7 Key Learning Trends

The Open University will be launching its Trends in Learning 2016 report at the CIPD L&D Show next week – here’s a link to the timetable.  Look for 10:55 on Wednesday.  It’s one of the free sessions in the main exhibition hall.

Everybody loves a Key Learning Trend, and there will be seven of them.  I’ve read the report and it’s a very good, thought-provoking piece of work by the Institute of Education Technology.

(There has been an over-proliferation of amateur trendmongers in L&D in recent years.  I am tempted to start a Trendentiousness Index, just for the completely subjective fun of naming and shaming spurious “trends” which owe more to fad than research.  This OU report would be a low scorer, I’m glad to say.)

Two things to look out for in the report:

  • Analytics.  The IET report is interesting on the potential of online learning data.  One trend is the move towards “adaptive teaching” – online learning which adapts itself to the learner, eg getting tougher or easier in response to learners’ performance as they go along.  (Teachers would say that they’ve been doing this in the classroom for decades.  Non-teachers would say that good teachers have been doing this in the classroom for decades.  Online data analysts would say: teachers??)
  • Accreditation.  The report also looks at the accreditation of informal learning as well as the wider potential of MOOCs.  Part of this trend is the growing acceptability – indeed, growing demand for – things like Mozilla Open Badges.  The Open University says that these will never replace degree “traditional courses and qualifications” –  I wouldn’t be so sure.  But they point out some highly practical advantages for organisations around CPD and staff recognition.

My fellow blogger Rachel Burnham has already offered her thoughts – well worth reading – and she has also picked out analytics as one of the most interesting parts of the report, as well as the potential of e-books.

Anyway, it’s good to see a Trends report which is grounded in hard experience – albeit the hard experience of a single institution – and which includes a lot of practical suggestions.

So, for insights into:

  • Harvesting incidental learning
  • The power of adaptive teaching
  • Embracing MOOCs
  • Accrediting informal learning
  • The science of learning analytics
  • E-books as learning platforms
  • Learning to love mobile

..queue up at the Open University/IET food-for-thought truck on Wednesday in Olympia, or download the report when published (follow @IET_LearnDesign).





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