Technology Enabled Human Interactions, Life and Learning

By Jeremy Blain

Surely a fact of life for corporate training these days, is the integration of technology enabled learning, with highly efficient face to face interventions. I study the role of technology in learning a lot, and to me it continues to be so much a part of our everyday lives – life and learning.

Some of us may have become desensitised somewhat. Looking at my desk now, I have a laptop, smartphone, iPad….I am sharing news on LinkedIn and have just had an exchange on Facebook and with my WeChat group. I have a Skype group mentoring session in one hour and there will be 3 people on a group call, with video across 3 different countries.  It all seems so normal!

Are You Ready for the Fast-Paced Changes that Affect the Way We Do Things?

The workplace today is more connected than ever before with social networking tools such as these having created a fundamental shift in the way people interact, learn, share knowledge and operate as a business.  But cast your mind back 10 years, and these were all dreams. That is the frightening pace of change, and for those not willing or able to hop on board, it can seem a confusing, daunting and challenging environment to navigate.

The Use of Technology in our Day-to-Day Activities

Cegos Asia Pacific’s regular learning trends summaries for the region have consistently demonstrated how some countries across Asia Pacific are leading the way, in integrating these new tools and technologies into their daily lives to work and, importantly, to learn. In fact the education sector has pioneered the development and day to day use of mobile technologies to enable better working environments for their students – and that is important, as the generation of learners at school and college now, is the iGeneration, or pluralists as they are sometimes called. Flexible, location neutral, comfortable to use technology in all parts of their lives, and expectant that the workplace will be like it also. This highlights a growing gap between perceptions and reality. Corporate / organisational learning has – in places – been slow to integrate these tools and technologies into their modus operandi. Social Media not just for communicating their marketing messages, but for internal learning, collaboration, meaningful customer interaction, cross cultural activities, recruitment and more.

The fact, though, is that technology is becoming ever more tightly woven into every aspect of our lives, it is conceivable that in five or ten years’ time, most organisations will need a very different skill set than they have today. Having employees and leaders on board that understand and can capitalise on the changes that technologies are bringing about will be a key factor of future growth and competitive advantage.  It will be how organisations collaborate, learn, retain, interact and much more. All – it must be said – with the human interaction at the heart of its existence and purpose. So we will need to see new roles and job descriptions – just think about this: who is your Chief Social Media Officer, Your Global Collaboration Director, Your Learning Technologies leader? Do they even exist? An interesting question….

Technology-Driven Learning

Learning and development will need to be at the heart of this fundamental shift, and therefore, integrate these technologies, tools and networking aids into workplace life and growth. In fact it offers a very flexible way to engage the workforce, individualise learning, engage expert group, set up more informal networks and much more. To that end, it is no accident that new technology-enabled learning tools are rising in popularity across all parts of the world. A wiki a day helps you work, learn and play! It is so easy….and yet many organisations have struggled with the transition, and it is likely they have not even considered some of the new job roles above. Maybe it is time they should.

Why? Because the change is upon us. Reasons for this include the changing demographics in the workforce with the entrance of new generations and their new demands, the reduced costs which allow employees to remain productive and incorporate training alongside their day-to-day activities, and the fact that suppliers in these areas are providing a highly engaged and immersive yet targeted learning experience. Very different from 1st generation “e” technologies, tools and content.

There is also an increased need for easy to use collaborative learning tools which are mirroring the changing structures within organisations, such as the globally dispersed teams, the changing employee profiles, and mobile workforces. It is estimated that, today, more than half of those trained across the Asia Pacific region have used informal learning tools such as videoconferencing, group meet apps, social networking sites, wikis, blogs, forums and video through the internet.  The amazing thing is, the world is just starting to fully explore technology in learning. Imagine the possibilities given its growing potential.

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