In your opinion what is the biggest anxiety within the world of learning and development at the moment?
I think we’re in a bit of an odd place at the moment where there aren’t really any big exciting new ideas or approaches and we’ve been talking about the current generation of tech for so long that it’s stopped being interesting. And yet very few people are really getting the best out of any of it. From LMS and authoring tools to live online learning and enterprise social networking platforms, 70/20/10 to social learning, all of these terms have become part of the vocabulary, but I wonder how many of us are really, thoughtfully, applying these and getting better results. I think there should probably be more anxiety about this than there is.
Who or what is informing your thinking around L&D?
As ever it’s the people I talk to online or face to face. Although I’ve generally using social media like Twitter much less over the past few months, the experiences I’ve had with MOOC Pro this year have brought me in to contact with a much broader and diverse set of opinions and experiences. It’s easy to forget that the L&D community on Twitter is but a tiny fraction of the wider group and of course there is even more to learn from adjacent and tangential fields. This year I’ve focussed a lot on learning how start-ups develop ideas into actual businesses. For example the models and methods from the Lean Startup and Lean Canvas are fantastic for developing and communicating ideas internally, not just for getting VC funding.
What is the most exciting innovation on the horizon for learning?
For me it’s always the projects I’m working on, or towards. I’m really excited about compliance training at the moment, as I’m sure all your readers are. No really, I am because I’m working on a project that’s using spaced repetition, gamification, modular content and video to create adaptive, personalised learning experiences for all our staff while providing really useful data to the business. Even compliance training becomes attractive with all that on the menu!
What “game changers” would you like to see and why?
I don’t believe in “game changers” any more. They don’t tend to happen in L&D because it’s a sector dominated by conservative, risk averse mindsets. However, there are still pockets of innovation out there and there are those who just need a little bit of support and encouragement to turn their ideas in to actions. I hope I get to work with plenty of them in 2015.
What do you think the world of L&D will look like by 2020?
Just as it does today, it will depend where you look and who you talk to. I don’t predict any dramatic changes for the mainstream. Most organisations will continue to adopt new technologies and approaches, but quite slowly.
What advice would you give your 21 year old self?
I doubt my 21 year old self would have listened to anything my 36 year old self has to say, so it’s just as well that I think all experience is good experience. I haven’t taken the most direct route to where I am today, but every turn I took has been valuable in some way or other, however unpredictable that may be.
Why not follow Sam on twitter @burrough