The new learning universe – what it means for learning designers
The New Learning Universe Part 3 by Emily Cox, Specialist Instructional Designer, WillowDNA Right now there never has been a better time to design learning. The days of lengthy, dull, flat e-learning modules are well and truly behind us! The new learning universe means that we can provide delegates with a media rich learning environment filled with a range of technology based delivery solutions. As a learning designer the new learning universe means choice. We now have a whole raft of technologies available for us to use for the delivery of online training programs. Historically using a range of technologies had such cost implications that it would be deemed an unfeasible solution. Now technology is both more accessible and affordable. As a learning designer the process of selecting which technology solutions are going to feature in a learning program is one of the first considerations at the project initiation and learning design stage of the development cycle. I believe selecting the right blend of technology is as important as the source material. It is worth noting that this choice of technology is accompanied by its own set of responsibilities. In order to find the right blend of technology for a learning program we need to get much closer to the end users. We need to understand how and when they use technology in their jobs and how we can develop content that will both facilitate and support the knowledge transfer process. Well-designed blended training solutions should not only upskill and inform the end users but should be able to support them to apply their new skills in their day to day roles. In reality this means as learning designers we need to facilitate the knowledge transfer process and encourage proficiency by providing end users realistic simulations, relevant mobile content, informative videos and useful downloads. My motivation for using a range of different technologies is to make the learning journey relevant and provide the end user with genuine context. When a learning journey is designed well the life span of the training is extended, the content will end up being used beyond the level of proficiency and should act as a on the job support aid. The new learning universe also means that we can now develop learning communities. This is a powerful concept because it means that learners are not restricted to participating in the program in isolation. From a learning design perspective we can now encourage end users to participate in group based tasks and share their experiences with the rest of the community. Not only is the opportunity to collaborate across their peer group motivating but it also allows end users to share their experiences and understanding of the training programme. Content can also be derived from these collaboration pieces, in mature learning communities, to provide user generated content. Personally the new learning universe means that I have the tools at my disposal to develop a truly engaging, relevant, scalable and rich mixed media learning programs. It means that online learning is equipped and capable of tackling really complex subjects and provide end users with a really innovative and effective learning journey.