I recently read this blog post by ATD on designing learning for tomorrow, as taken from the perspective of a Millennial. It really struck a chord with me, but not for the reasons you might imagine.
There is so much hype around the tools and technologies available to learners. Mobile learning, social learning and multi-platform learning are the latest buzzwords to grace the industry. The world of education is changing at an exponential rate, and there are no signs of it slowing down. As a training and education professional, you need to continue to evolve your programs—and fast—to keep up. Sounds daunting, doesn’t it? Is that perhaps because we are spending too much time focused on technology for technology’s sake?
Getting Back to Basics
While it is true that technology is helping to facilitate new learning-based activities, the fundamentals of learning haven’t really changed much. New skills need to be reinforced over time to truly “stick.” Hands-on learning helps to turn abstract concepts into practical applications. And peer-to-peer discussions bring new ideas to light. This was true for Boomers, and is still true today for Millennials.
So rather than worrying about how you are going to re-design your educational programs for the future, start by revisiting and reinforcing your core learning objectives. Then, think about all of the ways you could use technology to achieve these objectives—both within your initial course, and as supplemental materials.
For instance, are you teaching a new procedure for workers in the field? Then what are some ways you can provide immediate access to the most frequently requested information while on-the-job? What may have been a pocket-sized handbook a decade ago might work well as an app today.
Providing Practical Choices—Including Print!
What’s really exciting about being a continuing education professional today are the opportunities to really bring learning to life in ways that never could have been done before, while at the same time giving learners options based on their own learning preferences. This means there are more ways to facilitate successful learning!
Much of the conversation has turned to digital technology. But let’s not forget about print. According to our Millennials and Print survey, 59% of respondents find it easier to learn from printed materials, and 57% indicated they prefer print for learning complex concepts. So while print still provides fundamental value to your youngest learners, technology has the ability to transform two-dimensional printed material into three or even four-dimensional, hands-on learning. The initial concepts introduced through a printed course book can be supplemented by video, interactive 3D apps, social platforms and even virtual technology for meaningful, dynamic and ongoing learning. Which means content is no longer an if/or discussion but rather a “yes, and” opportunity for educators.