INSIGHTS

Learning Technologies
Seamus Hand
By Seamus Hand | Feb 2016

Learning Technologies 2016 | What we Learned!

Top Topics and Trends from Learning Technologies 2016! #LT16

A long foot soak was required after a very busy two days at Learning Technologies 2016. The PulseLearning team has been catching up on the main take-away topics and trends presented and discussed during this year’s conference.

Conference Tagline: Mobile First! To date, the industry create for a desktop audience followed by mobile. However, today we need to consider development for a mobile audience first followed by desktop.

1. Mobile Learning

A popular conference session was held by Geoff Stead of Work Learn Mobile entitled, Using the Power of Mobile for Learning at Work.

Work Learn Mobile was an idea that started for Geoff while working with Qualcomm. Geoff and his team developed an internal app store to pull together all mobile apps across the business. Qualcomm has 31,000 very smart and very busy employees. They spend their working days surrounded by mobile technology, so by utilizing applications for training and on-the-job requirements, the aim was to make their lives just that little bit easier.

A key message to take away was that a three-hour training course does not turn into a three-hour app experience. You need to convert the core messages into different, mobile-friendly modes.

Geoff challenged the normal expectation of learning and development (L&D):

1. No training is mandatory for employees (with the exception of induction).
2. L&D create what they think is appropriate training, essentially a company-wide app store.
3. L&D do not track completion. The LMS is disabled. Instead they use analytics to see which training apps the learners are consuming
4. L&D do not curate the courses. There is social curation. Employees make powerful teachers so we need to provide them with the tools.
5. When learners can vote based on their engagement levels it refreshes your thinking on the role of L&D

View Geoff Stead’s recent blog post, Cutting Through The Hype: Top Trends in Learning Technologies, that summarizes the current state of Learning Technology.

2. Gamification

A simple solution is to add gaming mechanics to your eLearning courseware. The first step in gamification must be to answer the following key questions:
1. What is the business value?
2. What motivates the learner?

Based on the answers to these questions, organizations can understand the required motives to develop effective game mechanics.

A stand out conference session was by Peter Jenkins from Gamification+, entitled: Gamification at large and in learning: what can we learn from elsewhere?

During the session, he identified four level of fun to consider when introducing gamification for your learners:

• Easy Fun
It is simple and fun game mechanics to engage the learner
• Hard Fun
It challenges the learners, which motivates them to work hard in order to progress
• People Fun
Learners complete tasks together as a group or a team.
Example: Cancer Research Data shows that for charity walks and cycle events, people who  compete as a team raise 100% more money than their peers who compete individually.
• Serious Fun
Serious fun where tangible rewards are given to learners.
Example: World Food Programme: For each answer, the learner gets right the WFP will donate 10   grains of rice to help end hunger.

Read Peter’s most recent article: Achieving Mastery Through Gamification

3. Apps for Learning
As the amount of video added to courseware gets bigger, it becomes less practical to expect to stream this courseware from a server or LMS due to bandwidth issues and the consumption of personal data allowance and associated cost.

A solutions discussed during the conference was to create the training courses as an application (in iOS, Android and Windows ), which would allow for the once-off downloading of all assets to the training application, which will retains the assets on the device.

The consensus from various organizations is that the creating an application for Android may only add 10-20% to the training course development costs but creating an iOS version and getting approval to load the application to the App Store is more costly and problematic.

The following concerns also need to be kept in mind for application development:
Apple dictates the structure of your content.
Very few applications will automatically report to an LMS for tracking and reporting unless built specifically to report to an identified LMS.
 Consider the ongoing costs of maintenance, support and the helpdesk for the application

A seminar hosted by e-Learningwmb pushed the idea of a totally mobile development environment as well as mobile courseware. The development tool as well as the training courseware resides within an application. The goal is for the learner to seamlessly move from reviewing the content on their phone on their commute to work to finishing it on their desktop in the office, or at home in the evening on their tablet devices (iOS or Android).

You can view the presentation by downloading it, not surprisingly, from the Android Play or Apple App store. Search  for elearningwmb learning technologies 2016.

We are excited to see how these trends from Learning Technologies will affect the industry and are eager to test elements within our custom eLearning solutions. Thank you to the event organizers for such an exceptional event. It is fantastic to see the growing demand for events like this across the Learning industry. We look forward to attending the next Learning Technologies event.

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