Time for Predictions
While the beginning of a new year is a time for reflection, it is also a time for predictions. So we find many predictions in blogs, print media, social media, and Web sites around the world. Here are a few that are especially interesting and useful:
Not surprisingly, some trends appear in just about every list, shouting out to us:
None of these probably comes as a surprise to you.
Predictions in the Context of Customer Needs
As we at C2 look ahead to 2013, we consider these trends in the context of our customers’ needs. Since many of our customers are government agencies, their context this year is uncertainty. Who knows what will happen to budgets, missions, and roles as Congress deals with debt ceilings and fiscal cliffs. Who knows what resources any agency will have next month, much less next quarter. In this environment, the kneejerk reaction is to hunker down and stick with what worked last year. But as our CEO, Dolly Oberoi, says, “Uncertain times are times of opportunity.” So, here’s a quick look at some areas of opportunity that we see for 2013.
- Mobile Learning:
With approximately 9 out of 10 adults in the U.S. owning some type of mobile device, a solid infrastructure for mobile learning is in place. And by its very nature, mobile technology is a learning technology. By giving us instant access to information and experts wherever we are, it’s the perfect performance support and just-in-time training tool. However, there are still some risks for government agencies, particularly related to privacy and security. The opportunity in mobile learning is in helping customers to see how it allows them to do more with less and to leverage the power of informal learning. We will guide customers through the process of implementing mobile learning so that they can realize its promise while avoiding its risks. Already, we have helped several customers, including the Department of Defense, Centers for Disease Control, Veterans Administration, and an international hospitality corporation, in exploring the opportunities in mobile learning. As shown below, we integrate mobile technology into an overall approach that leverages emerging technologies to support formal training and encourage collaboration and on-the-job performance.
- Virtual training
As travel budgets for government agencies have been cut, the demand for virtual
training has grown. C2 is currently assisting the Veterans
Administration in converting a great deal of its training to a Multi-User
Virtual Environment (MUVE). The interface, developed by goimage.com, provides a rich sense of place in which participants walk through a lobby and select available training from a marquee. Instructors interact with participants via live video integrated into a graphic interface. Participants can see instructors sitting in front of them talking, asking questions and pointing to relevant visuals. They can send in their comments and questions via live chat. In this environment, the
opportunity is in finding creative ways to use the technology to keep
participants engaged and to make sure they master the skills being taught. For
example, we are currently designing a method for integrating computer lab
practice into the virtual training environment.
- Agile Development
The software industry has been using agile development practices for about a decade. And as technology and gaming strategies are integrated into learning, it makes sense for the learning development process to become more agile, especially as our customers’ environments increasingly require “rapid and flexible response to change.” A recent book by Michael Allen, Leaving ADDIE for SAM, describes the Successive Approximation Model (SAM) of instructional design, which shares many characteristics of agile development, including collaboration, rapid prototyping and shorter and more frequent review cycles In these uncertain times, agile development provides opportunities for us to stay better connected with our customers and to better meet their needs through frequent, iterative reviews.
- Content Curation and Knowledge Management
One hundred years ago, people were lucky to read as many as 50 books in a lifetime. Today, we come across the equivalent of 174 newspapers in a single day, and the amount of data available to us continues to grow exponentially. Whereas in the past, the challenge was in finding and collecting information, today’s challenge is in pulling out the most relevant content from a virtual tidal wave of information. So, a growing role for instructional designers is in curating content and existing resources to create meaningful learning experiences. By applying content curation tools, we can help customers manage information overload while also saving time and money by leveraging existing resources instead of creating new ones.
Seeing the Opportunities
Though the news these days is often frightening, C2 continues to find ways
to help our customers achieve their goals despite the uncertainty and the
dwindling resources and to help them realize measurable gains from their
investments in learning. And that’s where we’ll find opportunity in 2013.
Where do you see opportunity in 2013?