L&D QuestionTime – Matt Turner

In your opinion what is the biggest anxiety within the world of learning and development at the moment?

I think the biggest anxiety in L&D right now is the L&D community becoming too introspective, forgetting to focus on what matters to people ‘at work’. They are our audience and we need to do what is right for them, rather than impose what we think they ought to do or like.

We may know more about learning and training, but they know what they need to do their job better. I’m not sure if that is a threat or an anxiety, but it certainly makes me anxious!

Who or what is informing your thinking around L&D?

• Laura Overton and Jane Hart for all things learning; they are always well informed and supporting their thinking with sound research
• Lucy Kellaway (FT) for business, wit and general sanity
• Wired magazine and Click (BBC) for technology
• The New Scientist magazine for knowledge and human behaviour insights

 What is the most exciting innovation on the horizon for learning?

The left-field one is giving electrical impulses to the brain – Trans-cranial Direct Current Stimulation – and the whole ‘Limitless’ power of that appears really fascinating to me. However, given its DIY, steam-punk image and the potential ethical and even health & safety issues, I think applying it to L&D will always be very esoteric.

So it’s tempting to say Virtual Reality (VR), although this will take a while to trickle down to the learning mainstream. If used well, rather than just ‘simulations’ VR will allow us to learn and interact together (which is why face to face is still so popular).

The challenge will be to ensure the investment in the L&D does not fall short, making VR the poor relation of large budget consumer applications; just like e-learning has always struggled to get close to the experience of consumer video-games.

What “game changers” would you like to see and why?

I’d like to see less focus on technology for technology’s sake and more focus on human interaction. Technology should enable humans to learn, communicate and share together rather than in isolation – as this is a fundamental human need.

Within 70:20:10, I’d like more flexibility for the learners so that they can pick and choose exactly how they want to learn…and for business models from suppliers to reflect this.

I would also like to see more ways to help people find what works for them; this could be via social learning platforms and technology but also ‘go to’ people in all organisations (or outsourced) that can quickly help learners identify what would work best for them from the vast choice available.

What do you think the world of L&D will look like by 2020?

Similar to now. Face-to-face will always be popular – it fulfils that key social need. There will be continued growth in live online training for a similar reason. I also see even more ‘just in time’ offerings, particularly video.

There will likely be a greater concentration of larger training and e-learning organisations with a second tier of businesses offering interesting resources supporting learning –  for either identifying needs or sharing learning and resources.

I see the obsession with measurement making way for an approach that focuses more on helping worker get exactly what they need and then leaving them to it. Well, we can but hope!

What advice would you give your 21-year-old self?

Never try to predict the future 

About Matt Turner:

Matt is Director of LiveTime Learning and has worked in L&D for over 15 years and spoken at major industry events including EADL, Learning Technologies, Learning & Skills, Virtual Learning Show, VISIR, World of Learning and more.

He lives in Brighton with his family and various animals.

Connect on Twitter @livetimelearn

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