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It’s March, and it’s that time of year again when companies are analysing Q4 2012 and Q1 2013 data. Companies are analysing programming efforts on the past year’s accomplishments, and making adjustments based on lessons learned. While doing our homework on trends in 2012, Designing Digitally, Inc. stumbled upon a fascinating summary article written by Jessica Athey, 4 Trends in Online Training & eLearning in 2012 for TrainingIndustry.com, concerning some of the more important trends to “emerge” into the public conscience last year in terms of digital training initiatives. However, we feel Designing Digitally, Inc. has been trumpeting these initiatives for longer than that, and we’re glad the world is catching up to us a bit!
With everyone getting on-board the mobile/hand-held technologies train these days, it’s not at all that surprising businesses are scrambling to leverage the huge popularity of smart phones and tablet computers for eLearning applications. With the almost universal accessibility to the Internet that mobile devices provide, as well as their ease-of-use HR pros, trainers, and teachers are using the convenience of mobile learning applications to help new hires, vacationing staffers, and traveling workers to develop new skills and get up-to-speed more quickly than ever before.
As Ms. Athey writes in her article:
“Mobile delivery makes it easy for employees to access just-in-time training, performance support, checklists and more at the most convenient times for them. This could be while waiting for an appointment, during lunch or any other time an employee is on-the-go. This type of functionality, convenience and ease of use is exactly what makes mobile technologies unique and powerful for online training.”
We couldn't agree more.
Some businesses and sectors have had a bit of a difficultly grasping the nature of “gamification” since in some ways it seems contrary to the nature of the business world as they know it. That said, work styles and work life are changing dramatically as twenty-somethings enter the work world with very different ideas and expectations about what they want from their employment situations. With altruism, flexible schedules, and tele-commuting more popular than ever before, even the process for instilling knowledge and processes into new workers is changing, and gamification is one potent part of that new process.
As Athey writes in her article:
“The term 'gamification' has received a lot of traction in the eLearning and training community. Some learning professionals imply that gamification means simply utilizing games in courses, but others note that it does not mean strictly using actual games but rather 'gaming mechanics,' according to Scott Lake from the Brandon Hall Group. Gamification 'plays' on our innate desire to compete and win by including game-like characteristics as a way to enhance training and motivate employee participation.”
Gamification is a fun way to learn and to teach on-the-job skills while speaking the language of the new workers coming into the workforce, who have been raised on digital games since their childhood.
Online learning is growing tremendously for stay-at-home students, distance learning collegiates, and for new hires and trainees needing to be instructed uniformly in processes and protocols at their new jobs. HR professionals recognize the liberating and empowering use of eLearning to provide consistent, monitorable education, and training for all workers, and that the new method of providing eLearning in smaller chapters and bite-sized bits that are easier to “digest” than voluminous coursework is being explored and watched by many educators and trainers. Some say smaller-sized modules and training materials are just dumbing-down students and catering to shorter attention spans, while others cite new modes of communication such as mobile tablets and phones, as well as flex-time work schedules, as proof that the traditional 9-to-5 world is fading, and compact lessons accessible “whenever” make learning more convenient and thus more enjoyable for students.
As Athey points out in her article:
“In this 'information now' era where access to information is conveniently at our fingertips at any given time, learners do not typically want to delve into text-heavy or time-consuming eLearning content; Learners want quick, bite-size pieces of information. It is much easier to progress through a course in smaller chunks and much easier to retain information when we can process and reflect on information in small sections.”
Designing Digitally, Inc. is committed to the new ways of learning that technology is allowing us to develop, yet we also believe in the quality and workmanship that has been the hallmark of production values in America since the Industrial Revolution began. We look forward to meeting and talking with you about your education and training needs in for Q2 through Q4 of 2013 – please reach out to us by clicking this link. You can also read Jessica Athey's complete article, 4 Trends in Online Training & eLearning in 2012, here.