The Race between Learning and Technology

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Well, this post is going to be quite significant since it discusses an ever popular buzz comparing the learning with technology. Learning and technology though seem quite complimentary to each other, even technology has been labeled by many of the experts as the biggest driving force behind innovative learning and training in today’s digital world, yet there are also some aspects that led towards a new debate and left the world in dilemma whether learning and technology are really a compliment for each other, or it’s just a race between them. If we talk about race, it refers to the stamina of one of these terms to dominate another, and surpassing its goals and significance. In this post, I would be exploring this buzz little bit and let’s see what conclusion we end up with.

Well, to be honest, I would first be starting with technology as a compliment for learning, since being a trainer I witnessed a number of technologies since last decades that just transformed the training and development industry. The results they brought about are marvelous and are in terms of numbers and stats, not just in words. We can imagine the role of technology for education learning from the fact that MOOCs, a completely novel idea of learning, emerged in 2010[1], and surprisingly reached to its peak in the same year, crossing the records made previously for any technological advancement especially in the field of training and development.

The effectiveness got increased after the introduction of mobile technology and smart devices. It just set the new bars in technology and businesses started to come up with unique learning models and outstanding and flexible learning architecture. If technology has not been there, more than 6 million of the learners, belonging to academic and corporate sectors all over the world, would not have been there in the official learning stats, and entities like Coursera, ATD, MIT etc., would not have been dealing with world’s some of most prestigious institutions for designing and deploying for them a number of training courses online[2].

Now, let’s come to another aspect, which is always supposed to go hand in hand with the one I just discussed. Is technology good or bad or a neutral for learning and education? Are technology and learning together creating a meaningful value for the learners or it is merely a race, putting a lot of pressure and stress on the stakeholders? The short answer is “yes”. The technology is good or bad or neutral is based on who’s doing what. If technology is being incorporated just for the sake of including technology without any vision or objective, then we can say that it is definitely a race between learning and technology where the technology seems to supersede the value of learning.

In addition, there are indeed some costs associated with the modern technologies, just like with older ones that we now just take for granted. But how can we really measure the cost? A more productive means is to determine the costs of not utilizing technology in learning, in the light of the present context of training and development, of reasonable projections regarding the world our learners would live in, and of what we are now aware of learning.

Another important factor to avoid the race between technology and learning is achieving interaction, not isolation[3]. The real life interactions with the people is considered as a major driving force for the learning process and technology enabled and technology backed training models like MOOCs, distance learning, webinars etc. are considered free from this factor, making the learners lost in the world of computers and in constant but distant interaction[4]. Researchers suggest that students learning in physical classroom settings are observed to be more interactive and to have stronger analytical skills than those enrolled in online courses[5].

Though technology has indeed led us the training and development industry to a new horizon, where no one can be deprived of education just because of no access to the resources, yet the collaboration and interaction are the factors that must be enhanced further for having a perfect balance between technology and learning.

[1] http://www.educause.edu/research-and-publications/books/educating-net-generation/using-technology-learning-tool-not-just-cool-new-thing
[2] http://dmlcentral.net/rethinking-the-race-between-education-and-technology-thesis/
[3] http://www.learningsolutionsmag.com/articles/1886/we-are-losing-the-race-between-learning-and-technology-what-to-do-about-it
[4] http://www.math.duke.edu/~das/essays/renewal/learning.html
[5] http://onlinelearningconsortium.org/survey_report/changing-course-ten-years-tracking-online-education-united-states/

Copyright 2016 Bryant Nielson. All Rights Reserved.

Bryant Nielson – Managing Director of CapitalWave Inc.– Being a big believer in Technology Enabled Learning, Bryant seeks to create awareness, motivate adoption and engage organizations and people in the changing business of education. Bryant is a entrepreneur, trainer, and strategic training adviser for many organizations. Bryant’s business career has been based on his results-oriented style of empowering the individual.
Learn more about Bryant at LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/bryantnielson

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Bryant Nielson is heavily involved in the Corporate Training and Leadership and Talent space. He currently is the Managing Director for CapitalWave Inc and the training division, Financial Training Solutions. He brings a diverse corporate experience of organizational development, learning and talent development, and corporate training, that also includes personal coaching of top sales individuals and companies of all sizes. For the prior 4 years, Bryant was the Managing Director and Leadership and Talent Manager for Lengthen Your Stride! LLC. In this position, Nielson was the developer of all of the courses for MortgageMae University (MMU), the Realtor Development Center (RDC), and of Lengthen Your Stride! (LYS). In that position, he developed material, refined over many years of use and active training, and condensed the coursework and training to be high impact, natural learning, and comprehensive. Bryant has over 27 years of Senior Management experience encompasses running his own Training and mortgage firm, in New York City. He strongly believes that the corporate training is not to be static but should 'engage and inspire' students to greater productivity and performance.