Technology hasn’t just provided ease of access to education and training. It’s also made us more efficient, in time, cost and resources. Within training, it’s changed the entire way people learn. From a one-size-fits-all course to bespoke tailored programs that are designed to be led by the learner, taking their perspectives and preferences in mind to create deeper learning experiences.
Senior Learning Designer at Insitu Digital, Martyn Bull is responsible for shaping learning programmes to meet the individual goals of companies. Martyn said that the advances of technology have allowed companies to create effective digital learning experiences, that transcend ‘sit and learn’ programs of the past: “Technology has opened up cost-effective learning that is personalised to the needs of individual learners and can easily be kept fresh and current. Advances such as tracking learning progress now allow managers, mentors and coaches to identify how well a learner is advancing through a programme and offer support as required.
“Learning has become more fluid, meaning individuals can take charge of their own programme, rapidly finding what they need to accomplish their tasks and solve problems. This leads to a deeper ‘learning experience’, one that is driven by the learner, in that they access the content in their own order and at their convenience, rather than having to go through a linear process that might be retreading old ground. This is particularly important when teaching complex subjects to learners, who perhaps may not deal with such issues day-to-day, as they access and go over troublesome topics.
“The advance of video and interactive modules have also been huge for the industry. It’s brought an entirely new sense of learning, allowing individuals to engage and interact with the content. It can be more effective for some sectors than others but used properly, it ties the programme closer to the desired learning goals.”
Moore’s Law observes that computer processing speed doubles every eighteen months, a notion Intel predicts will continue for the next decade. Given the ongoing advances in AI and computer learning, technological advance isn’t going to slow down anytime soon. Just as older tech becomes obsolete thanks to swift development, so too do older learning management systems (LMS) and training content. If your business is using course content that is five years old, you may quickly find that you begin to lag behind your more agile competitors.
Head of Production at Insitu Digital, Thomas Delfs, oversees all production output, as well as keeping an interest in emerging technologies. Thomas said that technology provides modern learning systems with greater flexibility: “An outdated or ineffective internal legacy system can cost organisations vast amounts of resources as they try to maintain them and improve the learning experience of their staff. This can be particularly true for larger businesses that are less agile, and often have to roll out systems across several departments.
“Today, with proper training and support, the production and delivery of elearning is more readily available to these teams of people. By implementing a scalable learning platform that can be easily updated, businesses can be cost-effective when they modernise.
“It’s very easy to have a business learning culture that can be 10 years or more out of step with current best practice. It takes a lot of determination from senior managers to step back and critically reflect on the learning culture within a business and identify how the right shift can lead to an improvement in businesses performance. This is especially true if it may mean a large initial investment in a new programme, despite it likely being more cost-effective in the long run.”
So what’s next for managing directors who want to keep themselves and their staff at the top of the tree? Insitu Digital suggest the future may not necessarily be in new development, but in how technology changes the way we learn.
Producer at Insitu Digital, Haydn Jones said: “Whilst it’s attractive to prophesy about AI, VR, AR and voice interfaces, I think the biggest disruptor to the industry will be how learning experiences are combined with business goals and neuroscience, to achieve more impactful training and better business performance. However, this will only work if future technology innovations are thoughtfully applied by managers. By focussing solely on the advances themselves, albeit exciting, organisations risk wasting resources if they do not consider how new learning technologies can be best used and applied to meet their goals.
“In terms of the future of access, I think we are already starting to see a shift in the usability of learning portals - away from the cumbersome programmed interfaces, and more towards Netflix/iPlayer style TV interfaces, with more personalisation for learners. This will also provide HR and learning managers with stronger, more representative analytics, meaning companies can make smarter decisions around connecting learners with the right content and platform.”
In conclusion, the future is bright for businesses that embrace the benefits of a modern, adaptable learning programme that actively engages learners, rather than passively dictating content. From entry-level staff to Managing Directors, as learning technology grows smarter, so do we.