The following is the second in a four part series on using digital learning technologies.
Technology is rapidly changing. We have access to so many types of technology to craft different learning experiences. With the different types of technologies come different features, that provide us with a wide range of benefits.
One of the key benefits of using technology to deliver learning is that we are not limited to one modality or the one type of technology. As a result, we can use different technologies to provide a unique blend of learning experiences to create positive change and inspire action.
Blended learning has been shown to provide effective learning outcomes. Blending technologies can also provide quality outcomes. We can use technology to gauge participant understanding or thoughts immediately through polling tools in a face-to-face workshop or webinar. We can develop interactive and immersive learning experiences for people to have virtual try it exercises to apply their skills and knowledge. We can share information before, during and after a learning event through weblinks, emails and online courses. We can provide a collaborative online space for people to share and engage in social learning with their peers and facilitator.
These modalities can be part of one learning campaign, providing a much more varied and richer learning experience than a face-to-face workshop.
Extend our reach
Traditional face-to-face training is limited to participants of a certain geographical area, unless a large expense is occurred with transporting participants to a location. Through the use of technologies, such as virtual classrooms, webinars and online meeting tools, we are able to extend our reach beyond these geographical areas. From just delivering courses in Brisbane or Sydney we can use technology to deliver courses to participants from across Australia, Asia or anywhere else in the world.
Opportunities to practice
I’ve never participated or facilitated a role lay that worked well. But if it did there wouldn’t be any opportunity for me to rewind the scenario and run it again. We have a range of technologies available to us now to create interactive and immersive learning experiences that people can use to practice their skills and knowledge. We could create a range of customer service scenarios using interactive videos. The participants can choose their own path and learn the good and bad ways to deal with the experience. We can create virtual reality scenarios where someone can operate a virtual forklift, letting them make mistakes without the risk of damage or injury. And each of these scenarios are repeatable allowing people to continue practicing until mastery (or at least competency) has been achieved.
Designing a learning experience we need to consider cognitive overload. Jamming too much information in the short time and participants are going to learn very little. Technology provides us with the opportunities to space our learning over time, to provide just-in-time resources such as job aids to support them at the point of need and share larger volumes of information for people to access after a learning event.
We are social creatures and we learn socially. This is one of the advantages of attending a face-to-face workshop, conference or networking session. We can meet and collaborate with our peers. It can also happen through technology. People can enter chat rooms, participate in Tweet chats, collaborate in social learning platforms (such as Curatr) and share information or experiences through social learning technologies. This also means that we are not limiting the social collaboration to those in the room. We also have the ability to review the content or discussions in our own time, something that we can’t do in face-to-face.
Content curation is becoming an essential skill for the modern L&D professional. Technology allows us to aggregate and curate content without having to reinvent the wheel. We can share information and articles on the web, vidoes on YouTube or TedX and other key pieces of content. The technology tools allow us to curate this in such a way that makes sense of the content and provides an effective learning experience.
The above list is just a few of the key benefits. I’m sure we could continue to list a range of other benefits that technology provides and, based on your context, there may be others that you could consider.
In part three of this series we look more at the technologies that can provide these benefits. The final part will showcase a possible playbook for implementing digital technologies.