The end of the year always seems to automatically lead to two activities:
- Reviewing the year gone by
- Making predictions for the upcoming year
In keeping with tradition, this post will do a little bit of both.
Reviewing 2008 – 5 Observations
- Twitteriffic – Twitter went from a trickle to a firehose in 2008. Early adopters were joined by more mainstream users and even those that were not initially convinced of its usefulness eventually climbed on board for the ride. From an individual perspective, I found Twitter to be extremely useful as an informal learning tool. Every day I found great tips, tricks and links from my network of experts. What about you? Did you join Twitter in 2008? What are your impressions to date? Has Twitter been a useful learning tool for you?
- PLEs! – Puuuuulease! PLEs also gained currency, particularly in the blogosphere during the first half of the year. Nearly every blog that I follow at some time or another posted on this topic. People had a host of different tools and technologies to organize their learning, but one thing was clear in 2008 – a PLE is an indispensable part of career development and performance improvement. I organize my PLE around igoogle since it has so many different widgets and plugins. 2008 may go down as the point in time when training/learning in corporations shifted from top-down to bottom up with the arrival of the PLE. What do you think? Are PLEs here to stay? Are they impacting the traditional function of the training/learning department in companies?
- Mmmm del.icio.us – Social bookmarking took off in 2008 as well, although at a less feverish pace than Twitter or PLEs. I am not sure why, but Delicious seems to still be largely an individual endeavor. Even though bookmarks can be shared and your network helps to aggregate interesting and informative sites, my experience with this tool was that my bookmarking remained largely a personal activity. What about your experience with Delicious in 2008? Did you find social bookmarking to be more helpful than traditional bookmarking? What changes do we need to see in 2009 to improve its usefulness?
- Just do it – Learning by doing emerged as one of the mantra’s for 2008. Many elearning professionals sought to focus more on performance improvement through simulation. As design tools continue to become more user friendly, elearning professionals are attempting to creating more realistic and engaging training products. Problem-based learning and new methods for combining visuals and voice have led to changes in the approach from course-based learning to just-in-time problem-based techniques. This will be an interesting trend to watch in 2009. What about your training efforts? Did you move beyond the course? Are you incorporating more problem-based and activity-based learn by doing approaches in your efforts? Is this simply the latest fad or do you think these new approaches are here to stay?
- Visually appealing – Finally, the explosion of visual learning theories and books in 2008 was certainly a noticeable trend. From Garr Reynolds in Presentation Zen to Dan Roam’s Back of the Napkin and even John Medina’s Brain Rules, new research seems to confirm that we are visually-based creatures. Incorporating visual tools into our presentations, training and problem solving strategies seems to make sense and 2008 was a year in which this message went out loud and clear. What impact has this research and these new approaches had on your training and teaching? Are you incorporating more visually based materials into your learning interventions? What about your presentations? Do you see this trend continuing in 2009?
Predicting 2009 – What’s around the corner
Looking ahead to 2009 – what trends do you see continuing with respect to training, teaching, elearning and social media? Here are a few of my thoughts:
- Twitter will continue to expand and become more integrated with other online applications so that Tweets will become a click and Tweet phenomenon.
- Facebook will become a more prominent organizing tool in 2009. More people will become members of Facebook, but it will stay largely a personal tool rather than a work tool. (Which might not be a bad thing!).
- PLEs will become more mainstream as corporate training organizations work to support the transfer of the learning function from the Training Department to the individual.
- Corporate training departments will continue to move away from courses in an LMS or in person as the central organizing unit of training. Just in time products will become more prominent and the Training function will turn more toward helping employees build PLEs and to integrate them both within the organization and with the world at large.
These are just a few of the thoughts that I have in mind as 2008 comes to a close. I am interested in hearing what all of you have to add as well. What do you see as the important changes in 2008? What trends do you see emerging in 2009? Please post your comments below so that we can start up and interesting conversation.
And on a final note, have a Happy and Healthy 2009! Happy New Year!
Attributed to Pieter Musterd on Flickr. Taken on December 14, 2008, uploaded December 31, 2008