What does learning look like in 2016? Plenty was said on the subject at Learning Technologies 2016.
Don’t be a meatpuppet, kids. Image: @charliekneen on Twitter
Here are 7 trends that I spotted at #LT16uk. I’ve turned them into handy calls to action, so get busy…
1. Get strategic
We don’t need to align with the strategy of our organisation, we need to BE the strategy. Andrew Jacobs talked about how to weave learning into everything we do, and how to use the right tactics to get stakeholders on board. I often see learning as an afterthought so I see where Andrew’s coming from, but I think it’s less about creating learning as a ‘thing’ that’s part of the business and more about building good, useful, simple experiences into what work is.
2. Collaborate with purpose
Come together, right now… Image: socialplanningtoronto.org
‘Start collaborating right now, using whatever you have’ was the message I took from Jane Hart‘s session. Jane focused on enterprise social networks like Yammer, and also gave a nod to platforms like Twitter, WhatsApp & Slack: whatever you have. For me, it’s important to give the tech a purpose and let the users see the benefits for themselves. Don’t just say: “Here’s Yammer, use it to collaborate!” Instead, say “Here’s a space to share documents, collaborate and have conversations as you go: why not give meetings, calls and emails a miss on your next project and give this a try?
If it’s broke, fix it. For the last couple of years, our team has tried to bring learning in line with what people use outside of work. YouTube-style videos, checklists and apps have all been part of this, and the user feedback is encouraging. It was interesting to hear Emma Pace from PA Consulting sharing how she led a project to modernise learning at the firm from the ground-up; it’ll be exciting to see what happens as more organisations look to do something similar, realising that courses aren’t the answer.
4. Put everything in context
Yes, this is a 3-cheese printer. Image: Motherboard.com
Contextual computing is revolutionising our lives. Ben Hammersley talked how we can apply a learning lens to this by taking cues from the internet of things. I think we need to take that one step further: by designing performance guidance to be smart enough to understand the context of the user, we’ll be creating useful, relevant, timely stuff at the point of need. Need is the important part. Don’t be like these guys from The Stupid S**t No-one Needs and Terrible Ideas Hackathon.
5. Tell a story
Cool story, bro. Image: MGOblog.com
Affective Context, a theory developed by Nick Shackleton-Jones, has been applied to what we do in our team for a while now. It was good to see David Guralnik and Julie Wedgwood exploring this in detail, and looking at ways to add meaning to information to make it stick through emotion and storytelling. I had a bit to say on this last year; you can watch the video here.
6. Continue? 3…2…1…
Mindfulness for work: v 2.0. Image: arcade-games.com
You can’t move in learning now without hearing someone mention gamification. Pete Jenkins asked us to go and explore how we can make learning more compelling by using gaming mechanics in a real-world context to improve performance. I think the industry needs to go a bit deeper than this, and to define the difference between games and gaming, because at the moment there’s confusion and they’re two very different things with different applications and outcomes.
7. Use your users
Get involved, but please… Don’t be one of THOSE people. Image: mashable.com
Video for learning is ubiquitous. Yet so many times I see it used in ways that people would never engage with ‘in real life’. When was the last time you did an interactive e-learning video on YouTube? So, it was refreshing to see Stephanie Dedhar chairing a session by Ian Slater from GE talk about the way they’ve put how to videos at the heart of their approach, and are focusing on user generated content by kitting-out their engineers with GoPro cameras, capturing how-to videos on the job, then sharing their short films on line.
And here are a few things I would’ve loved to see covered at Learning Tech, but didn’t:
- Audience/user focus
- User interface design
- Experience design
- Applying lessons from marketing to learning
- Performance guidance
Did I miss these? What did you take away from #LT16uk? What do you think to my key trends? Holler at me on Twitter and let me know.