Obsession with proving knowledge acquisition prevents effective use of Cloud in workplace learning – show results of Learning Technologies 2012 debate

“We can’t dodge the bullet of user expectation” Donald H Taylor, debate chair

A few weeks ago at the Learning Technologies 2012 Conference a live interactive debate, Heads in the Cloud: How are content strategies evolving in the workplace? tackled the killer topic of how organisations can achieve the level of workplace performance they need right now by effectively employing online resources and user-generated content. Featuring live audience voting, the debate was chaired by Donald H Taylor and hosted by e-learning experts Brightwave.

What’s stopping L&D from effectively using the Cloud?

Organisations are clearly missing a trick to empower learners by placing value on knowledge acquisition rather than application to do their jobs better. 38 per cent voted a ‘lack of proof that knowledge has been acquired’ is the biggest obstacle towards moving to a resource (not course) based approach – more than double the number of responses returned for ‘trust’, ‘loss of control’ and ‘information security concerns’. With a staggering 45 per cent of organisations reporting that ‘the course’ is the only option* for workplace learning this overwhelming response is not surprising. If you haven’t done a course you haven’t learnt.

Considering a move away from a course model Charles Gould, Brightwave MD, recognises “Employers need us [employees] to do certain things. Set the objectives and the goals and then provide the necessary resources, networks and infrastructure to do this. We have a great opportunity to reflect how people learn now by empowering the learner to make their journey to each goal in the shortest time possible. These results shine a light on the misplaced value on the process of the one-off course (whether face-to-face or online). We should be focussed on the goal of equipping people to do their jobs better now and in the long term.”

‘Creating a knowledge environment’ voted most effective use of the Cloud Exploring and contesting tensions between user-generated content and the trusted expert, the course model and the resource approach / collaborative learning, a panel of learning experts investigated how organisations can exploit technology to make learning content and resources effective at the point of need.

Professor Rose Luckin, London Knowledge Lab explained how “Cloud technologies allow us to blend other people and technologies together to help us to think, learn and work better”. Professor Luckin continued to explore how online resources enable distributed intelligence and skills which deliver direct performance support as well as more effective teams.

Despite the barriers, the audience embraced the benefits of collaborative and on- demand learning. 43 per cent of the audience voted ‘creating a knowledge sharing environment’ the best use of the online resources to enable more effective workplace learning with 31 per cent voting ‘Empower learners to take control’.

However, very few organisations are actually deliberately implementing this as strategy. Only 20 per cent of organisations using learning technologies offer cloud-based learning. These are the more established on the curve of adoption and integration.

Debate panellists:-

* Chair – Donald H Taylor, Chairman, Learning and Skills Group & Learning Technologies
* Dr Genny Dixon, Head of Research, Towards Maturity
* Charles Gould, Managing Director, Brightwave
* Kenny Henderson, Head of Talent Development Operations, Sky
* Professor Rose Luckin, Professor of Learner Centred Design, London Knowledge Lab

*Towards Maturity Benchmark 2011 ‘Boosting Business Agility’