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The future learning landscape

Podcasts and Audio | 22.08.2017

With the 10th anniversary of the iPhone looming, the team polish off their crystal ball and delve into how technology could affect the way learning evolves over the next decade

Paul Westlake  0:00  

Welcome to Kineo stream of thought. My name is Paul Westlake solutions consultant at Kineo. And today we're considering what training might look like in the next 10 years. Today, I'm joined by 

Hannah Wysome  0:17  

Hannah Wysome solutions consultant,

Carmel Anderson  0:19  

Carmel Anderson, client engagement executive,

Liz Smith  0:23  

Liz Smith, lead solutions designer.

Paul Westlake  0:25  

So we're talking about the future of learning. And we said, What, 10 years 10 years seems like an awful long time in technology. So I don't know if we look 10 years into the future. There's ideas of flying cars and minority report and everything else. But where do we think learning is going to be in 10 years realistically,

Hannah Wysome  0:41  

in the learning technology world, I think there's a perception, rightly or wrongly, that we're slightly behind what's going on in the web at large. And that means that sometimes we look to be playing catch up. So looking at things like mobile learning using apps, the popular formats for that learning now are following the styles that the web is set out and has done for several years, I think looking at the future, it's interesting to take a look at Geoffrey Moore's technology cycle, which starts off with the early adopters, who are those that are really excited and prepared to take a plunge into the unknown. And then the next stage of that are those who are Crossing the Chasm. And I think it can do some of our most forward looking clients in that stage at the moment where they're starting to look at some of the work that our friends at HT2 are doing around XAPI, and capturing actual learning actions and outcomes and using that to refine what happens next. And I think that's a really exciting place to go. Because I think previously data in learning was very much around how many people have done this did they like it. And I think what we're doing now is data is able to define what you do as an individual learner as well as somebody within the workplace. So I think the future for learning, in some respects, we'll be looking at creating your own learning profile based on that data that's not just connected to what you do at work anymore. And I think looking at some examples, recently, there was a story last week about a Swedish employer that is using wearable technology to capture exercise data. And if you do a certain amount of exercise, then you can earn time off, I think that sort of thing is looking to feed into the sustainability culture that organisations are looking to now I think, for so many companies, it's not just about the traditional bottom line and making lots of money, it's looking at that triple bottom line of of money, social impact and environmental impact. And I can see that the technology, I think is taking us in that direction.

Liz Smith  2:31  

Yeah, I think that's a really good point, Hannah. And I think also, we can see how people are using that data to inform learning journey so that they can be individual, and really tailored to to a person. So we looked at an idea previously of using something like playlist, thinking about the idea of Spotify playlist, how you know, you gather together the type of things that you like, but then they also make suggestions to you on the type of things that you might like how those kind of might be used in learning management systems to kind of set out a journey. And you could either if you're a complete novice, and of course, you might have something suggest to you in the first instance. But once you become more comfortable with playing around with things kind of dipping in and out, then you can kind of build up your own learning. And I think that taking that personal responsibility is only going to become stronger in the future,

Carmel Anderson  3:15  

I think from an employer point of view, and it's something that we're seeing more and more it's actually about the reporting, and making that more intuitive and more in depth. And I think in terms of from the employer, provider point of view, that's going to be a real trend and how they actually report on things that are more hard to capture. And we work in the apprenticeships field and asking how you capture a 20% off the job learning is incredibly difficult. So it's actually looking at that from the employer point of view that I think is going to be really key. 

Paul Westlake  3:52  

And how do you think we can do that, though? What sort of things? Are we talking about that that's going to help companies do that?

Carmel Anderson  4:00  

I think it's about putting it into the hands of the learners to actually log their time, but incentivise that as well. And I don't know how we incentivise that effectively, by actually logging that time becomes a personal responsibility. And it's not one that necessarily everyone wants to do. And so it's I think it will be a challenge for the elearning community of how to make that an accessible and exciting thing to do.

Paul Westlake  4:28  

Yeah, and we've seen, we've seen that other things, if you, again, go away from the workplace, logging my steps every day was something that I didn't particularly want to do. But I do it every day now because there's a thing on my wrist or there's a phone in my pocket. That just does that for me. So it's taken away that pain point. And it's similar to how we do that. I'm thinking, you know, if you've got to prove that somebody's done a certain amount of reading, or maybe that's, you know, they're reading that on their Kindle and their Kindle knows when they started and when they stopped in it. Yeah, maybe that stuff's all tracked for them. So it's automating that stuff. Isn't it's gonna make it easier. So how do you get a point?

Hannah Wysome  5:01  

Yeah, just saying that with the logging of data, you've obviously got a huge amount of facts and figures data in school sort of old school now, isn't it but in school, we can see the zeros and ones as to what people have done. And I think maybe for a CFO who's looking for a return on investment about how many people have done something, and whether how many people have voted that shows that that was a good investment in the first place. I think that's one level. But I think it's more important to look at the stories that sit behind that data. And I think that comes back into your point about communities. And I think we're getting to the point now, where we're seeing a lot more social features coming into LMS, as some of our main rivals are putting social first, but I think they will rise or fall on the strength of the community management that goes within that. And so it's looking at 50, people might have done a course that there was a marketing push, but what did they really think about it? What is their recommendation? And I think when we look at where we should go and eat tonight, or what films Should we go and see, yes, we can go look at Rotten Tomatoes, for example, but I don't know those people. I don't know if I can trust their word. 

Paul Westlake  6:00  


Hannah Wysome  6:00  

And I think if there's people that I'm working with, we're already hopefully aligned by the company culture in which we're, you know, inhabiting, I can trust their word a bit more. And I think not to bring Trump into this too much. But I think in a culture of fake news, where we can have our own ecosystem of things that we can choose to believe whether they're right or wrong, I think we're gonna see a point where we need to have somebody who is the real arbiter of what's the useful thing here, what is actually effective. And and I think that will help cut through the sea of extraneous learning that we've got sitting in LMS. Already, I think it will be a great way of filtering, because I think that's where the curation need has come from, is that there's some excellent stuff, but no one can really find it. So that curation element and showing what's good and having people telling you what's good, I think will come to the fore.

Liz Smith  6:43  

And I think the better we can find the social aspects into the learning program itself even better, and it becomes that real time kind of response to things. So for example, you vote in a poll, and then depending on the results of the poll poll, maybe a video interactive video scenario takes a different route or something like that. So people are actually having an influence on what happens that kind of choose your own adventure type style of learning. But I think at the moment, the social aspects and the learning aspects are quite separate. And it would be useful to think about how they can be joined together more, and then you will get more of that community feel more of that incentive, if it actually affects what you're doing, rather than just a message saying, Go and look at this, come back and look at this, you know, I think there needs to be more integration between the two.

Paul Westlake  7:27  

I mean, come on, we were talking earlier about how we encourage people to do that I need some ideas on that.

Carmel Anderson  7:32  

So building on Liz's point, I think that there's a movement in businesses at large towards a more community model. And businesses like giffgaff, for example, who have users who provide the technological support, and are incentivised to do so. And I think with that in mind, you could actually bring those moderators of learning into the community. And that way, the referral feels more organic, it feels more like something that you're getting from your peers, rather than being told to do something by a higher authority. And I think that would be an interesting way to see learning develop.

Liz Smith  8:11  

Yeah, and I think that's another move in business, which that ties in with as well, where hierarchies are disappearing a little bit. So structures are becoming much flatter. And so people can kind of communicate on the same level. And and it's not like a top down approach, saying you must do this. And you must do that. It's more about some everyone within that community, knowing that they have, you know, certain things that they have to fulfill part of their role or part of compliance or, you know, legal requirements. And they all know that thats a very personal responsibility that they've got, being able to feed that through each other saying, like, what's the best way of doing this? What's the best thing that you found for doing this? This is how I like to learn. So I'd like to learn in one of these ways.

Paul Westlake  8:49  

I'm just thinking, if we were thinking 10 years ahead, what's gonna happen in the next 10 years? So I've got a 12 year old and a 10 year old. So both of those currently going to school and being taught at school and coming home and asking me questions when it comes to homework time, which I potentially can't answer. But they're going to be in work in 10 years time, aren't they? And they're going to be, you know, so how's, how are they going to learn at work? And then not only that, I think the worry there is half of the jobs that we're talking about now, we're been told aren't even going to be there when when they start work. So how do we see that evolving? So what's training in the future gonna look like?

Hannah Wysome  9:26  

Yeah, it's interesting that you bring your kids into that, because it's the summer holidays at the time, we're speaking at the moment, and my kids are younger, they're five and two, but they're already big iPad adopters. And it's so easy to keep them entertained with, with something going on all of the time. And I think looking ahead to 10 years and the expectations of you know, your kids and my kids now is that they will have a very high expectation of the tech to work and it to be there when they need it. And I think things like the rise of Alexa, where you don't even need to type something in you can just say right, what am I doing now? What do I need to complete this They're just going to be implicit. And I hope and I don't hope this doesn't make me sound like a Luddite. But I really hope that there is a little bit of a backlash against the saturation of everything digital at the moment, because I think with innovation, there's some really great stuff comes out of it, I think looking at the way that we use things like Alexa for folk who've got mobility difficulties, 

Paul Westlake  10:19  

You know when you say Alexa this is going off in someone's house don't you?

Hannah Wysome  10:27  

Sorry. I just think that the human interaction side of it is so important not to ignore. And I think if we can use tech to facilitate human interaction, as well as making our lives easier, whether tech warrants, if that's my main thing, so a great if they've got an iPad, and everyone can use it. But I want them to be able to gauge whether they've made somebody feel uncomfortable, whether they need to listen to another opinion, the value of hard graft and finding something out for themselves or experiencing and touching, I think that haptic side of learning is so important. And I think I see the future of learning, we've not got to it yet we talk about how you know, you have your phone in a workshop, and it's all joined up. We're not there yet. And I think in 10 years, we will be and I think if you've got a machine, and you could say, right, how do I start this, which button do I need to use, and then you're told that and then you turn it on, and then you see for yourself what the effect is, and then you know, you drill a hole in the wood, and then you find out the next step, I think that's where I see it going. I just don't want to lose that human angle. Because although we can do great things with technology, you can't, you can't make your machine really learn emotion.

Carmel Anderson  11:33  

I think the other thing that is already being explored, that will help bring in the human element is that VR and the wearable tech. And I think having the touchable elements, and even holograms coming in more and more that you're seeing, especially in big budget music concerts. And I think that's going to bring in that 3D element that will actually potentially have a bit of a backlash, because you you will be seeing things as if you were there as if it is a real emotion that you're experiencing. And I think it goes with, like modern movie making techniques being brought towards that, like watching Dunkirk the other day, which was recently released was one of the most moving experiences of war I've ever seen. And I think that kind of filming technique, coupled with the technology could potentially actually bring in human emotion. But the fact that is 35 mil that is being filmed on it shows that actually there is a bit of a digital backlash already happening, people are going back to film techniques that or film capture that  is very old, but actually using more modern techniques. And I think there's going to be some kind of balance between the two.

Liz Smith  12:47  

And I think just to build on what Hannah was saying about not wanting to lose that kind of human interaction as well. And I, I agree, like a lot of the clients that we speak to say, we're creating an onboarding course for them, and they're saying this is great, we're going to get a consistent experience, but also one of the things that they like about their current face to face experience is that people get to meet everyone. And you can't really replace that networking element online. But I think using things like Skype is great. And you if you think about the difference that that's made to be able to have conversations with people on the other side of the world or all over the place, you know, I think there are other things that you can do to kind of implement that and use the technology. But there was a recent thing they did in I think it was in Sweden, where you could phone up any member of the kind of public and ask them about, you know, what life in Sweden was like, and it was just a really, really nice idea, like from a tourist point of view, you know, you could just literally find someone have a 10 minute chat, and that would be it. But I think using that kind of thing, you know, saying, you know, give someone a call and have a 10 minute chat with them, you know, as part of your kind of learning interventions as well. It doesn't all have to be like complete everything online, you know.

Paul Westlake  13:51  

So what do you want to see? So what one thing would you like to change about learning or training in the next 10 years?

Carmel Anderson  14:00  

I think my problem is always engagement, I find online learning boring, and quite simple. And especially the I mean, definitely the old school sort of, click Next. And when it's paced out for you, I don't want to be kept to a level where I have to click through at the pace that they want me to click through. I want to be able to skip forward, skip back, find things that interest me, take those bits, skip to something else find things more organic, 

Paul Westlake  14:31  

Browse experience. 

Carmel Anderson  14:32  

Yeah, much more browsing and find things organically linked. I think more thought of how people actually do interact is needed in terms of those more basic things, like you were saying about anti bribery. It can be just so boring. And there is ability to make a dry subject interesting. It's just about thinking more creatively.

Hannah Wysome  14:53  

I was reading an article in The New York Times a couple of weeks ago and the theory was that we we should be called homo perspectives. Because we're not happy, we're sitting still, it's not in our genes, we're always looking to the next big thing. And for me, I just worry that we run too fast. And the next big thing is the Holy Grail. And actually, we need to concentrate on all of the good stuff that we've got around us at the moment, it's not quite connected. So I think for me, the knowledge management side of things is what would really improve my life and look at the informal learning and the knowledge that we share between peers and friends and colleagues all looking at the same stuff all of the time, so that when I'm looking at a new task, I've got a really strong foundation of what's worked, what hasn't, where did we make a mistake? What can we use from that to make the next thing better, and use that as the basis for innovation. And I think we be looking for the tech to support that, to collate it, to share it, to have it in the palm of my hand to have it with the lady in the tin, so she can call it up. But I think it's about leveraging the power of what we know already. And then using that to shape the future. 

Liz Smith  15:49  

I think, for me, it's about not just kind of the how of getting into things, you know, looking at different technology, putting these things together. I think that's really important. But I think it's also thinking about what we want to learn in the future, will it be the same kind of topics are things going to change? I think, with some more things, getting kind of automated becoming more machine led processes, the things that are going to be left, which are going to be the jobs left for us to do are going to be more of the creative jobs. And it's like, how do we support that kind of learning? I think sometimes that's the kind of learning that gets missed because it's difficult. You know, it's more difficult to teach someone, it's easier to teach someone a simple process than it is to teach them you know, how to come up with the process on their own.

Paul Westlake  16:29  

So why isn't it?

Liz Smith  16:30  

Yeah, so I think it's thinking about what people want to learn and what kind of activities and things that we can give them that will actually really help them with that.

Paul Westlake  16:44  

If you'd like to carry on the conversation with us so you can catch up with us on twitter where we're @Kineo or visit us at

Your speakers are

Carmel was the Customer Engagement Executive at Kineo until 2018.
Based in Sheffield, Hannah is one of our most experienced team members, specialising in highly creative, quick turnaround projects that meet clients’ expectations. Now a solutions consultant, Hannah works closely with clients to get to the heart of their learning needs. Hannah is an experienced user trial facilitator and has expertise in scripting audio and video for elearning.
Liz is a Lead Solutions Designer, working with our solutions consultants to create innovative designs for our proposal offerings. She has worked at Kineo for 11 years and has a background in creative writing.
Paul was previously a Solutions Consultant at Kineo.