Vox pops: learning technology highlights in 2012

What’s on your learning technology horizon for 2013 and what were your learning highlights and lowlights of 2012? Some elearning award winners and learning technology experts share their review of the last 12 months, and their predictions for the year ahead.

Donald Taylor, chairman of the Learning Technologies conference
“The big workplace learning trend for 2013 will be a continued blurring of boundaries. L&D will find its turf increasingly encroached on by other departments – sales and operations in particular – using easy learning technologies for performance impact. We will see more workplace learning provision from educational establishments, and the continued blurring of global boundaries, with more online course provision across cultures and countries. And pervasive technologies will mean the further spread of informal learning and user-generated learning that requires no input from the training department. The biggest change for L&D in all this? Adapting to this new world and stepping up to a new strategic role to manage it all.”

Clive Shepherd, director, Onlignment
“For me, the highlight of 2012 was seeing real evidence of a big improvement in formal eLearning, which is becoming much less tell-and-test and much more inductive, with more storytelling and interactive scenarios. We’re also seeing a big shift from courses to resources, which will continue throughout 2013. And don’t even get me started on video, which will be everywhere. Did I mention mobile devices?”

Martin Baker, CEO, the Charity Learning Consortium and MD, the Corporate eLearning Consortium
“A real highlight of 2012 has to be listening to Edward de Bono at Learning Technologies – he broke all the ‘rules’ of engaging your audience, but you could hear a pin drop, as the audience hung on his every word. His central message, of always looking for better ways to do things, really resonated with me, and is central to all the work that I do. Hearing Tom Kuhlmann talk at our workshop about the ‘democratisation of learning’ was also a real light bulb moment, and has helped to shape our thinking about Global Giveback UK, a fantastic new initiative which we’re asking the learning technologies industry to support – we’re asking them and corporate organisations to donate their learning resources and expertise to charities. We’ll be making a big song and dance about this at Learning Technologies, so this is very much on my horizon for 2013!”

Suzie Micallef, talent development and coaching manager at The Children’s Society and winner of the Dedicated elearning Professional of the year in the Charity Learning Awards 2012
“The use of social media has to take priority in the coming year.  It’s the way so many people learn about things work and news-related.  As new people enter organisations, the more we are going to have to cater for their preferred way of learning and communicating.  This includes the use of tablets and mobile devices to learn on-the-go.  It’s just how we do it that is the hard part…I think it’s about not being scared to try new ways and to ask people what they think and how they prefer to learn…”

Velda Barnes, L&D manager, Addaction, One of the UK’s largest specialist drug and alcohol treatment charities
“The biggest challenge we have faced in 2012 is embedding our online learning into the culture of the organisation. We have seen an increase in investment in L&D which comes with very high expectations about what we can deliver – online learning is the cornerstone of achieving our targets. Effective communication, consultation and collaboration with all our stakeholders has been fundamental in ensuring acceptance of, and engagement with, eLearning as a credible learning intervention which is now embedded into our organisational policies and procedures. We’re looking forward to building on our achievements in 2013 and aim to make our online learning a one-stop-shop for all internal L&D activities.”

Martin Botting, organisational development manager, the Aldingbourne Trust – a West Sussex based, enterprising charity which supports adults with learning disabilities
“For me the learning technology highlight of the year came from Clive Shepherd at the Charity Learning Consortium annual Conference. He spoke about ‘The new blended learning’ and described how blended learning relies on good decision making, and how defining the learning blend should be put through a three part filter of strategy, social context and media selection. This is a great tool to select the correct learning medium before you start out, rather than just wandering through the process reacting to other influences.”

Tim Drewitt, Learning Technologies Specialist at Eversheds, one of the largest and most innovative international law firms in the world
“2012 continued to be dominated by much hype around mobile learning. Winning the Legal Education & Training Group ‘Best Use of Technology’ award for a simple, technology-lite, mobile-friendly, legal case update training initiative proved that mobile learning needn’t be complicated – and that traditional instructional design theory might even be overkill for some learning on the go. In 2013, I want to see more serious adoption of m-Learning as a broader learning channel, rather than the sporadic one-off projects that currently make the headlines. I also wish for more m-Learning technology solutions that are bug-free and device-neutral.”

Nicola Tyzack, organisational development administrator, the National Autistic Society, the UK’s leading charity for people affected by autism, and commended in the Charity Learning Awards 2012
“The highlight of 2012 for me was getting a commendation at the Charity Learning Awards. The last few years have been tough on the economy and we have strived to deliver the required learning with less time and money. This award cemented the fact that we have put together a programme that has ticked these boxes and have finally managed to get our staff excited about eLearning and technology. My hope for 2013 is to embrace things like WebEx, use of video and mobile devices to really move onwards and upwards with the learning and development for the organisation.”

Bob Little, Learning Technologies PR consultant, industry commentator and author of the new eBook Perspectives on Learning Technologies
“The year that saw the 25th birthday of the eLN – reminding us that the learning technologies sector is not as young as we might think – it also saw the growth of a new niche in today’s online learning world: the rapidly growing popularity of tablet computers has prompted the growth of learning materials for this genre. In addition, 2012 saw great strides made in dynamic learning personalisation. Achieving true online learning content personalisation and contextualisation may not now be very far away.”

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