanding – of ourselves and of our suppliers. The economic climate and the need to innovate & make a difference means that we will no longer just commission a simple e-learning course (or classroom course for that matter) because that is what we have always done. Instead we will ask more questions about what are we trying to achieve for the business and what is the most appropriate way to achieve it. This puts ‘performance’ at the core of what we are doing as we move out of our comfort zone. Whereas learning technologies have only been used to support induction or compliance learning, L&D will recognised the need to be seen to be adding real business value (but with fewer resources) so we will see more turn to innovative applications of technology to address strategic business needs such as leadership, talent management, customer service and organisational change.
  • More political will to see change in learning provision from the public purse – The last is as much a hope as a prediction but we would love to see a shift in policy to influence how our skills qualifications are delivered – moving from the 19th to 21st century delivery. With all political parties talking about a focus on skills as a key contributor to economic growth and the opportunities that a digital Britain can provide, we’d love to see our colleges and universities being encouraged to innovate!

We’ve summarised some of the other predictions and top tips from our community of excellence colleagues in the download below – looks like we are in for a great year !

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