Learning Trends 2014

Having recently returned from Learning Technologies in London, I have a few new reflections about what's "trending" in the L&D world.

First, organizations are still really struggling with mobile learning. There are a lot of reasons for this, the primary ones being a lack of understanding of what's important to mobile content consumers (it's not about animated PowerPoints on a phone), a legacy of Flash content that doesn't work on mobile devices, and a lot of existing technology infrastructure that does not play well with new technologies. Everyone wants BYOD (bring your own device), but real world issues like browser standards, user authentication and IP protection are making life in L&D quite challenging.

I also noticed that there is a lot of "buzz" around responsive design. Unfortunately, most of what is available are tools that simply shrink desktop eLearning to a smartphone or tablet footprint. Or, they are "toolkits" for loading your own content into JavaScript templates. Responsive design means a new way of thinking about your development process and new skills that are needed. How many L&D organizations have content architects and web developers on their teams today? You need an integrated authoring, workflow and publishing environment, not simply a collection of tools or a framework that allows a developer to produce "HTML5" templates.

The next thing I could see is that everyone at the show is "doing Tin Can". Having a stand-alone Learning Record Store or an app that can use the TinCan API is not a full solution. The question is again one of integration. TinCan is simple to understand and "test", but it is not a solution unto itself. TinCan is not a "replacement" for SCORM 2004 or SCORM 1.2. It's a whole new way of tracking learning data and thinking about how to correlate it to real world business problems. You need an integrated content delivery, reporting and analytics environment, not simply a collection of TinCan databases or reporting in your LMS.

One final observation. For the first time in my nine years in L&D, an overwhelming majority of people at the show stated that content is one of their biggest challenges, if not the primary one. Business operations are driving new requirements, not simply HR, and they are demanding faster development and more flexible consumption options. Learning content development no longer means just linear desktop courses and/or classroom options. There is a tremendous awareness of the need for performance support, contextual search, self-navigation, and new ideas like 70/20/10. You need an integrated content development and delivery system that allows the learner to access content how they want, in the amount they want, on the device they want.

Xyleme offers a fully integrated solution to meet all of these needs.