Once again, it’s the Learning Circuit’s BIG Question, which is really 3 questions:
- What will you remember most about 2006?
- What are the biggest challenges for you/us as head into 2007?
- What are your predictions for 2007?
So, what will I remember most about 2006? Probably that it was the Year of the Game. Gaming became mainstream (we moved it out of the ’emerging’ track at TechKnowledge, for example). Whether called Serious Games, Simulations, Scenarios, or whatever, it’s definitely crossed the chasm. That’s not to say it’s ubiquitous, or even well done yet, but it’s definitely playing a role in many more organizations, and it’s on more people’s radar.
It’s also been a year of more strategic use of eLearning. The progression on my models page is one way I’ve been thinking about it (feedback welcome), but increasingly I’m seeing folks interested in road maps to address organizational performance by leveraging their IT investment in more intelligent ways, not just purchasing an LMS and acquiring content to meet training needs.
The biggest challenges will be executing successfully to take eLearning to the “next level”, whether it’s tactics like improving the instructional design or adding eCommunity to strategies about changing the customer role. It’s too easy to take half-baked approaches: have one workshop run, or engage one improvement initiative without applying the organizational change implementation thoughts that accompany these initiatives.
It’s also important to focus on the goals, not the tools. Getting the design right is the hard part, not figuring out what technology implementation can render the design.
My predictions for 2007 are first that mobile learning will cross the chasm like Games have. It’s on the cusp, and I’m hearing lots of different buzz going around. The capabilities are pretty mature now, and the integration is now possible, so that we have a whole new set of affordances or capabilities that provide some real performance opportunities.
I also think that the hype will go off podcasts and blog and wikis as phenomena, and they’ll take their rightful place as power tools in our suite of resources. This is not to diminish them in the least, they’re valuable tools at the higher level for collaboration and communication, but we’ll start looking at the larger picture, about why we need collaboration and communication and start developing systemic approaches, not experimenting with them as one-offs.
We’ll see greater awareness of the necessity of what I call performance ecosystems and Jay Cross has termed ‘Learnscapes’ (a nice term, I may have to adopt it). We’ll start seeing a recognition that individuals need a unified and richly populated playground with all sorts of resources and ways to extend our understanding and our capabilities.
And I fervently hope we’ll begin to recognize that we can’t assume that if we build it, they will learn, but we have to develop a learning culture, that we need to develop our learners’ ability to learn, that we have to recognize, take responsibility for, and foster meta-learning (learning to learn).
While this is not my last message of the year I hope, this is a great opportunity to thank everyone for a very interesting year, and send my best wishes that the coming year be the best yet for all of us.