Traditional training structures are changing

Citrix GoToTraining has just released a paper I was commissioned to write, called What’s working and what’s not in online training. Here is the introduction, and you can read the rest at the link. I will be following up on some of the themes I discuss in this paper in the coming weeks.

The new challenge for learning professionals

The novelist William Gibson said, “The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed.” What training and development professionals can expect in the next year is already here, but not yet visible to everyone. The near future will look like the near past, with more complex social and technological connections inside and outside organizations. The rapid pace of change is unlikely to abate in the near future.

One thing is obvious, however: Learning is becoming more collaborative. In just the past year, we have seen several advancements, introductions and evolutions in the world of learning, including:

Silicon Valley and Ivy League schools are opening up their courses for free online. Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs), as they’re called, are initiatives hoping to disrupt higher education.

Learning management systems have become talent management or social collaboration systems as they try to increase their relevance beyond training. Last year I worked with a client that had reduced its corporate university staff by over half and outsourced all course development. Recently, McGill University management professor Karl Moore, in Forbes magazine, asked, “Is the traditional corporate university dead?”

From this, it’s clear — traditional training structures, based on institutions, programs, courses and classes, are changing.

Probably the biggest change we are seeing in online training is that the content delivery model is being replaced by more social and collaborative frameworks. This is due to almost universal Internet connectivity, especially with mobile devices, as well as a growing familiarity with online social networks such as Facebook and LinkedIn. What follows is a list of near-term trends that should be taken into consideration by learning professionals during the next year and beyond … read the rest of the paper on slideshare.

2 Responses to “Traditional training structures are changing”

  1. Ara Ohanian

    Harold, you have hit the nail on the head. For sure, the arrival of new technologies and the 24/7 digitally connected Millennial workforce has pushed collaborative learning to the top of the agenda and will force a change of role for learning professionals – as they evolve into facilitators with a brief to deliver business impact.

  2. Helen Blunden

    Thanks for the thought provoking post and the reference paper Harold. Our business is currently seeing and experiencing the very things mentioned. As a back office function for a major corporate, the majority of the roles and the work have been (or in the process of being outsourced). Similarly, entire functions such as the call centre is being reduced with customer management technology implementations that mean a ‘self service’ approach to customers finding answers on the web. For the learning and development team, a massive reduction in staff and a push to ‘explore new ways of learning’ is placed on the ‘stunned’ team that were so used to rolling out facilitator led classes…but no longer.

    Recently I did a MOOC (Gamification on Coursera) just to see what the fuss is about and it will be interesting to see how these grow and are used. At the moment they seem to be dedicated to academia but I wonder if there would ever be a MOOC designed for generic courses that corporates use (sales, leadership, customer service skills etc) and how that model would work – or if it would work? Regardless, I told my team about these MOOCs and now four of them have signed on to do an e-learning course through Coursera starting next month as we are encouraged to do our own professional development and the boss doesn’t complain when it’s free (!!)

    I’ve been asked to provide some advice around the future strategy of L&D for this team and your workshops, articles and posts like this one have made me reflect on what we could do as a business. We have a massive cultural change and expectations to set with our clients but also bigger ones with our own team members but I’m all set for the challenge and will be proposing the Social Learning Centre as a place to start for our L&D members. Thanks again!


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