Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Learning Technology: serious games and virtual worlds

My presentation at Learning Technologies only got as far as talking briefly about what

capability is and how it can be measured.
Most of the rest of the conference was more focused on the technologies that can support learning and I was pleasantly surprised to find that what was definitely hype a few years ago is slowly turning into practice, with some great examples of technology enabled learning (with the emphasis on learning rather than technology) being discussed.
Technology helps learning develop the capability required for effective implementation by increasing the effectiveness of learning. Systems like Saba, Plateau and SumTotal increasingly provide useful information on competencies, gaps and learning opportunities, and link these to other aspects of people management and development. Just-in-time learning or performance support helps people learn precisely what they need at a particular point in time to do a new or specialist job, that they would otherwise have likely forgot. And mobile learning helps involve much broader populations in learning in those organisations that have dispersed and out of office workforces.
But technology also helps learning develop the capability required to help the organisation take advantage of new opportunities by enabling people to learn in new ways - particuarly through being able to do things that would not previously have been possible. So for example, by using serious games and virtual worlds, organisations enable their employees to demonstrate behaviour, to experiment and reflect, and to practice new types of behaviour, without risk (whether this be from loss of face or physical danger - as in the screen shot here), enabling their people to make and learn from mistakes.
There are some great opportunities for all organisations here.