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The Future of Training – the “Google” Approach to Learning

Where is the future of training headed? Is it gamification and will we be taking training where it feels like we are playing a video game or is the future in virtual worlds where we will actually have simulations so real, that it feels like we are actually there?

Current eLearning courses are more engaging then they were 5 years ago and videos, animations and well-deigned learning activities are engaging learners more then ever before. However, where is the future going – is it to virtual worlds or to a gamification approach? Is this future too radical and are in-house training teams equipped with programmers who are able to make this technology leap – where is the future of training headed and are many organizations ready to make the shift or will they be left behind?

This is a question I asked myself recently when one of our clients approached me and asked me to speak to her team about where the future of training was headed. My client works for a fortune 500 company with a very conservative culture. Although her organization had been developing eLearning for many years, she was convinced that there was a better way to develop the eLearning than what her organization was currently doing. Her team produces eLearning courses that are predominantly 30-60 minutes in length, created in Captivate or Storyline and consisting predominantly of click and reveal activities. There was so much her team could do with her eLearning, simply by adding audio, 3D animation and varying the type of eLearning activities used. It would be so easy for us to pitch that our talented programmers could simply revamp their existing courses and make them more engaging for learners by adding 3D animations, simulations or videos – however I decided to show her where I believe the future of learning is truly heading – to a a micro-learning and “google” approach.

The Internet is now the number one place people go to access information and the average time Canadian’s spent online has shot up to nearly 75 hours a month, or about 2.5 hours a day (source – Globe and Mail “Video and mobile use doubles Canadians’ time spent online, research says” November 12, 2014).

Recent research also tells us this, in an eight-hour workday, millennials spend approximately 1.8 hours on social media sites (source - Millennial Generation Research, 2012 – US Chamber of Commerce). Why then would a millennial want to sit through 6-week new hire orientation program or long classroom based courses when they prefer to access information on-line?

The new generation in the workforce is demanding instant access to information – and why shouldn’t they – this is all they have known their entire life. Whether it is public information or behind a company’s firewall – employees of today and the future want information now, when they need it – which is why I believe the training industry will be forced to a “google” approach to learning.

Just like the google interface, a learning portal will be used to access all of a company’s training information. Learning will no longer be a long drawn out event and instead a learning portal will house all of a company’s corporate training. When you do a search, bite sized training information will appear in order of relevance based on key words in the search field. Gone are the days of 50 page participant guides or long eLearning course. Short infographics, videos or eLearning simulations, will appear that will take only minutes to read or take. Everything from videos, job aids, to on the job training will be accessed in bite-sized chunks that can be read and easily understood before being applied on the job.

Our talented Pathways programmers have created a mock up of where I believe the future of learning is headed – to a google approach where eLearning and training will no longer be restricted to classroom events or eLearning modules tied to a Learning Management System (LMS) but to a place where learning will be just in-time and available in bite sized chunks – just when an employees needs it!

Welcome to the future of learning!

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