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Learning Technologies Digital Days: Challenge and change – L&D in 2022

The future of learning technology

In this blog, team member Pru covers what was discussed by Amanda Nolen and Donald H. Taylor on the first day of Learning Technologies Digital Days, 10 focused sessions across three days looking at L&D today and how to build for the future. 

 

What is L&D

Learning and development in today’s world is a combination of how learning has integrated with technologies and how it is developing the work culture. L&D includes engagement with learning and overcoming obstacles with elearning. Amanda Nolen, co-founder of NilesNolen and Donald H Taylor, chair of the Learning Technologies Conference both conversed about the challenges faced in the industry and how they can be dealt with through business integration and engaging strategies. 

 

Trends and surveys

The Global Sentiment Survey for 2022 covers what is happening in the word of learning technologies. Over 3,500 participants from over 112 countries took part in the survey to discuss trends and how they change geographically. 

Trends seemed to change in each region based on economic circumstances or what is popular in that specific region. For example, microlearning is unpopular in South Africa but is a growing trend in the northern hemisphere.  Mobile learning is also popular in South Africa, which could be down to cost or the way learners choose to engage with learning content. 

The survey showed how trends change geographically but also what trends are the most important such as microlearning, analytics, skills based management and reskilling/upskilling. Among the discussion, learner skills were most popular among the panel.

Global L7&D trends

 

Reskilling/upskilling

Where reskilling involves gaining new skills for a potential new role or to shift into another sector, upskilling is the progression of skills in the current role but in another direction. Gaining additional skills remains number one in learning and development because of the rise of automation including needing new skills in a new world created by the pandemic.

Both Donald and Amanda agreed that there is a real need for reskilling/upskilling when it comes to learning technologies and elearning, but how courses are delivered and to what type of learners, depending on location and demographic, was the debate.

 

Overcoming obstacles in L&D

Skills-based management is a common phrase to build skills for a learner or within an organisation. A mistake many organisations make is combining the phrases ‘training’, and ‘recruiting’ as it can be misleading in what you want to do with learning content, interfering with personalisation. When used in the right way, reskilling/upskilling can be a beneficial advantage in business proposals when it comes to stakeholders and budgeting.

When it comes to L&D, the big question is, what is it and what does it do for an organisation? From saving money to mitigating a risk, it’s a matter of rethinking your strategy if you can’t answer the question. The speakers argued that, when we use learning technologies, we should ask ourselves why we are using them to begin with. L&D technologies like interactive content and gamified courses help to understand what skills people have – whether it is through self assessment or testing – as well as developing skills in an engaging way.

LT Digital Days slide

This very point addresses the obstacle of getting stakeholders onboard to help budget learning content. To put forward why we are using learning technologies in the first place through analytics and algorithms would really overcome barriers in understanding why new technologies in a learning environment are needed. This was reflected in what the biggest L&D challenges in 2022 (Global Sentiment Survey). Budget and resources, stakeholder enthusiasm and staying hybrid or digital were popular but the biggest L&D challenge was engagement.

Even when virtual learning and webinars may have proved to be convenient and safe, it has resulted in exhaustion or ‘Screen Fatigue’. This is where learning and development comes in and is a point that could be directly addressed by immersive, interactive, elearning content. Microlearning and gamification definitely break up long modules and boring webinars into engaging courses that are different to screen recordings.

 

Conclusion

Using learning content in a way that addresses the needs of an organisation in an engaging way is key to hitting your goals and seeing a positive growth in learning and development. Measuring the impact in a business case through data and analytics helps you understand learning content more and solve future tech issues in learner engagement.

Growing learning technologies will be the centre of the industry, making it more about the business and how innovative, interactive learning content can open up to new avenues. If Digital Days are a sample of what the Learning Technologies event will be like in May, then the conference promises to be an informative one. Book your free pass here.

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