How do top training companies meet continuously changing learner needs? I remember the day my family bought our first set of encyclopedias. It was a humid Minnesota summer evening and, though I walked in half-way through his pitch, I recall the door-to-door salesman doing a masterful job of convincing my mother how intelligent and well-rounded her children would be with such a vast fount of knowledge at their fingertips. And he was right… for a time, at least. Because as the years wore on and the subjects of my school papers became ever more complex; American History, to mammals, to social movements of the world. I realized the wisdom of my encyclopedia, my trusty, wise companion, was becoming ever more out of date, the referencing of the annual updates ever-more tedious.
I also remember the first time I had a student hand in a paper done using research from the internet. My initial reaction was “well that’s cheating!” She hadn’t had to copy quotes and references by hand from the encyclopedia after carefully cross-referencing the information with a more recent issue from her family’s library of National Geographic! She hadn’t had to carefully scotch-tape that picture of the giraffe cut carefully from the same National Geographic into her report, she’d simply cut and paste… But when I reviewed the bibliography I was astounded by the sheer number of resources she’d been able to reference. She had a vast library at her fingertips. And that’s when it dawned on me, just how revolutionary this new and growing ‘internet’ was going to be.
Almost twenty years later and I can’t help but witness a very similar shift, but this time it’s how we’re accessing the wealth of information stored out there in the great interwebs. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been sitting in a restaurant with friends and had everyone at the table reach for their phones to see who could Google the answer to some random piece of trivia the quickest. Or used an app to identify the name and singer from that obscure song that came on the radio (my wife hates this as she used to be the dominant force in all things musical trivia). Mobile devices have given us the answer to nearly any question, at any time, right at our fingertips. These ease of access to information has become the expectation. And as I watch my son, not yet two, unlock my phone and scroll through the pictures to find the one of him proudly driving a tractor, I realize this evolution will continue to accelerate and evolve in directions we haven’t even thought of yet.
As professionals working for one of the top training companies, it’s important for us to evolve and adapt to meet the changing needs and expectations of our learners. To define a corporate training roadmap that accommodates the evolving technology landscape before we fall behind the curve. To use cutting edge creative and mobile learning tools, paired with sound instructional design, to deliver training that engages learners like never before. We can’t be encyclopedia salespeople in the age of the internet.
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