As the New Year approaches, it’s time to look forward to what will likely dominate our conversations over the next 12 months. Some of these may be reaffirming to you, others may give you pause. You might even find some that are blinding flashes of the obvious, but nevertheless worth highlighting on your list. And if any pique your interest, don’t forget to learn more.
1. The rise (again) of performance support
This year, let’s all recommit the potential and power of performance support. Too long at the bottom of the pile, we are once again realizing the importance of supporting people in the act of work, at the moment of need. The opportunities for breakthroughs in performance improvement here are massive, especially in an app-centric online world (see trend 2, below). Learn more.
2. mLearning: From courses to apps
Mobile technologies have been a boon for learning and performance, especially in an increasingly on-the-go society. In 2013, it’s likely that we will approach a tipping point where learning and performance apps for mobile platforms, rather than formal online courses, will begin to dominate the learningscape. Are we abandoning formal online training? Of course not, but we are expanding our notion of what is possible by developing scores of apps that go directly to performance improvement, with more traditional learning as an important but secondary goal (see Trend 1, above). Learn more.
3. Increasing cloudiness in the forecast
OK, maybe we’re a little tired of hearing about the cloud, but the New Year is certainly not going to dim the noise. Let’s take some time this year to better understand the possibilities and pitfalls of cloud-based eLearning services. How will the cloud benefit us? How will it change what we do? Learn more.
4. Pry open Tin Can
The creators of SCORM recognized that not all learning happens through courseware. Non-instructional situations and settings are equally important and, in some ways, perhaps more so. Project Tin Can creates new tools to integrate different types of learning: the informal with the formal, the structured with the social, the classroom with the workplace. It’s still in its early stages, but 2013 should see it come into its own. Learn more.
5. Social learning still emerging
Social media was all the rage in 2012 and nothing will change that in the New Year. We’re constantly talking about how to use it for learning and while everyone agrees on the potential, we’ve discovered that it’s just a bit more complicated than simply giving everyone access to communities and blogs. And whether social learning is a distinctive strategy or just an important new part of solid instructional and informational design is still up in the air. There are good models and pedagogies out there, and 2013 should shine more light on best practices and new thinking about how social media integrates with, changes, and enhances learning and performance. Learn more.
“De-crapulation” is one of my wife’s favorite made-up words. It literally means getting rid of the crap you’ve accumulated over the years so that you can focus on what’s worthwhile. How many of us have stuff in our catalogs that could go by the wayside? Do we really need all those courses? Can we thin out the storeroom of old materials? Are our websites and LMS databases full of outdated, unused, and inaccurate content? As Laura Overton points out here and here, culling your eLearning products is like weeding and then planting a new garden. So de-crapulate for the New Year and let new flowers bloom!
7. Content curation may be our biggest challenge
The other side of de-crapulation is content curation: making sure that the valuable content you do keep is accurate, organized, findable, and shareable. Some say it is knowledge management by another name, but whatever you call it, it’s a big deal. In 2013, the rate of knowledge growth will continue to increase exponentially, while the half-life of knowledge will continue to decrease dramatically. In other words, there is more to know, but what we know is useful for less time. If we don’t get ahead of this—and soon—we will drown in what Anne Derryberry calls a data tsunami. The field of marketing has something to teach us here, but content curation is also an emerging topic in our own field.
So there you go—a little holiday prognostication. If I’ve forgotten something or have it wrong, I am sure you’ll let me know below. I do think these trending topics are worth some considerable thought and discussion as we plan our strategies for 2013.
Happy holidays. Ho, ho, ho.