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LEARNTEC 2020: Call for Papers
Congress of LEARNTEC 2019
Congress of LEARNTEC 2019

The Call for Papers for LEARNTEC, Europe’s No. 1 digital-learning congress, is now online. The congress, which takes place simultaneously with the homonymous trade fair from 28 to 30 January 2020, peers into the future of digital education, presents educational projects and connects them with the offers of the trade fair’s exhibitors. Interested parties who would like to participate in the congress have until 19 May 2019 to submit their proposals on suggested topics and speakers.

The objective of the upcoming LEARNTEC congress is to highlight trends and topics in digital education and training. The organizers welcome submissions from representatives of companies and organizations who can report from practical experience, as well as submissions from scientists and academicians. Proposals for innovative learning concepts and, due to the international orientation of the congress, submissions for English-language lectures are likewise welcome.

The following areas of vocational education and training are the focal points of the Call for Papers for the LEARNTEC 2020 Congress:

  • Learning contents and their production
  • Educational software
  • Networked learning
  • Education management
  • Personnel, learning and coaching
  • Hardware and equipment for professional learning
  • Educational projects, programmes and organizations

Submissions related to digital education in schools and universities are also welcome. If accepted, these will be integrated into the programme of open forums at the fair.

Submissions should specify: the title of the presentation and a description of its content; the name, position and company of a potential speaker; as well as personal details and contact information about that proposed speaker. The submission should also indicate the superordinate topic (e.g. “learning software”) under which the presentation can be classified. The congress committee of LEARNTEC – i.e. Sünne Eichler, Prof. Peter A. Henning and Jane Hart – will evaluate submitted papers. The criteria for this evaluation will be based on elements of best practice, scientific excellence, innovation and experience. These serve as the basis for the committee’s decision on each paper’s potential inclusion in the final program structure.

LEARNTEC – Where Learning Is Fun

With more than 11,600 visitors LEARNTEC proved that it is more relevant and more international than ever. The latest trends in digital learning were presented by 341 exhibitors from 15 countries (2018: 302 exhibitors from 14 countries) at Europe's #1 in digital learning. Among others, the focal points included Augmented and Virtual Reality learning worlds, the topic of modern workplace learning, and various ways in which Artificial Intelligence, Big Data and Learning Analytics can be utilized to individualize learning. “We had already experienced significant growth last year. And now this year’s event has bested our previous record”, sums up Britta Wirtz, Managing Director of Karlsruher Messe- und Kongress GmbH. “Karlsruhe once again distinguished itself as a hotspot for digital education, thus clearly positioning itself in the international area. LEARNTEC’s exhibitors were self-confident and optimistic on this innovative platform.”

LEARNTEC’s excellent results affirm its leading position, as does its extensive coverage in TV, radio, print and online media. LEARNTEC’s strong position is also confirmed by mmb Learning Delphi, an expert survey which continues to assign a first-place ranking to this trade fair for coming years. Beginners and e-learning experts alike took advantage of the numerous insights which the fair provided into future technologies and state-of-the-art methods, thus adding to their existing expertise and acquiring valuable information from exhibitors. Never before have more visitors given top marks to LEARNTEC.

Area for Augmented and Virtual Reality attracted visitors like a magnet

Offered for the first time, the Area for Augmented and Virtual Reality was very warmly received right from the start. It earned topmost ratings from 94 percent of the visitors. Designed in collaboration with the First German Association for Virtual Reality (EDFVR), the AR/VR Area demonstrated that learning and fun can indeed be combined. “With the AR/VR Area, LEARNTEC offers visitors the unique opportunity to experience how Virtual and Augmented Reality can be specifically utilized as new learning media”, says Torsten Fell, member of the EDFVR advisory board. The 3spin company, which was one of the exhibitors, expressed strong enthusiasm: “This is our first time here and we are very satisfied. We are presenting software that can be used to create Augmented and Virtual Reality trainings. Now is precisely the right moment for us to come to LEARNTEC. This topic is a magnet for visitors and it is more topical than ever”, summarizes the company’s co-owner Thomas Hoger.

LEARNTEC presents the school of the future

For the sixth time, the school@LEARNTEC subject area convinced headmasters, scholastic media consultants, heads of education offices, employees on the state and district levels, as well as interested teachers. On the fair’s second day, Prof. Dr. R. Alexander Lorz, Hessian Minister of Education and Cultural Affairs and President of the Conference of Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs (KMK), participated in a panel discussion entitled “Teaching as a Staging of Complexity”. Lorz emphasized the importance of digitization for a successful scholastic education: “The ability to handle digital media with confidence and assuredness is increasingly becoming an important prerequisite for the educational success of pupils in school and also afterwards in their professional careers. The ‘Digital Pact’ between Germany’s federal government and the German states adds extra impetus to the schools’ efforts, but should not be regarded as the sole remedy.”

The Media Competence Day on the fair’s third day provided insights into current developments in the digitization of scholastic education. In the context of the opening, Dr. Frank Mentrup, Lord Mayor of the City of Karlsruhe, presented the City of Karlsruhe’s IT school project. “This project’s primary focus is to supply schools with the necessary infrastructure, i.e. to ensure broadband connections into and out of the schools and appropriate WLAN equipment inside the schools. The second step is to provide schools with hardware and software based on media development planning”, Dr. Frank Mentrup said. “This project is already attracting attention throughout Germany, and I am very pleased to be able to introduce it at LEARNTEC, which is Europe’s largest event for digital education and thus the optimal venue for this presentation.”

First-rate convention with strong audience appeal

A very warm reception likewise greeted the high-carat convention, which was conceived this year for the first time in collaboration with the world-renowned Workplace Learning expert Jane Hart. “The significant increase in the number of participants shows us that we have indeed selected precisely those topics that move the visitors. Alongside the mixture of very practical questions ranging from content development to the application of blockchains for learning scenarios, we also cover the complete spectrum of themes in digital education”, agree Sünne Eichler, Jane Hart and Prof. Dr. Peter A. Henning, all of whom are members of the LEARNTEC convention committee. “We are delighted that the expanded English-language programme on Modern Workplace Learning was also very well received.” One of the convention’s highlights was the keynote address by Dr. Frithjof Netzer, Senior Vice President BASF SE, who spoke on “Education for Digitization”.

Conferral of important e-learning awards

The eLearningCHECK and the delina Innovation Award honoured outstanding achievements by providers and developers of e-learning solutions. In close cooperation with Bitkom, the delina was awarded at LEARNTEC in all four categories. For the first time, it was also conferred at LEARNTEC in the category of “Early Childhood Education and School”. The first prize was awarded to KIDS interactive GmbH for its SWE-App Tour, an interactive scavenger hunt. Among the laudatory speakers presenting the awards was Dirk Röhrborn, who is a member of the presidium of Bitkom e.V., which is LEARNTEC’s longstanding conceptual sponsor.

Start-up Area promotes young talents in the industry

At the Start-up Area, which was again enlarged compared to last year’s size, 28 young and innovative companies presented themselves at a joint stand sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy. The various start-up companies competed against one other on their own designated stage. The start-up re:edu, which emerged as one of the winners of the pitch, expressed enthusiasm about its participation at LEARNTEC: “It is a tremendous opportunity for us to take our first steps in the market here at LEARNTEC. We were able to make many new contacts with people in the university sector and to learn a great deal from others”, says re:edu’s co-founder Jan Wirwahn.

LEARNTEC 2019 also convinced longstanding exhibitors, for example, goodhabitz: “Our stand was well frequented right from the start. The quantity and quality of visitors have increased once again compared to last year”, notes goodhabitz’s CCO Erik Crezee. “We have already booked our stand for next year’s LEARNTEC. Christian Wachter, CEO of imc AG, says: “LEARNTEC 2019 is a complete success for imc AG, and we are pleased that we have been a part of LEARNTEC for many years. We have made many new contacts with both national and international interested parties. We are already looking forward to the next LEARNTEC.” Mr. Wachter is by no means alone: 90% of the available exhibition spaces at LEARNTEC 2020 have already been allocated.

The next LEARNTEC will return to Karlsruhe Trade Fair Centre from 28 to 30 January 2020.

Interview with Johannes Heinlein, Keynote Speaker on LEARNTEC 2019
Johannes Heinlein, Vice President of Strategic Partnership bei edX (USA) and Keynote Speaker on LEARNTEC 2019

Johannes – the title of your keynote is “Reimagining Education”. What’s wrong with today’s approaches to education?

Digital technology has transformed countless areas of life from healthcare to workplace productivity to entertainment and publishing. But education has remained largely the same. EdX, a nonprofit online learning destination and MOOC – massive open online course – provider founded by Harvard and MIT, aspires to reinvent education through technology. Our mission is to increase access to high-quality education for anyone, anywhere, to enhance teaching and learning online and on campus, and to advance research into teaching and learning.

I understand – so you want to be modern. But with MOOCs you offer old technology yourself, true?

Reimagining education is an evolutionary process, a revolution, and it takes time to establish a final, developed product. Our approach to MOOCs is to focus on academic institutions and helping them to integrate new technologies and modalities into how they approach traditional learning. Nowadays, with MOOCS, institutions offer a pathway to opportunities that you normally only get on campus.

It’s true, MOOCs have been around for a few years now but there’s a new engine under the hood. You can compare it to cars: They have been around for 100 years now, but today they are completely different. They run with electric motors and have new facilities. With our new approach, we drive to the same outcome. It’s a question of how we engage with technology and with each other and focus on the outcome. Today, the level of maturity in MOOCs is much more complex and beneficial to learners than ever.

Where do you get your content from?

We partner with institutions like Harvard, MIT, Oxford, RWTH Aachen, TU Munich, and many more. Our partners utilize our platform and learning management system to make their educational content accessible to millions of learners around the world.

You offer several topics. Do courses on computer science work better than others?

On our platform you find over 2,000 courses, and they are well balanced between technology and other topics. Over 18 million of learners take courses in subjects from IT to architecture, from Shakespeare to political sciences, from art to biology. The adaptation of technology is driven by those working in the field and we see learners across all industries taking courses and programs that help them to upskill and reskill in their jobs.

Can you share a bit more information about your partnerships?

Of course! For instance, France, has developed a national learning platform called FUN with millions of learners. China has also created a national platform, Xuetang. Nations create their online learning platforms that provide their citizens with access to online education and learning experiences.

Why should MIT, Harvard and others share their high-end courses?

We believe that access to education is a human right. No organization can achieve that by itself. All universities, companies, and ministries can offer opportunities for content and learning.

But it’s expensive to create good content. And you need to earn money too. What’s the business model behind it?

You can enroll in almost all of our courses for free and experience the material through lectures, videos and discussion forums, but if you want a certificate to prove the knowledge you’ve gained, you have to pay for it. Students can earn a MicroMmasters® program certificate. It’s a series of graduate level courses designed to advance careers. They provide deep learning in a specific career field and are recognized by employers for their real job relevance. Students may apply to the university offering credit and, if accepted, can pursue an accelerated and less expensive Master’s degree.

What about Germany?

Germany is leading in low-cost academic education, but in the US, a full Master’s degree will cost you 60.000 US$. To address this affordability issue, we recently announced 9 fully online Master’s degrees, for instance with Arizona State University; Georgia Institute of Technology; University of California and of Queensland with one to come from the University of Edinburgh. The programs are in highly in-demand subjects, such as data science, cybersecurity, computer science, analytics and supply chain management. In addition, three programs are both top-ten ranked and offered at 10.000 US$ or less.

So, I could just go on your platform and sign in for, let’s say, an MIT program?

Yes. You can sign up without tests or other requirements which are obligatory on campus.

You speak of “in-demand” learning. What do you mean? I only know “on-demand”.

In-demand means that we assess and work with companies, governments and universities to ensure that we offer content that maps back to the skills and competencies they need in prospective employees and students. New stackable credentials take the most important knowledge and teaching from institutions and corporations and deliver learners with relevant skills and outcomes. So, to come back to your question: People expect immediate answers by Google search or talking to people. That’s on-demand. In-demand means to identify which are the right questions to ask.

Until now, the academic and the corporate world did not collaborate in learning. How do you bring them together?

Many companies and institutions like Microsoft, Amazon, IBM, Amnesty International, and the International Monetary Fund work with academic partners to identify new content, career enhancement, or learning modalities. They find new ways on how to cooperate for research and collaborate with non-institutions. For instance, you can do a Harvard course, a MicroMmasters® program from RWTH Aachen, and take a course with IBM – all on one platform.

But do companies really share content with others, even with competitors?

Yes, because it’s beneficial for both sides and provides opportunities for employment. We bring B2B learning into companies. Employees of major companies take courses from each other’s own pool of expertise to improve their performance. Companies share content and customize it. For instance, you as a journalist will need different skills whether you work for newspapers, TV, radio or for online media. Accordingly, you have to look at different facades on how to teach journalism. More and more career paths are very specialized – in today’s world, learning once and staying there is less and less probable.

How can you increase workplace productivity with MOOCs?

I believe it’s incredibly important for people to learn simply for the love of learning – everybody should be able to find content on personal interests like arts or photography. We offer content in these types of fields like drawing, art, literature and more. But we also provide the opportunity to learn for professional reasons, with courses and programs that help you to improve in your current career or start a new, maybe better paid one. In both cases, we are looking to deliver content that provides positive learning experiences, because for many learners theIR current education does not more fulfil their needs.

On which criteria do you define “positive learning experiences”?

We rethink how to teach from the perspective of the learner. There are many case studies on how innovative technology increases career opportunities and provides a better life. By now 100.000s of learners have completed the courses. Now they have new jobs, are more productive employees and maybe better citizens.

Why better citizens?

Learning cannot only improve your career, but also has a sociopolitical element. For example, one of our learners took courses in solar energy and figured out how to bring electricity to his entire village. In Germany, for instance, you have to decide whether or not migration is a vital topic. For this purpose, you need to gain access to knowledge and learning from experts on the topic.

LEARNTEC continues to grow

The 27th LEARNTEC, Europe's #1 in digital learning, will be a stage for the latest trends and future developments from 29 to 31 January 2019. Over 300 exhibitors from 14 nations will participate in LEARNTEC, where they’ll present the newest applications and programmes for learning with IT and illustrate current trends and future educational scenarios. Over 10,000 decision-makers from industry, the consultancy sector, trading and distribution, and educational institutions are expected during the three days of LEARNTEC at Karlsruhe Trade Fair Centre.

“The utilization of digital learning scenarios has developed into a high-growth market which also gives progressively greater impetus to LEARNTEC with each passing year”, says Britta Wirtz, Managing Director of Karlsruher Messe- und Kongress GmbH. “The demand for stand space is stronger than ever. The upcoming LEARNTEC will be bigger and more international than its previous editions.”

Highlights at the trade fair

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) will continue to gain importance in education. According to a recent study by Capgemini, AR and VR will become the standard at half of the queried companies within the next three to five years. In collaboration with the First German Business Association for Immersive Media (EDFVR), LEARNTEC will offer a VR/AR area in which visitors can experience a variety of exciting approaches for the education market and acquire valuable insights about AR and VR. Visitors will be able to experience Virtual Reality firsthand in a dedicated action area, where Lufthansa, Deutsche Bahn and other companies will present best-practice examples. In addition, numerous exhibitors will present their products and services for this subject.

For the first time, a Creativity Suite will facilitate knowledge sharing among LEARNTEC’s visitors and offer opportunities for lateral thinking. With neither a predefined timeframe nor a programme structure, visitors will be invited to bring up their own topics, give or listen to talks, or participate in workshops on spontaneously chosen themes.

High-carat convention with international experts

With national and international keynote speakers, LEARNTEC’s convention takes a look at the future of the digital learning market, presents successfully realized educational projects, and connects them with products and services offered by the fair’s exhibitors. “Future Learning: social, global, digital” – LEARNTEC’s convention in 2019 explores topics such as AR, VR and Mixed Reality in learning scenarios, Digital Leadership, Agility and Design Thinking for new learning worlds, as well as Big Data, Artificial Intelligence and Adaptive Learning. The convention is being conceived for the first time in collaboration with the internationally recognized Workplace Learning expert Jane Hart, who expands the convention by adding an English-language lecture part on the topic of Modern Workplace Learning. A total of more than 120 presenters will share their knowledge by giving lectures and facilitating workshops. Open-space sessions and open roundtable discussions will promote knowledge sharing between presenters and participants.

The highlights of the convention are the opening keynote address by Dr Andreas Schleicher, Director for Education and Skills at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and a keynote entitled “Reimaging Education” by Johannes Heinlein, Vice President Strategic Partnerships at edX. A keynote on “Bildung für die Digitalisierung (Education for Digitization)” by Dr Frithjof Netzer, Chief Digital Officer at BASF, and a keynote titled “Digitale Bildung im Mittelstand – es gibt noch viel zu tun! (Digital Education in Midsize Businesses – much remains to be done!)” by Dirk Röhrborn, member of the board of BITKOM e.V., likewise number among the convention’s highlights.

Britta Wirtz, Managing Director of Karlsruher Messe- und Kongress GmbH, and Sünne Eichler, member of the convention committee of LEARNTEC, on LEARNTEC 2019.

LEARNTEC begins a partnership with Jane Hart
Jane Hart, internationally recognized workplace learning expert
Jane Hart, internationally recognized workplace learning expert

From now on, the convention of LEARNTEC, Europe`s #1 in digital learning, will be organized in collaboration with Jane Hart. The globally recognized expert for corporate learning has joined LEARNTEC’s convention committee and will conceive part of the convention’s programme beginning with LEARNTEC 2019 (29 to 31 January 2019). Her participation expands the programme by adding an entirely English-language lecture portion. As an accompaniment to the specialized trade fair, LEARNTEC’s high-quality convention invites national and international keynote speakers to gaze into the future of the digital learning market. The convention presents successfully implemented educational projects and links them with offers from the exhibitors at the trade fair.

Jane Hart is among the best-known personalities in the field of corporate learning and is the founder of the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies (C4LPT), which has one of the world’s most respected websites in this field. “We are very pleased that we could win Jane Hart, who was one of our keynote speakers in 2015, to participate in shaping our convention. This long-term collaboration with her is the right step to strengthen LEARNTEC, with regard to the theme of modern workplace learning, and to contribute to the fair’s on-going internationalization”, say Britta Wirtz, Sünne Eichler and Prof. Dr. Peter A. Henning, further members of the convention committee.

Also Jane Hart is delighted about the partnership with LEARNTEC: “I am very pleased to be working with the LEARNTEC team to organise a Modern Workplace Learning (English-speaking) track. The track will contain a variety of presentation and interactive workshop sessions that will consider the fast-changing world of workplace learning. Speakers will come from the UK, USA and Canada, and will include my Internet Time Alliance colleagues, Harold Jarche, Charles Jennings and Clark Quinn.”


LEARNTEC, Europe’s largest event for digital education, annually attracts to Karlsruhe over 10,000 decision makers from industry, consulting, commerce, sales and educational institutions. Visitors can learn about the potentials of digital learning from more than 300 exhibitors and can seek specific solutions to their issues in the fields of knowledge transfer and knowledge management.

LEARNTEC’s three-day convention conveys concentrated and practical knowledge. Over 120 experts give lectures and lead workshops to share their expertise with the audience. Open-space sessions, joint brainwriting and open roundtable discussions encourage sharing between the presenters and the convention’s participants.

LEARNTEC 2019: Call for Papers
LEARNTEC 2019: Call for Papers

The Call for Papers for the LEARNTEC convention is online. The convention, which takes place simultaneously with the specialized trade fair from 29 to 31 January 2019, offers a preview of the future of the digital education market, presents successfully implemented educational projects, and connects these with the offers of the exhibitors at the specialized trade fair. Interested individuals have until 2 May 2018 to submit suggestions for themes and speakers, and thus to actively participate in the convention of the upcoming LEARNTEC.

The following thematic fields in vocational education occupy the focus of the Call for Papers for the convention of LEARNTEC 2019:

  • Learning content and its production
  • Learning software
  • Knowledge management
  • Networked learning
  • Education management
  • Human resources, learning and coaching
  • Hardware and facilities for vocational learning
  • Educational projects, programmes and organizations

Also eligible are submissions about digital education in schools and higher education institutions, which can be integrated into the programme of the fair’s forums. “The goal of the convention is to highlight trends and topics in education and continuing education. We especially invite representatives of companies and organizations who can report from practical experience. Submissions from academicians and suggestions for innovative learning concepts are likewise welcome”, say Sünne Eichler and Prof. Peter A. Henning, who are members of the convention committee of LEARNTEC. “Because of the international orientation of the convention, we also look forward to receiving submissions for lectures presented in English.”

Submissions should include: the title of the lecture and a description of its content; the name, position and company affiliation of the potential speaker; biographical details about the suggested speaker and their contact information. The submission should also specify the overriding theme (e.g. Mobile Solutions) to which the submission can be assigned. After the papers have been received, the committee of LEARNTEC will evaluate them based on various quality criteria, which are comprised from the elements of best practice, academic excellence, innovation, and experience. The committee will then decide whether to accept the paper into the final programme’s structure.

Interested individuals can participate in the Call for Papers until 2 May at the following link:

Interview with Jane Hart
Jane Hart

Jane, you are in charge of the 3-day English-speaking track at Learntec on the theme of Modern Workplace Learning. I thought this has already been established quite a while ago?

For most companies and their people, workplace learning means training, by that I mean they don’t take account of the fact that learning happens in many other ways and mostly while people do their jobs. However, some are now beginning to understand that there is more to it than e-learning and classroom training, although even Learning and Development departments do not know how to deal with this. Modern Workplace Learning is therefore a new approach for L&D to support all the different ways of learning that take place both inside and outside the company.

How would you define Modern Workplace Learning?

MWL involves three key streams of L&D activity: promoting continuous planned learning, supporting continuous improvement at work, and creating modern content, events and experiences.

What would the perfect learning scenario look like?

This would be one were everybody takes responsibility for their own continuous improvement and development to meet their own professional needs and interests. One where managers understand that learning happens continuously at work rather than just from time to time in the training room, and one where learning is seen as an ongoing process of acquiring new ideas and thinking.

How and where can employees find knowledge for their job if not in business training?

They can gain it by reading, watching videos, talking to people and in many other online places, networks and communities. It’s up to every individual to find the right places and people that bring the most value for them. Some people haven’t yet understood the importance of learning for themselves, but nowadays people cannot rely on their company to provide them with everything they need to know throughout their career. But when companies do support their people to do this for themselves, it will help them to retain their staff.

How does corporate learning have to change in times of robotics, Artificial Intelligence and machine or deep learning?

Research shows that AI won’t necessarily replace jobs, but it will change them. Everybody will need to be agile and willing to evolve with their jobs. It will be imperative for everyone to continuously acquire new knowledge and skills. Companies can prepare employees for the new work with robots and cobots, but those who leave it totally up to the management to do so will likely be the first to go.

But how can employees learn for themselves how to work with AI?

Robots will have a place in the workplace, but knowledge workers won’t necessarily need to know the technology behind them, but rather how to work with them – for instance how to work with AI to make decisions. But I believe it is much more important to work effectively with colleagues and share knowledge with them. I think that companies need to support collaborative learning in the workplace by ensuring they have a strong knowledge sharing culture.

Will humans and humanoids one day sit in the same classroom?

Who knows… but probably they will sit in the same workplace. The majority of robots will not be humanoid, but intelligent software.

Compared to today, which type of knowledge will be vital to have in the future?

I would rather speak of vital skills rather than vital knowledge. In the future people won’t necessarily need to remember lots of facts, just know where they can find the answer to their problems, as well as how to validate what they find, as well as see patterns and trends in what they find. I call this Modern Professional Learning – and it requires a set of new skills how to learn in the modern world.

Can you give an example what daily learning should look like?

I can give you a very personal example: I have been on Twitter since 2008 and every day I read or hear something in my network that takes my understanding of L&D industry a step further forward. For the last decade, it has been a matter of me learning, unlearning and relearning – although I have not really been aware of it taking place. I just know that by doing this daily for over 10 years, it has resulted in a huge mass of knowledge that I couldn’t have acquired in any other way. There are many people like me who do this. It’s just about taking some time to expose yourself to new ideas and resources in your area of interest. Just 20 minutes a day learning something new can reap huge rewards.

Are companies prepared for this new era?

The majority still operate in a traditional era where they focus on training and re-training their staff rather than supporting their continuous learning. Most have a command and control culture and mindset, where management wants to be in charge of everything. But instead of tracking people’s training activity they should support them in their continuous improvement, learning and development. Success should not be measured in terms of what they learn, but in performance. But, unfortunately, most companies still prefer to track the activity of their employees on the learning platform.

How do companies manage the shift from learning to performance?

First, it requires a bottom up rather than a top-down approach. My suggestion is to start with an awareness campaign to help people understand what a modern approach to learning means for them. L&D can then signpost the way, but at the end of the day people want the autonomy and flexibility to do what’s best for them.

Studies show that the half-life of knowledge is decreasing dramatically. So how should companies decide which knowledge their employees should acquire at all?

Knowledge is going out of date fast. A century ago, it took around 35 years for half of what an engineer learned at college to be disproved or replaced. By the 1960s, that time span shrank to a decade. Modern estimates place the half-life of an engineering degree at between 2.5 and 5 years. The fundamentals remain, but other things move on. But if you are behind the times, you soon will be out of the job.

Will workplace support replace learning?

There is a shift from courses to resources, which supports learning on demand. To watch a video, if and when they need it to solve a problem, is a far more flexible and cost-effective approach than training hundreds of people in the classroom.

In your book “Modern Workplace Learning 2019” you mention a multistage life. What do you mean by that and what does it have to do with learning?

For a long time now, a career has followed a three-stage model: education, work, retirement. In the future, we will have a multistage life, so that we will move in and out of education as well as work in full time and freelance roles, and even having a number of different careers in our working life. When it comes to companies it is often cheaper to hire people for specific jobs or projects rather than train their own people.

What do modern professionals themselves say about their learning preferences?

Since 2011 I have been conducting a workplace learning survey every year asking exactly that question. In 2018’s survey 94 % of the respondents think that learning from daily work experiences is very important or essential, followed by knowledge sharing with the team and web search. Only 29 % find classroom training very important or essential.

But anyhow it’s almost one third of the respondents.

Yes, but classroom training ranks last of all options. I was surprised to see how low it is rated. In fact, most L&D people don’t value classroom training or e-learning very highly themselves – yet that is their job to provide it. My colleague often says that a lot of training is only done in order to keep the CEO out of jail!

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