E-learning has come a long way, according to Todd Tauber, vice president of product marketing for Degreed, an education technology company. It’s not just a cheaper, more scalable substitute for classroom training. It’s the connective tissue that makes learning an everyday part of how we live and work.
Chief Learning Officer: What is e-learning today? What should it be?
Todd Tauber: For a lot of L&D teams, e-learning still means online courses, LMSs, virtual classes and maybe videos. Those things command the biggest share of CLOs’ budgets and … attentions. But the reality is digital learning is much more diverse and fragmented than that.
Most people only take courses a few times a year. The behavioral data from our systems is showing that people read articles and blogs much more than they watch videos. We also search the internet, read books, listen to podcasts, we interact with our peers, our managers, our mentors, all through technology. That’s what e-learning should be.
CLO: What problem do CLOs come to vendors like Degreed to solve?
Tauber: The single biggest problem CLOs and their teams come to us for is to help them integrate and simplify their employees’ learning experiences. Nobody becomes an expert only through courses, videos or from just one source. People stitch together all sorts of learning experiences over time: courses and books here and there, articles, blogs, videos in between, reflection, feedback, coaching along the way, and then plenty of practice, trial and error on the job.
To deliver all of that, over the last 15 to 20 years CLOs have invested in: LMSs, LCMSs, course and media libraries, custom portals, enterprise social networks, video platforms. The problem is those things … rarely work together. They don’t connect users to other people learning the same things in different places, and they … can’t give CLOs the whole picture. It’s a very fragmented learning experience.
We integrate all of the things our clients and their people need for learning and development — internal systems, vendor content, free and open learning resources and people — so … CLOs can get more complete insights on their people and their learning activity.
We have a pretty substantial client services team; they get involved not just in technical implementation; they help clients with the change management that goes along with changing the way they operate. That’s educating them on how to curate responsibly and effectively, it’s helping them understand how to drive and sustain adoption and feed learning culture more productively, especially this self-directed learning activity. Clients are looking for help feeling their way through the near future. Everything is changing right now, and people are confused.
CLO: Where is e-learning going in the next three to five years, and what should CLOs be doing to prep for those changes?
Tauber: Online learning programs, formal education through online methods is evolving. I don’t think online courses are dead, but they’re not the only tool in the toolkit anymore. They’re changing; MOOCs are a really good manifestation of how they’ve evolved, and they’re continuing to evolve beyond that. Those things are going to increasingly be augmented, blended and supplemented by new technology like video and apps, augmented in virtual reality, artificial intelligence, chatbots, data, analytics, even things like online portfolios and microcredentials. All of those things will come together to change the face of e-learning.
It’s necessary for all of those different learning resources … to work together. Our clients are already connecting their internal and external talent development resources. So, you’re seeing some of those boundaries between learning and talent acquisition and talent management begin to blur and break down. Ultimately, we see a more fluid market for people’s expertise. That will be powered by innovative new ways to learn as well as to communicate what people know and what they can do in real time.
Kellye Whitney is associate editorial director for Chief Learning Officer. Comment below or email editor@CLOmedia.com.