Congratulations for surviving another year in the learning industry! Let's wrap up some of 2009's most exciting additions to the industry and set our sights on what 2010 has in store for us.
It's no secret that the iPhone was king in 2009, but competitors are hot on the iPhone's heels in the form of the Droid and the Pre. If the potential for offering training courses on mobile devices hasn't already revolutionized your life in the technical training/sales/learning field, hold on, because it will.
According to Brent Schlenker of the eLearning Guild, training is shifting to mobile. Schlenker believes that the iPhone is a key player in the mobile industry, even though the iPhone does not play some media such as SWFs (SWFs are the most common output published by eLearning developers who work with Captivate and Camtasia).
"I'm not convinced that the iPhone needs the ability to play SWFs to be successful as an mLearning device," said Schlenker. "I've seen effective, comprehensive training solutions on the iPhone that do not rely on SWFs."
Schlenker went on to say "Companies will see the greatest return on investment in sales force training because they are the most mobile. A sales force needs the most up-to-date information without the fluff. Mobile is the perfect solution because it's easy to get all of the information to the learner--when they need it and in the right format."
Holistic Sales Techniques
Many industry pundits say that the recession is over. However, it has been a tight year and businesses aren't ready to start throwing money around just yet.
According to ASTD's December issue of T+D, Marc Ramos, director of the Sales College at Red Hat University, believes that today's consumers aren't only concerned with their total costs. They're also worried about social, political and environmental issues.
"We must train salespeople to be more holistically-minded and authentic," said Ramos, "and build learning content that supports this new type of buying style."
mLearning, eLearning and online training certainly support the environment by allowing customers to "go green" by cutting back on travel--thus reducing their carbon footprint.
It seems that everyone has tapped in to the Web 2.0 trend. I'm willing to bet that your parents and grandparents have Facebook accounts, and it's a good bet that your 12-year-old is Tweeting. It seems like everyone has a network! And when it comes to training, a network could change everything.
Schlenker agrees and quoted friend Mark Oehlert: "We're no longer looking for SMEs, we're looking for Subject Matter Networks."
"It's the network effect," said Schlenker. "Web 2.0 allows multiple people to be able to collaborate and learn together to bring the industry forward. When you get people together you have an incredibly powerful brain trust."
What's in Store for 2010?
According to Schlenker, the future isn't necessarily new technology (although new technologies will continue to appear), but the future is the way technology is used. "The technology is already out there," he said. "It's the culture that needs to catch up and shift."
What Schlenker sees in 2010 is more mobile applications for training purposes and, he hopes, the adoption of virtual worlds in the training industry.
About the author: AJ George, a cum laude graduate of Towson University, is IconLogic's lead Technical Writer and author of the book "PowerPoint 2007: The Essentials" and the soon-to-be released "PowerPoint 2008 for the Macintosh: The Essentials."