Australia's learning landscape
Recently we have seen two key reports released focused on the Asia Pacific (APAC) learning landscape.
- Good Practice: Australia’s Learning Technology Landscape - September 2017
- Towards Maturity: Unlocking Potential in Australasia – October 2017
Both reports were launched via dedicated APAC-focused webinars and socialised extensively on various platforms. In this two part blog series, I shall provide my analysis on these two reports.
Australia’s Learning Technology Landscape
The Institute for Learning Professionals (ILP) partnered with GoodPractice in this learning and development (L&D) research. GoodPractice has a strong track record and reputation for publishing high-quality L&D focused research in the UK. The purpose of the research was to provide some insight into the current landscape of learning technologies in Australia.
This research was a qualitative interview-based study, which taped into the experiences, views and opinions of Australia’s L&D leaders - 24 senior L&D practitioners from 10 different industries were interviewed.
“A significant number of the organisations we spoke to are undergoing a period of change in relation to their LMS provision. Many are in the process of introducing their first LMS, are actively looking to change their LMS or are in the process of launching and implementing a replacement LMS.”
We are seeing that although there is talk of the LMS being dead there still seems to be a thirst for an LMS – but not as we traditionally know it. The LMS needs to adapt to the new approaches to learning, moving from 'push learning' to a technology that support the new social wave of learning.
This is further conformed via my current work as a consultant, where organisations are looking to acquire or replace their existing LMS to support their talent development initiatives. Contrary to 'the LMS is dead' statement delivered by high profile L&D professionals across the globe, I can vouch that it is far from dead and it is alive and kicking – so don't throw sand over the LMS just yet!
Social learning and technology
“The majority of organisations who participated in the research are beginning to experiment with social learning technologies to support learning… these tools have been adopted on an organisation-wide basis, and are being used in an ad hoc way, without a clear strategy for how they will be used to support learning.”
Social learning is a term often bandied around at network forums and learning conferences, but as confirmed via this research, it still seems to be a 'confused space' for many L&D practitioners. Although some understand the broader concept and have deployed platforms/apps that can support such a process (eg Yammer), what is missing is how social learning can support the broader learning strategy of the organisation.
Positioning social learning in an organisation as part of the broader capability development and support of employees is still a challenge for quite a few. Experience has shown that business do not see this as 'effective learning' and the learning function in turn has struggled to position social learning as a cost-effective learning strategy.
There is a gap in the learning landscape in Australia that does offer opportunities for L&D professionals to continue to educate organisations.
“For the majority, e-learning focuses on provision of mandatory compliance and technical skills, commonly enabled through an LMS.”
Australia, in this respect is not that much different to the rest of the world. Compliance and mandatory training is still the most common type of training / learning provided to employees via elearning and thus elearning has a 'tarnished' reputation.
What we are seeing though is innovative and engaging ways (eg interactive video) to support such mandatory training, thus enhancing the reputation of elearning and supporting organisations to continue to delivery effective compliance based training. Further to this, what is interesting is the desire to deploy elearning across a more device responsive platform. This is something that the Adapt authoring tool can support fully but is little known in the region.
The Adapt authoring tool is a server-based web application to allow you and your team to quickly build responsive e-learning content. I suggest you check this authoring tool out and see for yourself why it can be a cost effective alternative authoring tool.
“Despite L&D functions understanding the potential of mobile learning, very few have successfully incorporated this technology into their formal learning strategies. Only a small number have actively started to explore mobile solutions.”
Mobile learning has had a poor uptake worldwide. This is further evident via Donald H Taylor’s What’s Hot in Learning survey undertaken worldwide on an annual basis.
There have been major marketing campaigns on mobile learning across the region, but organisations do not seem that interested in deploying such learning platforms.
I agree with the report, in that there are various technological challenges associated with deploying mobile, but I will go further and state that it is also one of those concepts which is still foreign to many L&D practitioners.
It is therefore interesting to see in the report that “L&D leaders are confident that mobile learning will become increasingly prevalent in the future.”
One to keep a watching brief on.
“Although the adoption of performance support tools is lower compared to the more established technologies, there is broad consensus across the sample group that their uptake will increase significantly in the future.”
Performance support is a mixed concept and its definition is not consistent across the learning landscape. Many are currently deploying performance support tools and processes but do not label or identify them as such. In my view, this is a key player in the market and one that we need more discussion on and eventual deployment of as part of our learning solutions.
VR, AR, AI
“Many express excitement about what these technologies might offer them in the future, with a small number planning to look at VR in more detail in the near future.”
The 'three wise monkeys' rear their heads again. 😊
I am so glad to see these three technologies captured and, along with a few others, I am not entirely surprised at the results reported against them. VR is the only one of the three that I have heard as being seriously considered by organisations and I have also seen some sample learning deployments adopting such technology. The cost of adoption of such technology is still seen by many as prohibitive and complex in design, but having said that therein lays the opportunity.
It is clear that learning technology across the APAC region is playing a key role in corporate learning. Although there is confusion on some learning technologies, we see others are firmly entrenched within the learning ecosystem across the region.
What is evident is that the role of Learning Technology Advisor in an organisation is now mandatory as one that can support L&D / HR practitioners (and the broader organisation) in advocating and positioning such technologies in the future.