The question for last Friday’s L&D Insight twitter chat was:
As a learning technology start up, this topic naturally generated some interest here at Rhizome Live. What is it that L&D practitioners are really looking for? What is good? What is bad? What do you want to be able to do, and what is just flashy for the sake of flashy?
But those hoping for a break down of the best new learning tech were disappointed. There were two main themes in the conversation, and both raise some interesting points to ponder.
Not so interested in technology?
A strong theme of the discussion was not being excited about tech. These people, and there were many, were not at all interested in the tech itself. For them, the technology was a vehicle for learning. It is important not to let that get in the way of the learning itself. Much like Twitter being a vehicle for the L&D chat, the technology needs to be seamless and almost unnoticed by the user. The focus should be on evidence based practice, not on the shiny new thing. When the tech starts to steal focus from the training and learning, the real value to the user starts to disappear.
Or excited about the possibilities?
Of course, there was plenty of talk about the tech itself too. Although it is interesting to note that here too the focus was mainly on what the tech could achieve or facilitate. Very few of the participants were interested in tech for its own sake.
Social and collaborative work spaces were a big player. Think Slack, Flock, anything that allows remote teams to work together effectively. And this is important not just for work but for learning too. A lot of learning at work happens on the job, resulting from experimenting and working with colleagues. Or even just asking them for help. (70:20:10 is the most obvious model, but here at Rhizome we think that it is more fluid than that.) Collaborative workspace tools give everyone the chance to benefit from these opportunities, wherever they are based. As Rhizome is a dedicated collaborative learning space, it was good to hear that what we offer is what L&D is looking for.
The other tech tool was less a specific software, and more a wish for something that doesn’t always exist: a tool to link the various other useful tools together. I don’t know about you, but when I turn on my computer in the morning, the first thing I have to do it open up a lot of windows to see what is going on. Email, Slack, Trello, GoogleDrive and Twitter are usual, and then Skype or appear.in often soon follow for face-to-face calls. (And I’ll be honest, I make paper based notes too, to keep track of everything.) This is a great example of the first point: the technology is too noticeable. I notice that I am spending time moving between windows and interfaces, and that interrupts the flow of work. A tech solution which is able to bring everything together smoothly and simply would certainly get my vote!