While reading through Udemy's report on workplace learning predictions for 2019, the trend around personalization of learning in the workplace caught my attention. It talked about how AI, machine learning and other advances in technology were going to enable employees to have the personalized learning experiences they need and want, while "freeing up L&D's time to explore innovative technologies like Augmented Reality or become better strategic partners for the business." The trend highlighted in my partners article in Circles of Innovation was about the flipped classroom. The flipped classroom promotes the idea of students watching instructional videos or lecture content at home, before class, and using class time for exercises, projects and discussions that allow them to actually apply and analyze what they learned.
The implications of the personalization prediction is that I will likely have to incorporate technology into my work. The prediction referred to a 2016 Deloitte report that talked about the trend of employees demanding learning that's more customized to them, and the slow progress that's been made in many workplaces to meet this demand since that report was published is evidence of the challenge of doing so without technology. One implication of the flipped classroom trend seems to be an increased opportunity to make more creative and engaging "experiences" in the classroom, for both instructors and students. The "after class" period too, suggested by the model referenced of educational psychologist Benjamin Bloom, shows that there is significant opportunity to continue engaging and supporting students when they leave the classroom.
This last part brought about a realization for me. If the goal of formal institutions is to support their students before, during and after class, and this "after class" often occurs (or could occur) in the workplace - since much adult learning today is in preparation for the workplace - then there is significant opportunity for collaboration between formal institutions and businesses. Despite the long-time existence of internships, many schools still struggle to get their students practical experience they need. Conversely workplaces, as the Deloitte report highlights, increasingly struggle to give their employees the learning they demand, given "advances in technology, shifts in demographics, and the constant competitive necessity to upgrade workforce skills." If both worked more closely together as partners, it could offer employees a more comprehensive and fluid learning experiences. The Deloitte article points out that new organizations are "treating learning as a continuous process" and seeing their roles as "enabling employees to access content from a wide range of internal and external sources." Educational institutions have long-seen the value of workplace experience. Maybe changing worker preferences and advances in technologies will soon change the way businesses see educational institutions.
Eric Unmacht is currently the Director of Sustainable Business Innovation at MEC, where he supports employees in making the organization a more environmentally and socially conscious one - and helps them to learn along the way. Previously, Eric worked as a manager for strategy and communications with the City of Vancouver's economic development agency, helping to create a talent strategy for the technology sector; as the sustainable innovation manager at lululemon, helping to start the company's environmental and to revamp its social programs; and as the managing editor with the outdoor apparel company Patagonia. Eric also worked as a long-time journalist in the US and Asia, and holds degrees in journalism, environmental science and geography from Columbia University, Johns Hopkins and UC Berkeley.
I'm passionate about the future of work and helping those in the workplace not only survive the changes of the 21st century workplace, but learn how to use them to thrive.