Professional development can be challenging. You must develop the skills needed today so that you can be more effective at completing current tasks. At the same time, you must also keep an eye on industry trends to prepare yourself for the changes that will affect your work in the future.
Those two needs are why so many learning professionals join the Guild community. We provide resources that can help you develop current skills, and we also facilitate conversation that helps you prepare for the future of our industry. The eLearning Guild is able to do this effectively by understanding the needs of today, and recognizing trends that will impact the work of our field in the years to come.
Over the last few years, we have noticed two major trends within our industry that will change the ways learning professionals approach their work.
The Changing Definition of mLearning
As smart phones became mainstream consumer devices, we immediately saw an opportunity to leverage this new technology for learning. The eLearning Guild recognized the learning potential of this new technology and started the mLearnCon Conference and Expo as a forum to explore the possibilities for learning using these new technologies.
Over the last five years we have seen the use of mobile technology for learning shift from a concept to something many organizations now include as a critical part of their organization’s strategy. We’ve also seen a growing awareness of what types of learning and support are best suited for mobile technology.
More and more organizations are seeing mobile technology – and the unique affordances provided by it – as a tool that can enhance and improve business processes. mLearning today is less about learning in the traditional course-based models of the past. Today’s mlearning takes advantage of the unique affordances of mobile devices, providing bite-sized learning opportunities embedded with context. mLearning is also increasingly placing emphasis on providing performance support to workers in the context of work, regardless of their location.
The Expanded use of Performance Support
Performance support is not a new concept, but it is an approach that has been receiving renewed interest from organizations in recent years as technology caught up with the concept. Performance support is about providing employees with the support they need to do their jobs, while they are working, without the need to interrupt work in order to provide training. Providing support at the moment a worker is struggling with a task greatly enhances workflows, which is why organizations are placing increasing value on performance support.
Today’s technology makes the potential of performance support a reality. We can now use technology to monitor the performance of a worker, to recognize deficiencies, and to provide exactly the support that is needed right in the workflow, as it is needed. More and more organizations are seeing the value of adding performance support to their organizational strategy.
Three years ago we launched the Performance Support Symposium as a space to explore this renewed interest in performance support. During that time we have seen a rapid increase in the number of solutions that leverage mobile devices as part of the performance support strategy. As the number of workers in the field continues to increase, more performance support solutions will be built with mobile technologies in mind.
Join the Conversation Linking mLearning and Performance Support
Over the last few years we have seen an increase in the emphasis performance support is receiving within the mLearning conversation, and we’ve likewise seen an increase in the emphasis mobile is receiving within the performance support conversation.
While mLearning is about more than performance support, and while performance support extends beyond mobile devices, we at the eLearning Guild see this shared space between mLearning and performance support growing. We expect the relationship between mLearning and performance support will grow stronger in the years to come. Professionals in our field need to increase their knowledge and skills in both of these areas in the future, and to this end we need to provide the best possible professional development opportunities to support that.
During the closing session of the 2014 Performance Support Symposium held earlier today, we announced that the 2015 Performance Support Symposium will be co-located with the 2015 mLearnCon Conference and Expo. Both of these events will be held June 10 – 12 2015 in Austin, Texas.
We feel this change will help accelerate the growing relationship between mobile technologies and performance support. These technologies continue to expand and redefine how organizations look at learning and performance support. Together, they enable professionals in our field to support worker performance in ways that are better aligned with business processes.
Be a part of this expanded conversation by joining us at the mLearnCon Conference and Expo and / or the Performance Support Symposium in June 2015. Registration is currently open, and if you act now you can lock in the lowest possible rate.
We look forward to sharing more details of this exciting change in the weeks and months ahead.