MOOC, Gamification, Augmented Reality, Predictive Learning etc…. New technologies (EdTech) in learning is introduced more often. Increased need to develop our employees combined with rapid technological innovations means that we are facing a dramatic change in the way training is conducted in our companies and organizations. In two articles I describe why we need to use more technology in education and what we need to do to really make use of the technology.

Right now there is a major growth for technology-based learning. The global eLearning market this year is SEK 880 billion with an annual growth of 20%. It’s currently one of the hottest industries for venture capitalists in Silicon Valley.

Why is it like this?

It is not only the education industry that is in strong transition. Many industries have a high rate of transformation right now, from manufacturing industry, to telecom, banking and healthcare. In all these industries, technology is a driving factor. As a result, the lack of key skills and the demands for transition have never been greater than it is now.

A percentage of business leaders who see the lack of key skills as the biggest threat

Brist på nyckelkompetenser

There are also other forces driving development; access to the internet, broadband, mobile platforms, cloud services, etc.

In English there is the word “disruptive change”. meaning development that completely changes an industry, such as the travel industry. In 2000, 5% of all trips were booked online. A common thought was that a travelagent was needed to organise a trip, that the customer needed personal service. More than 85% of trips are now booked online. An entire industry is transformed and the professionals are gone.

So where do we stand in learning & development today?

I’d say the journey has barely started. Some companies use technology in learning, such as Ericsson, but most people I know use between 5-10% technology-based learning. In many cases, the training departments do not depend on the companies other activities.

However, EdTech does not automatically mean that learning will be improved. Therefore I am going to start my series of articles by asking myself what the benefits new technology are.

What is the benefit of learning?

How do we define benefits within learning? I usually talk about two dimensions. The first dimension is that, what we learn is translated into results in the job. I call it the effect of learning.

Here is an example of assessing the impact of learning according to Tony O’Driscoll:

  • Only 15% of employees’ performance depends on learning, the rest depends on motivation, leadership, process, environment, etc.
  • Only 15% of the learning is formally arranged learning, the rest is informal learning.
  • Only 15% of the skills learned in a course are applied in the job.

The conclusion of the example is that the effect of formal learning on employee performance is less than 1%! Can this really be the case?

The second factor is about efficiency in the development and delivery of learning activities. E.g. that a day in classrooms reaches about 15-20 people and costs about 10-15,000 SEK per attendant while learning just-in-time has an unlimited reach and cost approx. 2-3,000 SEK per attenant per day.

Nyttan av EdTech

At the bottom left, courses that are not adapted to the unique needs of different target groups, which are conducted as one-off sessions without any element of practice or support at work, can be added, which are only delivered in classrooms where employees also need to spend time on to travel.

How EdTech creates value

So how does the new technology contribute to creating benefits? Here I quickly review some typical new phenomena and how they contribute to the impact of learning and the effectiveness of developing and delivering learning activities. I do not further describe the new phenomena/technology. If you are not sure what, for example, a MOOC is I recommend my webinar “New technology brings new opportunities in learning”.

MOOC/Course Library

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) allow a teacher to reach large numbers of students. It provides greater reach and speed when 1000 students take the course instead of 20. The modularized content, the course being scattered in time with elements of real tasks and collaboration with other students also increases the effect of learning. In this way, a MOOC creates both increased effect and efficiency in learning. The current, very large amount of video/elearning courses provided by sites such as skilledup.com, lynda.com, opensesame.com, provides access to high-quality content at low cost. Companies that develop and deliver general courses themselves have much to gain in cost-effectiveness. The same applies to those who buy external local classroom courses for subjects that are general on the market.

coursera

“Smart LMS” – Predictive Learning, Learning Portals and skill based learning

By a “smart LMS”, I mean an LMS that can suggest learning based on your tasks, skill gap, your past performance, what you liked, what others thought was good, etc. A bit like an “Amazon” or “Netflix” for learning. Of course, this increases the proportion of education that is relevant to the student. My measurements show that only 15-20% of the employees in several organizations think courses they have taken have been relevant to their needs. Employees also want to get suggestions on other types of learning activities such as videos, instructions, websites, experts to follow, etc.

A more relevant range of learning activities increases the impact of learning. My experience is also that when you go from general courses for many target groups to more role-based learning, you can release 60-70% of the time students spend, which makes role-based learning very cost effective.

Technology for learning at work

These include new ways of delivering training and instructions directly in systems, such as the sales system. Mobile platforms (or glasses like Google Glasses) with video-on-demand or “Augmented Reality” provide the opportunity to move learning and instructions to the place where the work is done. This ensures the effect of the work, that you do not forget what you have learned once you apply it. This type of learning is usually “how-to-do” knowledge. It can be recorded by the experts themselves in short periods of time. It affects the cost of development and delivery of learning not to mention the reach and speed of reaching out with new ways of working.

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Social platforms

Social platforms with forums, activity streams, followers, knowledge sharing, etc. are now an integral part of most LMS. Collaboration and knowledge exchange have always existed at an informal level within smaller groups. Social platforms scale up the scope of collaboration and knowledge sharing. They provide an opportunity to capture experience and knowledge in the business and thus support to develop new capabilities in the organization while increasing the scope of conversations, collaboration and knowledge sharing between employees.

Gamification

“Gamification” means building goals, points, levels, leaderboards and other game mechanisms into LMS and courses. The aim is to increase motivation and commitment to wanting to develop in an area. It is not as clear how it contributes to efficacy and efficiency. “Gamification” instead work by increasing the willingness to learn rather than directly contributing to impact and efficiency.

nytta3

In the picture I have placed different new phenomenons/technology to show how they contribute to the benefit. My conclusion is that the new technology strongly contributes to the development of power and efficiency in what we offer in education departments.

Is it enough to just procure EdTech?

Does technology solve the problems just because it is being put in place? Will an organization that procures a Video-on-Demand (VoD) platform automatically get the benefits? No, it’s not quite that simple:

  • The organization needs to understand how VoD is to be used in relation to other learning methods.
  • There must be knowledge among users and experts to create movies and good presentations.
  • There must be a culture that says it is “ok” to share, for managers,oneself and for colleagues.
  • There must be an organization that can encourage. In education, we need to be able to encourage the creation of videos but even more understand the approach behind just-in-time and how it matches other learning methods.
  • There must be communication that allows users to find and use the recordings.
  • There must be responsibility for structuring and moderating the channels established on the platform.

In short, it is about the organization’s ability to work with learning. It is also about the implementation of new technologies. Too many studies show failed technology implementations.

In the next article, I’ll describe how to successfully introduce new technology to create the benefits for your organization.

If you want to hear more, you can also sign up for my webinar on the 1st of October

MOOC, Video-on-demand, Social Platforms and other new technologies – how it can be effectively used!

Posted by Johan Skoglöf

Johan är visionär och senior konsult med missionen att hjälpa företag att skapa framtidens lärande organisation. Med över 25 år i branschen och kunder som Ericsson, Volvo, Scania, SEB, Handelsbanken, HM och ICA har Johan en bred erfarenhet i hur lärande organisationer skapas.

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