Eight key trends for learning and development

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Learning Technologies 2014: Eight key trends for learning and development
Personnel Today – February 2014
This article gives a brief summary of what was trending at the recent Learning Technologies Exhibition held at London Olympia on 29th and 30th January 2014. MTP also visited the event so we were interested to read an alternative view.
The concept of ‘Generation C’ – the connected generation – runs through the piece and it is suggested that the development of social learning provides learners with more resources.  These are accessed through a range of on-demand devices and platforms, through ever widening work and personal networks.  Employees are becoming increasingly used to accessing TV, film and radio at times and places convenient to them, catching up during train journeys or in waiting rooms, and any blended learning programmes need to be able to offer this same flexibility.
Another trend suggested by the article is the increased importance of understanding how the brain works and how this should shape learning solutions.  We agree that this is important but certainly not a new concept for experienced learning professionals. We have previously reported  that neuroscientists disagree on how the brain works (see blog post Brain Networks and Management Behaviours in August 2013) so the trend should be for those of us involved in learning design  to be careful not to adopt any theory as the ‘right answer’.  
The article also describes MOOCs – Massive Open Online Courses – as a new phenomenon, by which academic institutions allow complete course content to be made available over the internet.  As we have mentioned in previous blogs, the potential appears at first sight to be considerable but, in MTP’s experience, companies remain wary of this technology and are increasingly locking down their IT systems, not opening up their networks as this article suggests. We also believe that any such content needs to be short, punchy and tailored to the business context.  There is also the wider problem that such products may have to be accessed by learners through personal rather corporate networks, thus further blurring the work-life balance.
The major omission from this article is any mention of Virtual Classroom (VC) technology which is transforming the way global companies are delivering their management training courses. VC’s now represent 25% of MTP’s business and we are at the forefront of delivering live, interactive courses across time zones.  Our view is confirmed by a survey conducted during the Learning Technologies Exhibition which found that over 25% of 2014 Learning and Development budgets will be spent on VC’s and that these are a fundamental part of learning strategies for those companies taking part in the survey. (See full budget analysis below).

So, to conclude, the article is a useful summary for those unable to attend the event at London Olympia but the surprising omission of any discussion of Virtual Classroom technology makes it somewhat incomplete.  

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