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Learning Technologies

Learning Technologies 2018 in Review: Microlearning, Video & Social Focus

After working with a much more diverse range of clients during 2017 and having felt my outlook as an Instructional Designer change, I was very intrigued to see what the atmosphere would be like at Europe’s leading L&D exhibition for 2018.

One thing was for certain – I did not expect the level of turnout that greeted me as I entered the Olympia centre. Everywhere I looked I could see bustling crowds of people listening to a wide range of speakers from different nations and business backgrounds; sharing their most important messages for the industry going forwards into the new year. But just what exactly were these messages? Maybe more importantly were any of them worth paying attention to?

Well the short answer is yes, but it may not be the ones you think. As I walked around trying to find the most controversial or up and coming trend, keeping one eye out for unexpected or unusual topics, I couldn’t help but notice how popular the tried and true discussion points were still, despite their relatively aged positions in the industry.

 

Learning Technologies

 

Microlearning still retained a solid and noticeable position, with multiple speakers dedicating their stage time to the deeper application of its potential. For me, and the rest of the team at WillowDNA, this proved just as exciting as any of the more fringe discussions like the role of AI chat bots in elearning and so on. It showed just how innovative and pioneering WillowDNA was over a decade ago when it first emerged on the organisational learning scene.

If microlearning is still being discussed and explored in 2018, then it is definitely a mode of learning that is here to stay. This is good news for our business as microlearning was a founding tenant of our cloud based LMS Pathway.

But it wasn’t just microlearning that retained its relevance in the 2018 conference. Seminars related to social learning technology generated a fair amount of interest, with the fostering of a user driven learning culture seemingly tapping into the ascendancy of social media within the wider world.

Ease of access and consumption convenience are facets that bleed over between social and microlearning, which could explain microlearning’s impressive buoyancy in contemporary debate. While social learning as an industry term is not a new phenomenon, by the sounds of it, the true potential and scope within elearning has yet to reach its peak. While being fairly circumstantial from business to business, social learning still has a place at the forefront of L&D debate.

Video based content also boasted a healthy contingent of speakers, who focused on angles from knowledge retention and inciting culture change to instant gratification through bite-size knowledge clips. Video as a content medium is incredibly potent, but similarly to social learning assets, it must be rendered and deployed carefully and conscientiously. We will cover the details of its effectiveness in the near future, looking into research conducted by the Fosway Group, but being emphasised within several talks indicates video based learning is still growing into its role within L&D.

These well-known L&D topics are apparently still at the forefront of a lot of people’s minds despite newer terms such as Alternate Reality and AI starting to establish beach heads in wider discourse.

I am by no means writing off these fledgling additions to the L&D arsenal, but with WillowDNA’s decade-long championing of microlearning being a case in point, things take time to emerge as dominant learning solutions. Whether that’s because the sceptics amongst us demand rigour and endurance from hot trends before accepting them or some parts of the industry arrive later to the party, the same will apply to these emerging sub-fields.

I suspect it will be some time before we see them being discussed as confidently and vigorously as the big three, Micro, Social and Video – which for me, the 2018 Learning Technologies exhibition seemed to confirm.

Rory Birch – Instructional Designer, WillowDNA 

 

Contact us to find out how at WillowDNA we capture social, video and microlearning within the heart of our learning solutions.

Pathway LMS - 10 Years of Micro-Learning

How Pathway Cloud LMS Has Led the Way with Microlearning

Almost a decade ago Debbie Lawley, founder of WillowDNA discussed with an executive of a leading e-learning company the amazing potential that a cloud based platform with a microlearning approach would have within the learning technology market.

The response she got to this vision was striking:

“People don’t want to learn like that”

How times have changed! 10 years on and microlearning is the norm, but how did Pathway as a pioneering LMS pre-empt this change in learning solutions?

 

Cloud based LMS

 

Debbie conceptualised Pathway in 2008. It originated out of a frustration with the contemporary landscape of e-learning and a lack of microlearning options in the market. There did not seem to be any products out there that offered bite-sized mixed media assets for organisational learning.

Pathway’s founding purpose was to answer this gap in the market, and it still remains one of WillowDNA’s chief tenants to this day.

Pathway’s initial break out fields included professional bodies, corporates with dispersed workforces, training companies that wanted to digitise their assets as well as business that were frustrated with heavy duty / inflexible LMS providers.

Because these fundamental client needs are universal and widespread; Pathway has always been international since day one. With over 120 countries where the Pathway Cloud LMS has been accessed from, WillowDNA’s global reach is in part due to the very nature of the fundamental challenges that Pathway was born to remedy.

Pathway LMS - 10 Years of MicrolearningFrom advertising to travel, retail to sales, no matter the industry, open dialogue has become the norm, so Pathway’s current form has been refined in order to enrich it’s social learning aspects. How people prefer to access their learning has also changed rapidly since Pathway was initially created.

Mobile based learning is on the rise and Pathway has naturally changed to accommodate this learner preference, right down to the essential code. Flexible footprint access now encompasses all aspects of Pathway.

Understanding the past affords us a more accurate sense of the future, so looking forward in regards to Pathway’s technical longevity we can provide some outlines. As a preface, open systems integrations is something that we have always fostered in our technical departments and our API facilitates this. Equally having used sequel server databases with SSRS has enabled us to provide comprehensive reporting functionality for our clients, which we believe will play an important role in the future of e-learning.

So, the current trajectory for Pathway looks bright and involves building on our reporting and data driven learning or ‘adaptive learning’ ambitions, but more on that another time!

Interested in how Pathway can help you with your learning needs?

Please contact us at WillowDNA for an informal discussion
info@willowdna.com | +44(0)117 370 7735

Micro-learning

Micro-Learning: Develop, Manage & Deploy Bite Sized Training

There are many widely discussed training technology trends that fail to really take hold or that get quickly superseded, but the concept of micro-learning is one hot topic that is here to stay – because it works. Here we look at how to develop, manage and deploy bite sized training to engage and train your learners to maximum effect.

 

Learning messagesMost of us have probably heard by now the phrase ‘micro-learning’ floating around in industry literature. But what does it actually mean? And what kind of concrete example would take shape if we put micro-learning into practice?

 

Mixed media training contentAt WillowDNA we have always developed our training solutions as a mix of bite-sized assets and activities so although the term ‘micro learning’ has been buzzing around technological training for the last 18 months, we have been rendering training interventions in this way for the last 10 years! WillowDNA’s expertise lies in crafting the blend of mixed media learning designs for any client, from medium sized corporates to global institutions; bite-sized content delivery is a universal winning strategy for e-learning solutions.

Micro-learning downloads

 

A Micro-Learning Platform

Firstly, our cloud-based learning platform, Pathway LMS, has been developed specifically for the management of blended programmes. Pathway is made up of modular Learning Paths, which can hold any number of mixed media assets. Our clients can provide a seamless blended learning experience by creating learning paths which are made up of learning objects. These objects can range from videos, discussion boards and SCORM modules through to uploadable evidence-based assignments and podcasts.

 

Creating Learning Paths

Learning paths checklistLearning Paths can provide a chronological course of content, or focused packets of information that learners can quickly access. This ‘just in time’ approach is the underpinning philosophy behind micro-learning. Bite-sized training is consumable for learners, they can easily manage to fit training into their day and put aside 10 – 20 minutes per day to learn. The blend can be defined by the audience, for example exercises and tasks that can be performed in the field or assets that can be easily accessed while they are out and about, such as podcasts for people that spend much of their time in the car or downloadable job aids for those that have episodic access to devices.

 

Scalable e-Learning Content

Easy learning administrationThe scalability of bite-sized learning also benefits the custodians of content, from HR teams to tutors and subject matter experts. The ability to quickly respond to change and enforce that change within e-learning content is an imperative when managing any kind of learning. Pathway allows administrators to quickly and easily update or supplement content by adding and removing learning objects instead of ‘unpicking’ lengthy SCORM files or re-recording videos. Pathway allows administrators to simply insert a new Case Study or develop a new PDF/Infographic to ensure their training material keeps up to date with internal or business changes.

 

Bite-Size for Success – The Takeaway

Bite size learning takeawaysAs a final takeaway message, being a learner centric organisation, we know our success will always be measured by the learner experience. We have conducted extensive research across our various learner audiences and continually receive an overwhelming response that they prefer a mixed media approach and are unable to simply ‘choose’ a favourite medium. End users consistently feedback that the mixed media, bite-sized approach keeps them engaged and offers them a rich learning experience.

Feel free to contact us for an informal chat about your needs and to find out how WillowDNA could help you develop a micro-learning solution for your training requirements.

info@willowdna.com
+44(0)117 370 7735