There are regular enough discussions about the future of learning in organisations. What will happen to face to face led sessions? Is e-learning dead in the water? Are social learning technologies the way forward? How are people using peer based learning to support a persons own active personal learning and development? Where will leaders receive their talent development? What role does coaching and mentoring have for future leaders? What’s the role of curation and isn’t that something that happens in museums?
And these are regular enough topics of interest that the L&D world will keep itself busy like a dog running after its own tail.
Well recently there was some big news in the L&D world which signals the future of learning quite solidly. LinkedIn bought the online learning company Lynda.com for $1.5bn.
In a world arguably dominated by big player suppliers like Reed Learning, Hemley Fraser and The Mind Gym, psychometric companies like OPP and Pearn Kandola, and with qualifications being directed by the likes of CIPD and LPI, here’s the first time we’ve seen the floor completely ripped from under their noses. And I bet you none of them saw it coming. They definitely don’t have anywhere near the digital presence for learners to take advantage of like Lynda.com.
I’ll go so far as to say they’re all so arrogant that they probably haven’t even got their own development teams producing digital content. Why would they when they’re winning contracts for big pieces of face to face delivery?
Except those delivery mechanisms are now redundant. Completely and utterly. LinkedIn just told us so. They want their 350 million users to access high quality learning resources on their terms, in their time, at their pace. They can access all sorts of learning content from graphic design to coding to MS Office to project management to Health and Safety.
And for all of us working in internal roles, this is the biggest wake up call we never asked for. Everyone who ever criticised online learning as being inferior to face to face led sessions has been told that those skills don’t matter anymore. Digital learning delivery isn’t just the future of the learning profession, it’s made all other forms of learning intervention meaningless.
Scared by this new future? Well it’s today’s reality.