Our connected universe, now referred to as the Internet of Everything (IoE), affords us near limitless capabilities to exploit the network effect to add features, services, and products to anything. The term Internet of Everything, created by Cisco Systems, is meant to denote the blending of both physical and digital things into a single entity—a connected experience—that spans the digital and physical space. To better understand the implications of IoE in learning, I spoke with Oliver Kern in my new book, Learning in the Age of Immediacy: 5 Factors for How We Connect, Communicate, and Get Work Done

Oliver Kern has been working with learning technology for more than 20 years, primarily focusing on how to apply new technology pragmatically to design and deliver effective learning. He designs and develops experiential learning opportunities, leveraging the IoE for government agencies and public companies. Here’s what he had to say. 

How do you think the IoE transforms training organizations? 

With the growing prevalence of sensors, bots, beacons, AI, cameras, and microphones, it’s becoming easier to leverage technology to design and control experiential learning environments. For example, technology such as VR, AR, and AI are being integrated into corporate learning environments via virtual instructor-led training and message-based interactions with intelligent bots. It will take a while before these technologies become mainstream for the learning organization, but they’ll become a key part of the learning landscape. 

How important is it for learning leaders to focus on the IoE? 

I think the IoE will take time to become a corporate learning staple, mainly because of its cost and complexity. It requires significant resources and capabilities to leverage it in a meaningful way. It will take time to identify its most productive applications. 

How can the IoE affect skills and competencies? 

If they’re used to drive experiential learning, they can speed up learning and make it more sticky and fun. Skills could be learned and tested in a safe environment. 


Have you seen other learning organizations implementing the IoE into their learning services? 

I’ve seen some experimenting with beacons and sensors. Currently, it seems to be applied mostly in deeply experiential simulation training. 

How does the IoE prove its value for learning? 

With the IoE we have many means to measure effectiveness. We know that “smile” sheets delivered in classroom training reflect just how a participant feels about the training in the moment. This type of evaluation does not necessarily reflect the learning effectiveness or success of the training. With neural sensors in simulated environments, on participants, in classrooms, and eventually in the workplace, we can potentially measure the success of learning and training more effectively. 

How does the IoE help a person work with information more efficiently? 

A person won’t have to think about things that are present in their daily routines, such as driving, location logistics, supplies, communication, or meals. In other words, the IoE will make it easier for the individual learner to focus on the topic at hand. Focus is certainly one of the most crucial success factors for learning.

For more on how the Internet of Everything is affecting the learning function, check out Learning in the Age of Immediacy: 5 Factors for How We Connect, Communicate, and Get Work Done.