How to Make the Most of Learning Technologies - An insight from Learning Technologies UK 2019

Technology is constantly changing and advancing the way we live. The impact is visible, all you need to do is go out into the world and observe.

Almost everyone has a smartphone and many of us are completely immersed in the technological world it offers. You are able to chat to your connections on-the-go, browse a constantly updated library of information and immerse yourself in a digital environment through virtual reality (VR) technology. Basically you can get what you want, when you want it, whether it’s an Uber to take you from A to B, a delivery of your favourite food or the ability to listen to an audio book or podcast that sparks your interest. Technology really has changed the way we live.

As you can probably imagine, this advancement in technology has a ripple effect on the world of learning and development. Do you remember being at school and learning without an iPad or laptop? Do you remember asking your teachers questions because we didn’t have Google to provide us with instant answers? Ripple by ripple technology has integrated itself into the learning world and more recently the team at Belvista Studios believe these ripples have turned into a rather large wave. A wave full of shiny and new technological assets. Augmented reality (AR), VR, mobile learning, videos and gamification, just to name a few, have taken a front row seat in the world of learning.

A couple of weeks ago, our team walked into Learning Technologies, Europe's leading showcase of organisational learning and technology, and for us, this is when the technological ‘wave’ became evident. If you had seen us walk into the conference, you might have even seen the stars in our eyes, looking around in awe at the demonstrations of VR, AR, interactive meeting platforms and gamified solutions. There were people on video writing us live messages on screens, trivia games bursting with eye catching designs and quirky sound effects and displays of subjects navigating immersive technological environments.

We were impressed, though in the whirlwind of shiny and bright things, we had a thought...

‘What is the point of all of this, if it’s not solving the actual problem?’

Yes, these offers of advanced technology were great and we do believe technology is pivotal to the learning world in our day and age (we are an eLearning studio after all!) though what we see as most important, is solving the core problem.

‘You could create the most engaging and impressive learning experience in the world, though if it doesn’t meet the learning or business objectives, what’s the point?’


This thought has inspired us to put new technology to the side and revert our focus back to what is most important, the foundations of learning design. We believe that if you get this part right, learning technology will be utilised at its highest potential. Think of it this way, if you give someone the fastest car in the world, does this mean that they will win the race? Well no, if the person doesn’t know how to drive, then the fact that they have the fastest car means nothing. The same goes for learning technologies, you may have the most futuristic and effective technology, however, if it doesn’t incorporate the content needed to meet the learning objectives, its potential will go untapped.

A seminar that we attended at Learning Technologies read our mind and brought us down from the clouds of the shiny and captivating technologies on offer around us. They reminded us to not compromise good design for the sake of using modern tools and trends and it’s what we learnt from this session that we would like to share with you in this blog.


‘How to create great digital learning that works’ seminar presented by LEO Learning, at Learning Technologies UK 2019.

Similar to Cathy Moore’s Action Mapping process, LEO Learning discussed an approach that focuses on the importance of linking learning solutions to actual measurements of value.

These measurements of value were:

- Business goal: Was the goal achieved?

- What do people need to do?: Are people doing that?

- What do people need to learn?:
Have they learned it?

- What training is required?: Did they complete it?

(LEO Learning, 2019).

Here is how you can apply each of these measurements of value to your learning solutions.

1. Business goal

Why is the training being created in the first place? This is a simple question that enables you to step back and review the purpose of the training. The design of your learning solution should always link to the overarching business goal.

(e.g. decrease customer complaints by 50% by the end of 2019).

2. What do people need to do? 

Rather than focusing on the content that you need to include in a learning solution, map out what people actually need to ‘do’ to meet the business goal. Are people doing what they need to do now? If not, why not? Take the time to explore this.

(e.g. staff need to demonstrate active listening and be aware of where to find the answers to customer questions). 

3. What do people need to learn? 

In order for learners to do what they need to do post the learning experience, what do they need to learn?

(e.g. active listening techniques and directions on how to access information for customer questions).


4. What training is required? 

What training do learners need to complete in order to meet the learning objectives/business goal? How will you track that they have completed it?

(e.g. staff need to complete active listening training and be provided an information sheet on accessing information for customer questions. Completion will be tracked through a Learning Management System (LMS)). 

So, before you get caught up in the new technology that the learning and development world has to offer, be sure to put effort into the initial learning design. Through applying measurements of value to your learning solutions, you will be able to observe the value that your learning solution is bringing and most importantly whether it is meeting the business goal (which is the purpose of the learning being developed in the first place).

Once you know that the design of your learning brings value, you will be able to jump back into that exciting whirlwind of new technology with the confidence that your learning will not only incorporate new and exciting technology, it will also solve the core problem.

Remember, you can’t rely on the fastest car to win the race, a combination of a talented driver is what is necessary and in this case, good learning design is essential to the success of learning technologies.

If this blog has sparked your interest, you have questions, or you are considering using the principles for your eLearning solution please don’t hesitate to contact our passionate founder, Kim Tuohy on LinkedIn or by emailing kim@belvistastudios.com.

                                                            References

LEO Learning. (2019). How to create great digital learning that works. Presentation, United Kingdom.

Nielson, B. (2016). How technology is impacting learning and development teams. Retrieved from https://www.yourtrainingedge.com/how-technology-is-impacting-learning-development-teams/

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