I took part in a very interesting panel discussion with several other keynote speakers during the Adult Learning Symposium recently, in Singapore.
The theme of the conference was ‘Future of Work, Future of Learning’, which sent a clear message to delegates that the two are inseparable. One of the questions from our audience, largely made up of learning and development professionals, was about how we could optimise learning in organisations. One of the panellists answered by saying that ‘Just in Time’ and ‘Just Enough’ learning should be possible and sustainable for workplace learning in most companies. I completely agreed with him, but added that we could go farther, and that ‘Just for Me’ learning is now also achievable, through a number of emerging trends in learning and development.
One trend is BYOD – bring your own device, which is happening in workplaces across the globe. Employers support their staff as they bring their personal devices such as smartphones and tablets into the workplace, enabling a technical infrastructure that scales to the screens being used. Clearly there are security and privacy issues to be addressed, but another trend is that learning is now becoming more untethered and we are witnessing a decline in the use of training rooms. Employers are discovering that productivity and effectiveness can be increased if learners stay in their workplace or remain mobile as they learn, rather than requiring them to travel to, and spend time in a ‘training place.’ Digital delivery of content can personalise learning, enabling learners to work at their own pace, and in a place and at a time that suits them. The final trend is the personal learning environment, which is made up of the learner’s own tools and technologies, their personal learning network, and any other content, events and experiences that help them to learn what is needed to be successful in their work.
We have come a long way since the ‘Just in Case’ curriculum. Now employees can be kept up to date and knowledgeable, and their skills developed personally, through the appropriate application of networked technologies. ‘Just for Me’ learning will epitomise the next decade of learning and development.
Photo courtesy of the Adult Learning Symposium
About the author – Steve Wheeler:
Steve Wheeler is Associate Professor of learning technology in the Plymouth Institute of Education at Plymouth University. I chair the EDEN Network of Academics and Professionals and I serve on the editorial boards of a dozen international journals, including the open access publications Research in Learning Technology (formerly ALT-J), Digital Culture and Education, EURODL and IRRODL. I’m a Fellow of the European Distance and E-learning Network (EDEN) and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. My research interests include learning technology, cybercultures, creativity and social media.
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