Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Coalescing Outlook

Clive answers the May Big Question with a synopsis that I think is very much on the mark. I want to comment on a couple aspects of his response from my perspective.

He talks about the economic pressures on training budgets and performance, and how various technologies are impacting how training is delivered and how users are pushing some of the envelope outside mandates or supervision from leadership. Clive also points out that these trends are fighting the often conservative field of training and workforce development. One point I would add to this is that while new technologies are pushing us to develop new, more dynamic designs, I think there is a definite pop-culture influence when it comes to the adoption of some tools.

This is not to say that the pop-culture mentality will or is producing bad results though.

I think blogs and social networking are a perfect example of two modes that have just recently entered the popular consciousness (widely), but that translate well into work environments that are increasingly dependent upon just-in-time (JIT) information. I think that the circuitous route that the vernacular around these modes has taken has contributed something to their adoption. Clive closes by addressing the "hearts and minds" factor, and I think some of this has already taken place. Another factor at play may be that many companies are taking what I would call the "Burger King approach" (in reference to their early restaurant placement strategy of letting McDonald's do the location analysis) to adoption, letting others spend the money on experimentation, and then reaping some of the benefits a little later without spending a lot of capital.

With respect to games I also think Clive is mostly on the money. There are some good examples of games being put to impressive use. I've commented on a few such implementations in the past. However, time and cost are still major hurdles for this sort of training design.

I would also largely agree with Clive's closing paragraph about technologies, although I must take issue with his claim that the hardware and software are there. I think there is still a ways to go in the software department. I am someone who believes there's always something better that can come about, or improvements that can be made. We have plenty of tools and lots of great capabilities, but the tools themselves are not mature enough yet. They are far better than they were even a couple years ago. But I still find myself working around some problems with them.

Regardless, the vision for 2015 has solid basis in some clear trends, and I think Clive captures those. Before we know it we'll be making predictions for 2020.

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