Technology & Training: Jane Bozarth on Changing the Game

®HAt this year’s Learning Solutions Conference and Expo we will be exploring the many ways that technology has and continues to change the world of training. The Technology & Training blog series invites members of the eLearning Guild community to share their thoughts about the growing relationships between technology and training. 

Today we welcome Jane Bozarth, eLearning Coordinator for the State of North Carolina and one of our Guild Master Award recipients.

In the last fifteen years I’ve often been asked which technology I think will be the “gamechanger”. It comes up in conversations about everything from delivery methods to authoring tools to social platforms to mobile apps to devices and other hardware. Here’s my answer, and when I say it out loud audiences don’t much like it:

The thing that is going to change the game is – the learners.

Think about a time you learned something from YouTube or some other site. Maybe it was plumbing or drywall or auto repair, or breadmaking, or magic tricks, or how to use Excel. Odds are a local community college or somesuch offers classes in that thing, so why did you go to YouTube? Because you wanted to learn it right then, for free, without driving somewhere, in the 10 minute bit you needed. Because you had a leaking faucet that needed to be repaired that night. Because you suddenly had an urgent work assignment that required some spreadsheet display you didn’t know how to do. Because you can choose from 150 videos, and make an educated choice because of upload dates, or view counts, or user ratings and comments.

Photo via Jo Fothergill

Photo via Jo Fothergill

Those of us in the industry get this. But now our learners are getting it, too. We’re living in a world where people have figured out that if they don’t know how to do something they don’t have to wait 2 months and pay to take a day-long class. They are identifying their own learning needs and choosing from available options the ones they feel best suit their own situations. Not only can they do it, they are starting to expect it. And they are doing it for each other. Go look at YouTube, or Snapguide, or product discussion forums, or any number of other sites where individuals are creating and posting help just for the purpose of sharing it with others.

They are changing the concept of training, and we are increasingly moving toward an age in which the adult worker will not sit still for training that just looks like more “school”. They’re becoming more sophisticated in their understanding of how learning looks and how it happens. We’re going to have to figure out how to provide better performance support, in smaller bites, in places easy for them to access. And we’ll need to offer time and space and support so they can create the user-generated help that others need.

And if we don’t? They won’t wait for us. They’ll find the means to do it anyway.

Interested in sharing your thoughts about the relationships between technology & training? Please reach out to David Kelly for details.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *