ASTD Chairman Chris Pirie admits in his article that new technologies—the cloud, mobile connective devices, and natural user interface—bring disruptive challenges to society as a whole, but he also implores learning professionals to embrace these changes in their learning initiatives. "It is an exciting time, to be sure," Pirie writes. "But learning and development professionals must start reacting now. The only way to really deliver on this promise of technology is to ask ourselves why we are still doing the same things the same way."
I remember several years ago, when we published articles that in essence said, "New technologies are not going away, so you need to embrace them and pay attention to them now." Pat Galagan's cover story highlights CEOs' expectations that technology will be the biggest change in companies in the next three to five years.
"The force driving the most radical change in organizations today is knowledge gained and shared through social media, the great amplifier of our time," Galagan writes. "Businesses can't hide from the expectations of customers and employees (the iPhone 5). Governments can't hide from the expectations of citizens (the Arab Spring). And trainers can't hide from the expectations of learners."
Galagan also details the changing roles of learning professionals and designers. She offers these suggestions to stay ahead of the curve:
- Be adept at converting user and performance data into insights and action for your learning programs.
- Fear not social media. It won't take away your job; it will enhance it. Facilitated informal learning is already proving to be a better experience than wading alone through masses of crowdsourced content.
- Take a hint from game developers. They understand how to exploit the new credentials of hits, likes, friends, and endorsements.
- Collaborate across your organization and beyond. Admit the possibility that the next generation of chief learning officers might be teams instead of individuals.
What changes has your learning department made in 2012? What influenced those changes? Changes in the workplace are happening at lightning speed. To stay ahead, learning professionals must embrace the new technologies that have become commonplace in everyday life and among the new generations.