I’m on a journey to the Consumer Electronics Show for some learning and development goodness. Being in Salt Lake has its advantages—it’s just a short flight, and an Uber ride to be in trend central.
Usually by this time of year we begin to see the plethora of trend pieces reminding us what we wish we were doing but often can’t. One may say going to an event where we will experience augmented and virtual reality, home automation, 4k Ultra screens, drones and a host of gadgets has nothing to do with L&D. We live in a more mundane world, tied to sometimes unmotivated learners, IT constraints and limited budgets defined by needs of the past.
But let’s pretend for a moment that innovation has leapfrogged the B2B market, and the very people we educate and develop are part of a consumer market that is active and vibrant.
So as I head to CES, here is my L&D wishlist:
- What tech or gadget can make my compliance training more interesting and impactful?
- Can a consumer product help me shorten the time it takes me to teach a competency?
- What do my sales and product people need to engage on my content?
- Are there better platforms to support my learners close to their point of need?
- Lastly and most importantly, what’s out there that will make my job more exciting? How will my job change in the next few years? And what do I need today to be better for tomorrow?
We will see. Can’t wait!
After a long day of trying on headsets that were literally medieval in fit; negotiating the pixel count and field of view of the latest 3D camera; and sidestepping this or that robot, I’ve observed the following…
Unlike so many holidays such as Valentine’s Day, this party is not being driven by Hallmark, or for that matter, Sony, Intel or a host of other companies. Even in a U.S.-based event such as CES, the sheer multitude of Asian, American and European companies all developing variations or similar products was overpowering. Something is driving for-profit enterprises to believe our learners are fundamentally looking to experience life in new ways. Side-by-side with companies trying to sell VR goggles as a tool, others were using the same goggles to help visitors learn about new products. Can we start to envision a new classroom environment where goggles take the place of tablets?
It was very intoxicating to learn about 3D cameras while experiencing it by wearing a VR headset. This is much more than digitization of paper. It seems to inject a yearning of realism and immersion across a global audience.
It has always been a challenge to bring learning into the workplace. Many vendors at CES are marketing consumer-ready camera overlays to glasses as small as clip-ons that enable workplace collaboration via simple Bluetooth connectivity. (And they don’t look that bad to boot.) It was not hard to envision a use case where field and manufacturing workers can ditch those old safety goggles for a new higher tech variant.
Can we avoid a future where our learners have screens at their immediate disposal? 3D mapping and video enable us to bring the real into the virtual world. Many have believed that seeing by doing, modeling and critiquing are great ways to learn, and the tools for doing so are at our fingertips.
Lest we get too excited, we have not forgotten the limitations of our corporate world. New technology, older infrastructure and a heterogeneous workforce will be a challenge. If you can believe that some changes come faster than others—CES is a very exciting show… faster than email took over from fax… and more rapidly than texting killed email—one can believe that we have at our behest some cool consumer technologies that will expand the classroom and embrace the virtual.
Can’t wait for tomorrow—robots, automation and sensors galore!