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Reimagining eLearning in the New Digital Age

Digital transformation is changing how we do business, work, socialize, collaborate, communicate, etc. Technology is disrupting lot of traditional models and businesses. It is interesting to see how it is changing the way we learn, specifically in the enterprise context.

DigitalAge

I have been witnessing the evolution in eLearning technologies since last 15 years, either as an active contributor or as an observer. Many new methods and technologies were tried in the recent past, some succeeded to an extent and others not so. Despite all those attempts, delivering eLearning through web-based LMS and packaged content remained as a prominent method; thanks to AICC and SCORM for making them interoperable and stick around till now.

I believe the time has come to ask whether these traditional eLearning methods and technologies are really effective in the new Digital age. Many things have changed since these eLearning technologies first came into picture, below is a partial list:

  • Exponential growth of digitized content, data and knowledge in diverse forms within an organization and outside in public domain.
  • Empowerment of learners through new and economical technologies in the form of mobile devices, ubiquitous connectivity and social networks.
  • Increased work complexity due to broadened scope and ever changing org structures, job roles and skills. Which in turn is forcing employees to learn on-the-job instead of using a more traditional way of learning most of it upfront.
  • New enabling technologies like mobile, cloud, analytics, and the whole new shift towards Digital that is transforming business models, operational processes and customer experiences.

So is it going to change the way we learn, or are going to learn, in the Digital age? The answer is certainly Yes but the change is not going to happen suddenly. It is a paradigm shift and it will happen gradually, however it is happening already.

Enterprises must align their training initiatives to match these paradigm shifts to stay competitive in the digitally transformed world. We are seeing increased use of mobile, social and collaboration tools, and blended learning. Following are some examples of how the enterprises can move further in this direction:

  • Enable easy discovery of right and relevant information instead of the learner trying to navigate through a sea of knowledge. Take the RSS feeds, personalized mash-ups to next level to offer automated curation and present the results in a simple and intuitive manner.
  • Increase efficiency by leveraging mobile devices to deliver learning at the point of need and at learner’s location of choice. This will not only help the workers that are always on the move but has become a necessity in today’s globalized and virtual workplaces.
  • Engage your learners better by carefully embedding gamification and various social aspects, and while doing so enrich the learning by facilitating user generated content, collaboration and peer learning.
  • Boost learner engagement through short learning nuggets (micro-learning) and video based content, and also integrate this into your mobile delivery strategy. MOOC is a good example of this in higher education space, we need to apply similar principles in the enterprise context.
  • Develop in-depth learning analytics to understand learner behavior and measure training effectiveness. This can be done through innovative usage of the TinCan/xAPI or other relevant methods.

There is certainly lot more happening than what is discussed above, but the essence remains same. Just briefly discussing each of those initiatives will fill up many pages. The idea was to present some nascent thoughts and encourage a discussion. Please do share your views!

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