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ATD Blog

Next gen learning revolution


Mon Jul 13 2009


I've been asked to guest blog for a week about next generation learning. By way of introduction, I'm the founder and president of the Gronstedt Group, an international firm that helps companies like Volvo, Dell, American Eagle Outfitters, Ericsson and Jama Juice make smart use of emerging social media, virtual worlds, online games, podcasting and Twitter, all of which are changing the face of workplace learning. In Second LIfe, I'm Anders Wildcat, where I'm the host of a weekly speaking series called Train for Success.

Here's how I draw the distinction between tired old instructional design dogma and next gen learning:


From watching and reading, to doing and engaging.

From telling and testing, to conversation and reflection

From sage-on-a-stage, to guide-on-the-side

From command and control, to guide and nurture

From top-down, "father knows best," to harnessing collective intelligence and the wisdom of crowds


From cautious and safe, to wacky and rebellious

From instructional design to game design

From people going to training, to training going to people

From captives in classrooms, to learning in context

From boring to fun


From classes and curriculum, to application and simulation.


From replication the class room in each new medium, to reinventing learning with each new medium.



The result of this learning revolution: information and service workers now have a chance to learn the skills they need in a context that's actually energizing. But, there are powerful forces at work against this learning revolution. The bureaucratic class in your company at IT, legal, HR and the training function itself are frequently vested in the status quo instead of change, in the past rather than the future, in preventing mistakes instead of creating opportunities. If left unchecked, they can suck out the lifeblood of a company and scare a generation of digital natives out of the door. My posts this week will focus on these internal barriers, because we have to discuss them openly and find ways to overcome them before we can make any real progress.Please join in the conversations with your comments, I would love to get your feedback.

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