This month’s Big Question on Learning Circuits Blog seeks to understand how we are keeping up with the increasingly complex tools and technologies landscape.
I reflect on this question from an organization perspective as opposed to an individual’s perspective. Here’s what we are doing in our organization:
1. Blogs: Subscribing to a host of blogs helps our team to be aware of what’s new out there and what others are thinking and doing with it. It’s a good starting point for us to think with and explore more if something looks interesting.
We have an Innovation team (INP) which has the primary responsibility to keep track of the new trends. We discuss those trends internally to decide which of those needs further exploration. INP members have been assigned an area of interest and they create articles and presentations about those trends and discuss with the entire team. The article, if we think worthwhile for blog readers, is also published on our blog.
Here’s our list of Top 74 Workplace Learning Blogs that we follow. We follow several others that cover technology trends namely TechCrunch, Gizmodo, BoingBoing, Wired, Mashable, and several others too numerous to list. Individuals also have blogs they follow that match with their interests. This brings lots of cross domain information into the workplace, subtly influencing our teams.
2. Aggregators: eLearningLearning by Tony Karrer and Workplace Learning Today from Brandon Hall are two great sources of links to the best blog posts and articles.
3. Webinars: Attending webinars from Brandon Hall, eLearning Guild and others are helpful in exploring specific areas of learning in more detail and sometimes to see some case studies and real life implementations in other organizations. eLearningLearning is a great source that points us to what’s happening in our fields.
4. Conferences: Lately we have been attending various conferences to get it straight from the gurus and experts in the field. It is a great way to keep in touch with the latest thinking, while sometimes there is a disconnect between what the experts say at the conferences and what is being sold by the vendors in exposition areas. In spite of that, such conferences lets one see area of learning the workplace learning market is interested in.
5. Internal Presentations: To ensure more of our employees are able to keep up, we have our INP team presenting each week (I concede, we skip some weeks) about what they have been exploring recently and how it may affect what the team does in short and long term.
6. Pilots: ‘Keeping up’ for a development vendor like us also means translating all the knowledge into demonstrable samples to share with our prospects and existing clients. It’s useful in making prospects and clients believe what’s possible – like these iPhone App and Augmented Reality samples. To transfer the knowledge and help develop the skills in the development team, the INP members provide basic training to the team and then create some trial projects to try out. The objective is to be ready with skills, just before the demand from our clients start coming in.