With another year almost behind us, we find it’s always important to reflect back on everything that has happened and set our sights on what’s to come. That’s why, for the fourth year in a row, we are revealing key trends and developments that impacted the business of lifelong learning in the current year as well as our predictions for what you should prepare for in the coming year—all information that was shared in our recently held Webinar. (See our Webinars page to see what’s coming soon.)
In this episode of the Leading Learning podcast, Celisa and Jeff recap trends and predictions they’ve highlighted over the past several years and share their rationale behind the newly announced 2016 trends and 2017 forecast. They also focus on the potential implications these trends and developments will have for your organization’s education business.
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Read the Show Notes
[00:20] – A preview of what will be covered in this podcast where Celisa and Jeff discuss major trends that impacted the market for lifelong learning in 2016 and offer predications about what we’ll see in the year ahead.
[00:38] – Thank you to YourMembership, which as the sponsor of our recently held Webinar, 2016 Learning Trends, 2017 Learning Forecast, is also the sponsor of this episode of the Leading Learning podcast.
[00:54] – Celisa and Jeff recap what they’ve covered in the learning trends and predictions Webinars held over the last three years. In 2013, they focused on three mega-trends (trends that rolled up some smaller trends):
- The growth of different modes for learning (i.e. MOOCs, flipped classrooms, and virtual conferences) – those new modes of learning made new business models possible; they gave us new ways to monetize learning.
- e*-learning (*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 were cited, where the individual has a lot of power and control.
- Credibility – in a wide open, increasingly competitive and entrepreneurial market where there are 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.
[03:56] – In 2013, they focused on two forecasts:
- 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 known as the Experience API or xAPI) would help make that easier.
And one anti-trend/prediction for 2013 was:
- Lecture was alive and well and would survive the rumors of its death. Indeed, it has, as here we are in 2016, and lectures still exist—and can even be good.
[05:15] – In 2014, they again focused on three mega trends:
- The emergence/growth of the “validation industry” – includes competency-based learning, learning lockers, and nanodegrees.
- Small is beautiful – which again picked up on nanodegrees as well as microlearning.
- The “impact imperative”—the need to for learning to have real, meaningful impact, and to move the dial in some way. There was a lot more emphasis (and still needs to be) on learning analytics and effective evaluation (a topic addressed with Dr. Will Thalheimer in a previous podcast episode) to demonstrate the impact of the learning. Also check out this podcast episode dedicated to the topic of impact.
[08:43] – In 2014, the two predictions/forecasts offered were:
- Learning and the way we think about/label learning will become increasingly blurry
- The rise of the machines—basically the growth of artificial intelligence and what it means for how and what we teach. Here’s a podcast episode that focuses on artificial intelligence and other key technologies that will change the learning landscape.
[10:13] – In 2015, they looked at two learning trends:
- Design thinking– starts with a goal (or a better 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, technology has made it possible to offer it on a big scale (versus the old-fashioned, human-driven personalized learning that is expensive and time/resource intensive).
[11:22] – The two predictions offered (which tied to the trends for 2015) were:
- Grand design learning—the application of design thinking specifically to the development of learning products and services.
- Boutique learning – the idea that there will be a resurgence of small-scale, highly specialized learning offerings that focus on the personal and the human, rather than the technological.
[12:08] – The two trends from 2016:
- Workforce development—the tightening link between lifelong learning and workforce development and sustainability. We interviewed Shelly Alcorn and Elizabeth Engel in a previous podcast about a report they did on the association’s role in workforce development. Jeff also talked to Scott Wiley, president and CEO of the Ohio Society of CPAs and new chair of the American Society of Association Executives, about the role he sees associations play in workforce development/sustainability.
- Virtual reality – the impact of virtual reality on learning. Celisa defines virtual reality as an artificial environment, which is experienced through sensory stimuli (as sights and sounds) provided by a computer and in which one’s actions partially determine what happens in the environment.
She notes one of the reasons there has been a spike in VR this year is because Oculus Rift came on the market this year.
[17:37] – A discussion about how Oculus Rift isn’t the only option out there and that other viewers and technologies have been around for a while – Google Carboard, for example. Celisa also shares an example of virtual reality beginning to have an impact on learning –this fall Harvard streamed its most popular class, Computer Science 50, in virtual reality. What’s noteworthy is that this type of use of VR for learning is readily achievable in this day and age, on both the producer/organizational side and the learner side. She also notes the empathetic benefit of VR – an example of this is the United Nations VR film about a Syrian refugee camp, called Clouds Over Sidra. Other potential benefits of VR are discussed.
[22:04] – The two forecasts/predictions for 2016:
- A market shake-up/out – there has been a tremendous amount of investment and start-up activity in the lifelong learning technology market over the past few years. Specifically, there’s been the rise of the entrepreneurial subject matter expert, largely because platforms have come along to support them. We’ve also seen investors pouring a lot of money into these platforms, and others –an example of this is Udemy. It is also noted that Udacity just got valued at $1 billion and lynda.com got bought last year by LinkedIn for $1.5 billion. Jeff thinks we are going to see more acquisition activity in the association market and investment money flow into companies that are in the learning space in the association market. He adds that we are starting to have a glut of supply for learning platforms in the association marketplace and recommends being a bit cautious and making sure to think about how the market shake-up might affect your organization.
- A rise of incentive challenges —when different teams or individuals compete to solve a problem and win a prize. An incentive challenge…
- Clearly defines a problem
- Carries monetary and/or other inducements to motivate participation
- Is broadly open to teams and individuals who want to submit solutions to the problem
- Sets clear parameters for how and when a winner will be chosen
[29:55] – Incentive challenges help keep in mind that learning and education and professional development should all be done in the service of a greater purpose and in the hopes of impacting change, not only in the lives of individual learners, but also in the field or industry we serve. XPRIZE is an example of large-scale incentive challenges (Check out our previous podcast interview on the topic of incentive challenges with Shlomy Kattan, Senior Director of the Barbara Bush Foundation Adult Literacy XPRIZE). Another example of incentive challenges are Grand Challenges. At the Leading Learning Symposium, faculty member Seth Kahan talked about some of the Grand Challenges he is working on with a number of associations including the American Nurses Association (ANA)—Celisa also interviewed Marla Weston, CEO of ANA about their Grand Challenge initiative, Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation.
[32:12] – Celisa shares information about other Grand Challenges including those from the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare and the American Society for Association Executives (ASAE).
[33:50] – In thinking about what incentive challenges might mean for your organization, Celisa suggests asking yourself these questions:
- What are the intractable problems in our field or industry?
- Could we offer—or partner to offer—a meaningful incentive?
- What are the risks and rewards to pursuing an incentive challenge?
[36:02] – Wrap Up
We encourage you to share your perspective on anything we covered in this episode—or anything different you might be seeing by commenting on the bottom of this page.
Thanks again to YourMembership for sponsoring of this episode of the Leading Learning podcast.
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[38:00]- Sign off