A recent request came from someone presenting at a conference seeking ideas that “highlight the top 5 “big ideas that matter right now”…trends occurring in learning today and into the near future. Participants will be asked to incorporate these “big ideas” into their collaboration”. I really think there is one big idea that has at least 5 sub- topics and probably more.
There is a presence that is going across all age groups of workers, no matter the size of the workforce and/or company, what level of employee (hourly to high level exempt) and that is the ubiquitous presence of a device be it a smart phone, iPad, etc. The one idea that seems to be impacting learning and collaboration is “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD). This growing trend is one we in learning are not taking advantage of, we are not using the power these tools provides the individual to connect with them, to collaborate, and communicate seamlessly. Integrating work email and calendars is so common now that the formal boundaries between work and home have all but disappeared. This is due, in part I believe, with the various roles and responsibilities the individual employee has as parent, and/or as caretaker. I have come to realize there is no work/life balance; there is only life so “we” have found ways to work when and where we can and/or need to. Finally, in my personal opinion, employees don’t like being denied access to friends and family so that 10 minute “Facebook” break can be done easily using your own device and if you find it easier to craft an image or spreadsheet using tools familiar to you then you can be more productive with less stress.
So BYOD is the big idea and challenge. Learning and performance strategies should be leveraging the following techniques focused on meeting the learner where they are when they are ready and needing “us”. We should be designing interactions that are:
- Social. We need to create ways to provoke discussion, create dialogue between experts and novices and those in-between, we should re-design learning into “chunks” that can become an integral part of the social interaction and work experience.
- Collaborative. Like social but deeper, we need to push the use of network/SoMe analytic tools to identify groups that don’t know they are groups and create new collaborations – not only will learning occur but we may be able to impact the business very strategically by finding the flow of information that works rather than an org chart that gets dusty.
- Learner as Leader and Leader as Coach. How can we optimize the technology to support learners in sharing knowledge, in creating and distributing content they are writing, shooting videos of, and building upon others efforts if we don’t make the leadership lead by example?
- Mobile. Obvious however let’s remember to build for short, simple, fast, and cheap (they are paying for those minutes!). Think performance support rather than extended versions of ILT, make it fun and fast for folks on the go.
- Increase access options. Our learners are finding answers to their questions outside of the formal organization so we need to “bring them back” by increasing access to more content options be it local educational groups (2&4 year college) to vendors of basic content (SkillSoft, industry specific such as “techsource.com”, etc.) to open source options. We need to be the “content provider of choice” to our employees if we are to engage and be aligned with them. Instead of barriers telling them they can’t go “there” we need to be their first place to look for a solution and that will happen when we collect and help them find answers to the problems they are facing on the job. Once they know “we” are focused on their success we will become the first place they search for support and then we can truly engage their minds and hearts to create success and growth.
If you are interested in adding your thoughts to the thread focused on the conference topic please click here.