How technology can support learning and development
The rate at which technology is evolving is staggering and it is rare now to attend meetings without a plethora of iPhones, iPads and BlackBerrys buzzing and pinging in the background. One real challenge for learning and development (L&D) professionals is keeping abreast of what’s out there and how it can be used to initiate and enhance learning and development activity at work.
At LCPwe have no doubt of technology’s value in delivering individually-focused, just-in-time knowledge and how it can provide opportunities for greater collaboration and knowledge sharing but we do have concerns about some of the claims made in terms of engagement with the process. Just because information is easily accessible doesn’t always mean people will access it and one of the age-old problems is making self-directed learning materials interesting enough for people to use them.
Self-directed, targeted learning has been around a long time and despite the claims that classroom based learning is ineffective and expensive, in our experience a blended learning approach works best, with a mix of online and off line learning activities aligned to organisational goals.
When we attended the World of Learning Conference earlier this week I would estimate that approximately 50% of exhibitors were offering technology-based solutions and for those with a non-technical background the amount of information and choices can be overwhelming.
Here are just a few of the solutions currently available to L&D professionals and as I don’t come from an IT background I have provided links so you can read more about them:
Crowdsourcing this is about collaboration on a grand scale where technology allows opening up a problem to the public and has recently been used by a number politicians to get ‘buy-in’. The danger is that unless views are perceived as heard and implemented it can be seen as a PR exercise.
Cloud Computing this is internet- based computing where resources can be shared and information accessed on demand. It saves companies investing in expensive infrastructures themselves.
Podcasts and Vodcasts these are in effect audio and video blogs that can be downloaded and played on demand to suit the convenience of the listener and, like blogs, you can subscribe to them.
Social Learning Portals where individuals can access a one-stop shop of learning resources such as course materials and social networking groups.
M-learning stands for mobile learning where materials are accessed via mobile devices such as mobile phones, PDAs and MP3 players.
Using technology to deliver timely, bite-sized chunks of information is fantastic and as one IT company mentioned it means people no longer have to keep information in their head as they can instantly access it at the click of a button. I’m not sure how I feel about this as I like to keep information in my head and that, for me, is what learning is all about.
Please share your experiences, both good and bad, of how technology is used within your organisation to enhance learning. If this is an area you’re interested in, you should also view the helpful responses to my LinkedIn question on blended learning.
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