Generating hype is in itself an industry that keeps many of us gainfully engaged or just engaged. The learning and development industry is no stranger to hype but training departments are inherently averse to hype. This inherent propensity not to embrace the latest and the greatest is an advantage and a disadvantage. In instances where a trend or technology is just a hype or a fad, not jumping on the bandwagon is obviously prudent in hindsight. However, ignoring the writing on the wall is also dangerous. For example, if the prevailing attitude in your training organization is not aligned to the mobile first world, there is a very high possibility of the training department losing its relevance. Let’s take a look at three predictions that never went anywhere, at least not yet.
Facebook as a Learning Platform: In around 2007, there was a lot of buzz around how Facebook can replace the LMS. This idea caught on with the higher education and K12 trainers as they were looking to find ways to take the courses to where students were (online). The same idea was touted as the next big thing for the enterprise. Facebook never attempted to make it self relevant for the enterprise crowd and never ever achieved the same engagement that Apple commands from its users. This idea of using Facebook was a big miss, but the likes of Yammer and other social collaboration tools validated the fundamental promise of Facebook i.e collaboration.
Virtual Worlds for Enterprise Training: Big names got caught up with Second Life in 2005 / 2006 time frame. Companies like IBM built islands, immersive 3D was touted as the panacea that will change revolutionize training delivery. The idea never really took off beyond the initial enthusiasm for various reasons – lack of a secure platform for the enterprise, the rapid drop in interest levels of the audience once the novelty factor dries up, and expensive development efforts scuttled this trend. Virtual Worlds are still being used in industries such as oil and gas where these tools make a lot of sense and deliver a tangible ROI and there are specialized providers that are catering to the requirements of the enterprise.
Gamification of training: The impact of gamification is still being debated as organizations are figuring out the real ROI of gamification. Predictably, gamification has not really caught on as a tool to promote greater learner engagement for training programs in the enterprise. However, game-based content has seen better traction as enterprises are trying to build more engaging content. The reason I am writing the obituary for gamification in the enterprise training domain is because enterprise are unable to see the connection between incentives / points / badges and employee motivation and engagement with training programs. The higher education industry has seen better traction in this regard.
Would love to hear your comments on other notable disappointments.