Looking for Gold in the New Learning Frontier


I was thumbing through the latest edition of ASTD’s Training and Development magazine recently and a report on a “new frontier” for learning professionals caught my eye. In essence it described this new frontier as being about “connecting, collaborating and learning in different ways” due to changing "technologies, learning styles, demographics and economic needs". Now this contention is nothing new. What is different is that is becoming part of the mainstream discourse regarding the effective management of the learning and development function.

For instance, engaging with social media is not being considered as merely a Gen Y fad or a pastime for the geeky fringe. It is being embraced as a genuine connection and collaboration platform which can support and extend learning. Similarly, webcasts and virtual meetings are growing beyond the virtualisation of the didactic lecture and through advances in commercial software, we have better ways to manage the interaction and gain feedback on participation. Further to this, these streaming web events are being acknowledged as an important part of the dynamic backdrop of modern learning… another channel to plug into, as it were. As a final indication of the shift away from the traditional approaches, almost every major learning and development conference on the circuit has a technology provider as its key sponsor, rather than a publishing house, which was commonplace a decade ago.

Learning and Development managers are therefore faced with some challenges around how to navigate this changing landscape. What is clear however, is the new frontier is here now and it is time to hitch our wagons to the wide expanse of learning opportunities. As long as our L & D teams stay true to the learning intent and are prepared to innovate as well as educate, we will strike gold for our learners!

Marc Ratcliffe
Follow Me on twitter: @MRWED_CEO