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My Forecasts for 2012

This post shares the concluding part of my presentation/workshop for CSTD Durham Region Chapter. I was asked to take a look ahead to see what things might be gaining mainstream acceptance for workplace learning.

Dropping the “e”.

Let’s face it, sticking an “e” in front of anything was fine 15 yrs ago, but with the embedding of web-based ‘everything’ in our daily lives it seems a little superfluous. Initially it was applied as a distinguishing factor between ILT and anything computer-based, but then we added “m-learning” to the mix to distinguish between a desktop/laptop device and anything that was “mobile” (smartphone, tablet, PDA, etc.). What about learning that may be supported through a game console?

However, learning is learning, regardless of where it takes place and what’s used to support it. The more we draw imaginary lines between the different modalities, the harder it will be to integrate them right from the concept phase.

Cloud-based learning

The concept of basing things in “the cloud” (e.g. making use of the Internet for available/on-demand access anywhere, instead of closed/internal systems) isn’t necessarily new. But, “anywhere” used to mean being tied to a corporate or internal network.

Telework, distributed workforces, business travel all place increasing demands on network infrastructures, so organizations are turning to internet-hosted solutions to help manage costs and improve access. These solutions also include learning content development and hosting.  Learning access is truly becoming more open and accessible.

The beginning of the end for Flash

Adobe Flash is considered to be the premiere animation/interactivity development tool for the web. Although it wasn’t really intended as an authoring tool for learning it has become a de facto standard. This was all well and good until the advent of mobile devices, especially the iPad, and Flash didn’t have support on a lot of these types of devices.  Now that Adobe has dropped app development for mobile, this opens the doors for things like HTML5 to take content from platform to platform with fewer issues.

Content Curation

Curation: finding, collecting, presenting and displaying digital content around predefined sets of criteria and subject matter.

Content curation is the act of continually identifying, selecting and sharing the best and most relevant online content and other online resources.

These two definitions are important to remember because any information “artifact” requires a level of context and interpretation so that a future consumer can make sense of more than just the content; they can see things like impact, relationships with current issues, and other sense-making information.  I predict that information curation is going to become a critical skill for L&D professionals as they share knowledge and disseminate expertise to their consumers.

Opening the social “gates”

Orgs and individuals will formally and deliberately embrace the technologies & practices associated with Social Media (whether internally or more public-facing.) The difference will be that instead of using them for PR purposes, they will be harnessed for learning.  We all know that learning is a social process, so leveraging the technology should be a no-brainer for smart organizations, but much in the same way we saw the fears of granting internet access at individual desktops, we will likely have to go through another round of fear-mongering before these tools are widely available.  However, I anticipate a few major case studies in the offing that smart organizations will read with interest.

So…there we have it.  My own view of things that are likely to happen for L&D in 2012.  Discuss and enjoy!