Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Learning and development trends

The 21st century is ushering in the new social learning revolution. Today’s workers come from a variety of cultures and generations, and we must address the requirements of this diverse, global audience. Companies understand that the current trends are all about interaction. The following are some of the trends we’re seeing:

Webinars. Virtual classrooms will continue to expand and technology will become increasingly more sophisticated allowing more interaction than ever before. Instructors still hold classes, only the participants don’t have to be together.

Video. Low-end videos include those you see on YouTube. All you need is a camera and some basic editing savvy. High-end videos are expensive, but the cost can be justified for certain types of training. You can include pauses where learners interact or perform certain tasks, and make the experience very participatory.

Social networks and social learning. This involves sitting at your computer or mobile phone and interacting with others. Social networks are creeping into companies and many have embraced Twitter within their own organizations. Others have created home-grown internal social networks. In addition to instant messages (IM) and chats, these are other avenues for people to get information and answers to questions quickly.

3-D. Although this technology is new for L&D, it’s expected to become the next generation of training.

Podcasts and blogs. These are associated with more formal learning and are gaining strong footholds in the L&D repertoire.

Simulations and virtual labs. These are used mostly in technical and scientific learning. You can make a quick simulation, drop it into the learning experience, and learners experience a simulated lab.

Suitcase programs. Curriculum is created and taken to offices around the globe. Local trainers deliver the program and sometimes one or two facilitators travel with the program. Some programs incorporate video and videoconferencing.

Expertise locations. This is where subject matter experts (SMEs) within a company, regardless of where they’re located, will be called upon to share their special knowledge and skills.

Mentoring. Mentoring programs are adding a lot of zest to L&D as companies are providing mentoring for orienting new hires, bridging the multi-generational and cross-cultural divides, transitioning people into management roles, and spearheading succession planning.

Mobile. Mobile technology is still evolving for training purposes. Presently, what may work well on one mobile phone, may not work well on another. However, components of more complex learning will work on most mobile phones and are being used now.

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