Compare either a study of learning technologies validity or learning styles and technology obtained from either the web or professional journals published in 2007 or later.
Technology in Learning
Technology in learning is a broad topic. Really the topic can be a class in itself instead of one week. How does technology impact learning? Consider this scenario.
Alex immigrated to the United States is young man in the early 1960s. He had gone to university back in his native country. Not speaking much English, he took a job as a machinist. He soon married bringing his future wife to the USA. In the late 1960s they had a daughter. Alex work many hours sometimes 16-18 hours a day six days per week. Any training he received were specific to the current project and on the job.
In the 1970s as a husband and father with limited language skills, Alex began his personal learning plan to acquire a bachelor’s degree. The program was by mail so he could continue to support his family and work on school in a timely manner. In 1976 Alex completed a bachelor’s degree completely by mail. And some would say he did not get a real college degree because he did not physically attend classes. In late 1970s and early 1980s Alex continued his education. He continued in correspondence courses per the U.S. mail. Hours completed two masters and degrees and a doctoral degree all while working 16 to 18 hours per day, six days per week. He often slept a few hours then woke up early around 3:00 AM to complete school by 6:00 AM most days.
Flash forward 30 years. Alex has a son in law that has completed a master’s degree decides to return to school. The son in law James works 12 to 16 hour days running his own company, is married with two small children. He does not want to lose work for being in a classroom on set days and times. James enrolls at an online university in a PhD program. He completes the program in a few years. His family encounters minimal loss of revenue.
James and Alex embraced available technologies for their time. On the job they reaped the benefits of a uniform, standardized learning platform whether through on-the-job learning or a classroom. The class room now in the 2010s may be an asynchronous learning platform based hundreds of miles away. Classes could be virtual sessions through video conferencing or online learning videos through YouTube subscriber services. Classes may be Computer-Based modules where learning can be completed at their own pace. James and Alex have enjoyed the available technology in learning. Where will the process be in another 30 years? We as performance consultants are a part of this ever advancing movement.
So what does this all mean? Technology is a great tool. Like any tool it is only effective when it is used. The tool not used, or not used to its capability is useless and ineffective. Most individuals and organizations do not make use of the vast opportunities to embrace learning and increased education. Education in many ways is more affordable than ever depending on how it is used.
The manager was meeting with a consultant one morning. The consultant was presenting training opportunities to the manager. The manager replied these are great ideas; the problem is I train my people then they leave to work for the competition. Why would I do this? The consultant thought for a moment, then asked what if you do not train them and then cannot get rid of them?
Learning is essential in today’s business world. Formal and informal education is necessary to remain viable. Those who choose to ignore the issue will be left behind wondering what happened. Those that embrace opportunity will learn from those on a global community and across borders and industry. An online class can have international students ranging from taxi drivers to CEOs. A whole new world continues to open up to us as we explore and new areas of learning technologies. See you in the discussion threads.