In this edition of L&D QuestionTime we hear from Marten De Prez.

In your opinion what is the biggest anxiety within the world of learning and development at the moment?

Crafting a relevant and meaningful career in the 100 year life. People become older and a 100 year life will be realistic for today’s children. In this 100 year life people will have to work longer until older ages. At the same time the half life of knowledge decreases. Knowledge and skills will become obsolete much faster.

The only solution is learning: we have to reinvent and reshape ourselves via learning. Finding that balance of working and reskilling at the same time will be a huge challenge. It is my personal purpose and that of aNewSpring to contribute to learning with impact in the 100 year life. We want to support the trainers and training providers that help people learn.

Who or what is informing your thinking around L&D?

We deliberately brought a learning expert in our team: Ger Driesen, who is our Learning Innovation Leader. Ger has a strong background in L&D in a variety of roles over many years. He is a well informed, has a clear vision, is an original thinker and known as ‘L&D trendcatcher’. Ger is very well connected with other thought leaders and many professionals and represents aNewSpring in the international L&D community. He is a regular speaker at international conferences, sharing ideas and inspiration, connecting people. Of course via this role he also brings back a lot of relevant information and insights to me and the rest of the team which we can use to help trainers and training providers make a bigger impact with their training courses.

What is the most exciting innovation on the horizon for learning?

Mass Personalisation. I’m a very curious person by nature. I’m interested in many things. But I also have an issue with dyslexia. I needed to put in much more effort in learning something new compared to many others. I didn’t hold me back, in fact it has become the trigger to start aNewSpring. Creating smart technology to help me and other people learn. With the new opportunities available via data science, artificial intelligence and of course the science of learning I see the availability of new solutions and applications that are speeding up. That is a real exciting innovation. Smart technology for mass personalisation. One size fits one, when it comes to learning.

What “game changers” would you like to see and why?

The ‘inclusive mindset’ when it comes to learning. I think a lot of energy is wasted within the L&D community by promoting, protecting and fighting about different point of views. True believers who got stuck in their favorite concept or solution, sometimes even being fanatic about it. And by that sometimes implicitly or even explicitly disqualifying others or other ideas.  We know the examples: informal learning, performance support, microlearning or learning in the flow of work. That leads to polarisation, exclusivity, bashing. All can be great and very effective approaches. But ‘nothings solves everything’. I hope our industry will become more inclusive, valuing different solutions based on their merits to deliver impact. And I believe often that will be a smart combination of approaches and solutions, a blend if you like. I very much like the metaphor of the chef as metaphor for learning design. Combining different ingredients in a smart way to create the best ‘course’ for specific people and the specific occasion.

What do you think the world of L&D will look like by 2030?

I see the ‘Big Five’ tech companies playing an important role in 2030 in individual learning. Take Microsoft as an example. The combination of having access to user’s digital footprints via software that they use in their day to day jobs (like the Office suite) and the data available via their professional online community like Linkedin make Linkedin Learning a very strong ‘data fuelled learning machine’. This will create huge and unique new opportunities for (personalised) learning combined with huge concerns about professionals being locked in the Big Five’s filter bubbles. This will also cause a reverse movement of people wanting to learn with and through other ‘real people’ in the ‘real world’. It will boost the need for learning via personal connection, via face to face meet-ups, having ‘real life’ conversations. I think ‘vintage classroom training’ will be ‘hot’ in 2030.

What advice would you give your 21 year old self?

I would use a phrase of the great philosopher Curt Cobain: ‘Come As You Are’.

About Marten De Prez:

As director and owner of aNewSpring Marten is responsible for products development and innovation. Marten studied for his Master of Science Business Economics, Marketing Management at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam and developed a special interest in sociology and customer centered product design.

He enjoys the  ‘needs’ point of view of marketing and his goal is to develop products and services from the customer perspective. After working with Accenture as a business consultant Marten  joined aNewSpring which he later acquired.

Specialties: e-learning, innovation, entrepreneurship, user centered design, consultancy, product development.

Connect with Marten on LinkedIn