Learning Light spots key learning and development trends at Learning 2009

Learning Light identifies key learning technology trends in the USA, from attending Elliot Masie’s Learning 2009 conference, held in Florida in November.

At Learning 2009, the principal issue seemed to be the key role that learning and development can play in the present difficult economic circumstances, according to Learning Light, a company limited by guarantee organisation which focuses on promoting the use of e-learning and learning technologies. A team of UK learning technology specialists, including Learning Light’s David Patterson, along with UKTI’s Nigel Goddard, Assessment 21’s Gerard Lennox and Sean Gilligan of Webanywhere  joined the 1,300 or so delegates at Learning 2009 – which was subtitled ‘Learning in uncertain times’.

Historically, hard times prompt reductions in training budgets, so a key theme for delegates was the need to maintain the value and currency of learning and development in the eyes of corporate decision makers. This meant that conference sessions focused on return on investment (ROI); ‘virtual (world) learning’; achieving value from existing learning management systems (LMSs); the need to develop effective partnerships to deliver cost effective solutions, and how social networking can influence learning.

Elliot Masie, the event’s organiser and world renowned learning technology ‘guru’ advocated dropping the ‘e’ from e-learning, given the all-pervasive role in corporate learning that e-learning now plays. Masie argued that e-learning had evolved, and its future highlights will be around the use of video in learning and the concept of ‘falling forward’ – in that e-learning needs to become more challenging.

Masie also pleaded for both greater research into the pedagogy of learning to address learning styles and a realisation that social networking will play a growing role in learning – including the use of ratings, peer teaching, project based learning and structured competition/collaborative learning.

The conference explored ‘what learning would look like in 2019’ but there was also a general fascination among the delegates with what Google is doing – or might do – with e-learning.

“The use of video as a medium to put across learning messages was prevalent in a number of sessions,” said Lennox “It could be seen in a variety of ways – such as using commercial DVDs such as ‘Twelve Angry Men’ for negotiation training at Google, YouTube style homemade video clips for updating the workforce in one of the USA’s largest chains of pawnbrokers, or for creating immersive, TV soap style situational training at KFC.”

Patterson believes that this illustrates a trend towards more social, informal learning where knowledge is gained by ‘sharing stories’ as much as by formal learning practices.


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