As the New Year is approaching, it’s the perfect time to look back at what has happened in the world of learning in 2017 and to make some predictions about what we think may lie ahead in 2018. We’ll be doing this in our upcoming fifth annual trends and predictions Webinar but we thought a great way to prepare for this – with some flipped learning of sorts – would be to first revisit some of the trends we have identified in the past.
In this episode of the Leading Learning podcast, Celisa and Jeff discuss the trends and predictions made over the last four years of hosting the Webinar as well as how they’ve held up and if they still apply.
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We don’t usually post a video of Leading Learning episodes, but in this case we thought it might be useful. A video may be more conducive to usage by a group – which we recommend – and it gives us the ability to insert slides from past Webinars.
Read the Show Notes
[00:18] – A preview of what will be covered in this podcast where Celisa and Jeff revisit some of the trends they have identified over the past four years of hosting an annual trends and predictions Webinar.
[00:41] – Celisa highlights a new initiative they’ve launched – a new ReviewMyLMS site they’ve worked on with the folks at 100 Reviews. The site is now ready to go and the first stage of making it as valuable as possible is to collect reviews. If you contribute a review to the site, you get access to all of the other reviews on the site at no charge.
The review process is really straightforward. Just go to ReviewMyLMS.com, click “Give a Review,” and follow the instructions for completing the brief questionnaire.
[2:08] – We also want to be sure to thank the Founding Sponsors of the ReviewMyLMS site. We feel like the ability to get high quality, dependable reviews from peer organizations has been a gap in the association and broader learning business market for a long time, so we are really excited to know that it will soon be filled with support from the following company’s:
[02:47] – Highlighted Resource of the Week – 10 Critical Shifts in the Market for Lifelong Learning – an overview of 10 key trends that we think learning leaders need to have front of mind as they plot their strategy for the coming years.
Past Trends and Predictions
[03:21] – We want to discuss these partly as a way to provide some “flipped” content for the upcoming Webinar. We have found it helpful in the past to provide a recap on past trends and predictions, but we’ve been doing it long enough now that a recap just takes too much time. This is a way for Webinar attendees to get some background in advance of the Webinar.
Perhaps more importantly, all of the trends and predictions still apply. Some have had more impact than others, but there is still good reason to be aware of them and to consider how they might evolve. So, we felt it would be valuable to revisit what we said in the past and offer some perspectives on how things have played out – and where they may be headed.
[04:47] – Three mega-trends we focused on (mega-trends in the sense that they rolled up a lot of other smaller trends):
- The growth of different modes for learning [Budding Business Models] –things like MOOCs, flipped classrooms, and virtual conferences. Those new modes of learning made new business models possible and they gave us new ways to monetize learning.
- e*-learning – note this e stands for entrepreneurial not electronic. Self-publishing on the instructor side and self-directed learning on the learner side were aspects of the new entrepreneurial learning that we cited, where the individual has a lot of power and control.
- Credibility as the deciding factor – In a wide open, increasingly competitive and entrepreneurial market where you have newcomers vying with established entities to serve learners, credibility is how learners choose—and that gives associations, who often have built-in credibility with their members—a big leg up.
[06:57] – In 2013 we focused on two predictions and one anti-prediction.
- The promise of blended learning finally being meaningfully realized, largely in part because of the growth of mobile learning.
- A universal transcript—a transcript that documents a wide range of learning experiences and achievements and how Tin Can (also know as the Experience API or xAPI) would help make that easier.
- We asserted that lecture was alive and well and would survive the rumors of its death. And, indeed, it has, as here we are in 2017, and lectures still exist—and can even be good.
[09:05] – Celisa and Jeff reflect that the trends and predictions from 2013 all still apply. Since that time, they’ve talked a lot more about the market maker business model, the idea that companies and sometimes organizations are coming along and making a market for education—one of the biggest instances of this has been Udemy. If you’re in the education business, you need to be tuned into this and understand what’s happening at Udemy since many of your subject matter experts may be making use of this platform. Jeff adds that we also interviewed Kelly Palmer, CLO of Degreed, a company that focuses on the idea of a universal transcript and being able to aggregate all of your learning in one place.
[11:37] – In 2014, we again focused on three trends that rolled up some smaller trends:
- The validation industry – encompassed competency-based learning, learning lockers, and nanodegrees.
- Small being beautiful – which again picked up on nanodegrees as well as microlearning.
- The impact imperative—the need to for learning to have real, meaningful impact, to move the needle demonstrably in some way. In the context of the impact imperative, we talked about the growth of learning analytics, maintenance of certification, and the emphasis on good learning design needed to show impact of the learning.
[13:33] – In 2014, we offered two predictions or forecasts:
- The increasing blurriness of learning and how the labels and terms we have historically used are becoming increasingly imprecise, inadequate, or maybe even inaccurate to describe what we’re doing in terms of learning. For example, is “e-learning” a meaningful term when so much learning is now delivered or supplemented electronically?
- The rise of the machines—basically the growth of artificial intelligence and what it means for how and what we teach.
[15:06] – Jeff emphasizes that artificial intelligence will continue to be a very big topic. Also, the impact imperative is getting more and more important and it’s a driver for why they created the Learning Business Maturity Model™, which puts together everything you need to be an impactful learning business. One of the areas it focuses on is capacity—and Jeff talks about an opportunity they are providing to help build capacity—specifically, Learning • Technology • Design™ (LTD) 2018.
[17:02] – A discussion about LTD, a virtual conference designed specifically for professionals in the business of continuing education and professional development—check out the program and speaker-facilitators. In addition to the workshops, there will be Content Pods™, which are dynamic, shorter segments of content. They will also be offering Q&A sessions every week (Follow-Up Fridays) during LTD, the entire month of February as well as an online community around the event.
Make sure to use the code ltdpodcast to get $100 off of either an individual or organizational registration.
[20:41] – In 2015, we looked at two learning trends:
- Design thinking – this starts with a future situation in mind rather than a specific problem, with the goal of stimulating creative thinking and approaches.
- Personalized learning – tailored to an individual student’s specific strengths, needs, and interests. While personalized learning has been around a long time—a tutor is an old-school example of personalized learning—we highlighted it in 2015 because technology reached a tipping point with sophisticated algorithms to make it possible to offer personalized learning on a big scale versus the old-fashioned, human-driven personalized learning that is time and resource intensive, and therefore expensive.
[22:19] – In 2015, we offered two predictions (which tied to the trends):
- Grand design learning – the application of design thinking specifically to the development of learning products and services that really drive the future of a field or industry.
- Boutique learning – the idea that there will be a resurgence of small-scale, highly specialized learning offering that focus on the personal, the human, rather than the personalized, or the technological.
Check out our previous podcast episode on these concepts, Grand Design and Boutique Learning.
23:37 – Jeff talks about how personalized learning has continued to gain ground (this will be touched on in the upcoming Webinar) and how he really likes the idea of boutique learning—not only do they do this with the Leading Learning Symposium but also because he participates in these types of learning experiences – like Michael and Amy Port’s Heroic Public Speaking Grad School.
[25:28] – We highlighted two trends in 2016:
- Workforce development—specifically, the tightening link between lifelong learning and workforce development and sustainability—Check out our interviews with Scott Wiley, president and CEO of the Ohio Society of CPAs and with Elizabeth Engel and Shelly Alcorn related to this.
- Virtual reality—specifically, the impact of virtual reality on learning. In discussing VR we noted that Oculus Rift, a VR reality headset backed by Facebook, was released in 2016, but that other viewers and headsets – like the very low cost Google Cardboard – had already been around for a while. In general, with the technology becoming significantly more accessible and easier to use, we seemed to be at a tipping point for the use of virtual reality to provide and support learning experiences.
[28:58] – The two predictions highlighted were:
- Rise of incentive challenges – when different teams or individuals compete to solve a problem and win a prize. While they’ve been around a while, we’ll see more of them in the future because incentive challenges make us think about the frame we put on learning. If we frame learning as courses or conferences or seminars, we’re focused on solutions and products. But if we wear the lens of incentive challenges we focus on the key problems first—and make sure we don’t jump to solutions and products immediately. You might be familiar with XPRIZE—they’re an example of large-scale incentive challenges—See our previous podcast episode, Going for the Learning Prize with Shlomy Kattan of XPRIZE. Along with XPRIZES, you might also be familiar with the idea of grand challenges. In the association space, we see things like Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation a grand challenge from the American Nurses Association (ANA). You can check out our interview with Marla Weston, CEO of ANA about this here.
- Market shake up – we’ve seen so many learning technology companies enter into this learning business market, and more broadly, providing technologies and services that are meant to support market-facing learning and education businesses—and there’s starting to be a glut of them, the supply is starting to get too high, so we’re going to see some acquisitions, companies merging as well as going out of business. Make sure as you’re dealing with the different providers out there that you’re doing some good background checking on them. And a great resource for doing this will be to use the ReviewMyLMS site.
[33:53] – Jeff notes a conversation he had with Nick Schacht of SHRM (for next week’s new episode) related to this was that one of the things he’s excited about right now is the increasing ability to simulate the work environment as a context for training. We are just in the early days of this and there’s no way this isn’t going to be a significant factor going forward.
[35:06] – As was noted at the beginning, these trends and predictions still apply. The nature of learning is such that many trends take time to run their course, and they evolve and grow over the course of years if not decades, and predictions likewise often take years to fully flower. But, we expect all of these to continue to evolve and grow.
[37:11] – Wrap Up
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[38:41] – Sign off