Monday, March 17, 2014

It's been a while

You may or may not have noticed that I've been out of the loop for a while.

Since I am now in a new role, where the majority of my clients are late adopters of digital learning, I thought that it would be fitting to go there my first time back in the saddle.

There seems to be an assumption that moving into the digital space is a big, scary deal. But consider the mistakes that have already been made, that the late adopter can avoid. If - that is - the late adopter is prepared to learn from the experience of those who are further down the path.

I have found, though, that some late adopters are reluctant to go that route, so they wind up dealing with poor uptake for the very reasons early adopters struggled. But the early adopters persevered and found all sorts of ways of making digital resources more engaging. The wheel has been invented. We have figured out a lot of things along the way.

We've figured out that throwing content on a screen does not constitute elearning. We've discovered that people don't actually read screens for the most part - they scan them. So we've learned to work with that.

We've figured out that workplace learning is more about what you want people to do than what you want them to know. So we've learned to design solutions accordingly.

We have moved past the idea that e-learning needs to be the complete solution. In the early days of 'blended learning', there was precious little blending going on. We were so excited with our digital goodie bag, that we abandoned everything else for a while, there. We're getting better at it now. It finally dawned on us that (and I forget who originated this expression) if you want to learn to swim, you're going to have to get wet at some point. So we learnt how to look at a learning requirement and allocate modalities as appropriate.

We figured out that throwing the boring stuff online so that we could do the cool stuff in workshops also didn't work. If it was boring when it was in a workshop, it was going to be way more boring (and way easier to opt out of) on a screen.

We've figured out how to go mobile. We can use tablets, smart phones, mp4 players... all that stuff.

We've rediscovered the value of point of need support, and figured out how to design digital performance support tools.

We've come to realise that we don't need to be precious. That the 'bloke at the next desk' is a valid and valuable resource. Some of us even factor them in to our solutions.

That's not all, but it's a pretty good start. And instead of following the trail to where the early adopters now find themselves, the late adopters can simply choose to be airlifted into that space and join the conversation. It's an exciting journey...and I'm curious as to where it's going next.

How about you?

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