From the introduction of early CD-ROM e-learning programmes in 1999, to the range of engaging tutorials now available on YouTube – corporate learning has undergone vast developments in the past 20 years to keep up with the shifting behaviours of the modern workforce.
Despite this, there still exists a lack of understanding in business of the benefits of learning technologies. Fearful of a future workplace fixated on phones and video games, many leaders are too quick to dismiss new tools in favour of traditional methods. In turn, technology is seen as an enemy of nature; a fad thrown into the mix at any given time to keep people excited.
Yet, today’s digital learning approach does not mean making mobile-friendly content or producing VR simulations simply for fun. It means making content accessible, flexible and practical for the modern learner. In other words, this new era is not solely about the tools, it’s a shift towards employee-centric design.
Just as we use apps such as Deliveroo to order food and Uber to grab a taxi, learning solutions of today mirror these habits, by being intuitive and easy to use; delivering information in a way that engages the learner. The truth is, as technology evolves and we adapt, our brains become attune to new practices and procedures. In order for a digital solution to achieve tangible results, it must never lose sight of the learning experience. So, instead of pitting tradition and technology against each other, we must strike the right balance between the two.
A casual glance in a makerspace shows people working energetically with analogue physical tools – with yarn, with plastic, with wood. But you also see them casually relying on laptops, smartphones, YouTube videos for instruction, and they film themselves and share it with everybody else. So, these really intertwine. Especially for younger generations the separation is less and less important. We can see this mingling of the physical and the digital in interactive games such as Pokémon Go, which can provide an excellent example for educators.