Many may not know (well you do now), that I’ve been blogging since 2005 about various things unrelated to learning, work or performance on my Ramblings blog.
In fact, Ramblings was more of a movie and book review site, with lots of knitting and travel stories, posts about Demis Roussos, Greek politics, cat gifs and a handful of whinging about all sorts of odd stuff with no rhyme or reason – hence the name, Ramblings.
I doubt I even had (or still have) any followers – it was never my intention to write for an audience. It was my little piece of black hole cyberspace to vent in and to practice writing.
Over the years, I’ve grown and matured online but I am annoyed at myself for rambling for six years when I could have been writing about my work and my learning and it all stemmed through one thing.
- Fear of social media.
- Fear of losing my job if someone disagreed with what I was writing.
- Fear of letting people know what I do, how I work, how I learn – after all,” knowledge is power isn’t it?” (or so I thought back in 2005)
Ever since I started this Activate Learning Solutions blog and focussed my writing on what I’m learning and working on, I’ve noticed that the greatest value for me came through connecting with others around a shared interest or passion. I’ve always had an interest in learning and development but I was stifled because I felt that I couldn’t write about it so openly and instead focussed on other topics. Safer topics.
However, after seeing Donald Clark’s presentation on Three Tech Trends that Could Change Learning Forever, it brought back these feelings of fear and anxiety in particularly of how my colleagues in learning and development must be feeling when it comes to new technologies, platforms and media that are now widely available. When Donald Clark showed the video clip of a young man wearing Occulus Rift, struggling to stay upright, admittedly I chuckled but at the same time I was engrossed.
- How can this elicit such a strong response in the brain?
- How can we use this for learning?
- What applications can we use this in our workplace?
- What’s this all mean for me? For Learning & Development teams?
It reminded me of a blog post I wrote back in 2008 on my own experience of wearable technology and simulations. (I dabbled in Second Life, The Sims and other games but they never captured my attention for long simply because I failed to make the connection between those and applications for the workplace).
Back in 2008, my brother bought the Bike-o-Vision goggles along with various DVDs of cycling paths through the Napa Valley and Puerto Rico. We set up the bike in the lounge room, opened the blinds to let the sunlight in (to feel the warmth on our skin), put the DVD in the player, turned on the fan (simulated wind, you see), got on the bike, put the googles on our head making sure all the cables were out of the way of the pedals and cycled through wonderful scenery of roads, hills, plains and vineyards.
(The reality broken by the sound of a banging kitchen cupboard or a vacuum cleaner whirring in the background).
This was my first experience of virtual reality in our own home but back then, I hadn’t made that connection of these tools and games to learning or the workplace. It was simply another toy to play, another frivolous gimmick to waste time on, a passing fad.
Maybe this is what many Learning and Development people are experiencing right now?
The realisation that what they thought was frivolous, gimmicky or a passing fad is now demonstrating to have applications in workplace contexts that affects and impacts the way they design and deliver learning to their people – or in many cases, directly impacting their jobs and budgets. Or, how their own organisations are seeing those connections and applications for workplace contexts long before learning and development learning teams do.
Jane Hart is now exploring the use of wearable technology and The Next Best Thing in Learning and I look forward to learning more about this through her new website and experimentation with the tools.
If anything, this is demonstrating to me that we need to be curious and not dispel these tools and gadgets the moment they don’t fit with our preconceived notion of learning, training and performance with a misguided belief that they won’t impact our roles or how we work. In effect, Jane Hart is modelling the behaviour of curiosity and learning – and that’s something we can all learn.
The time for rambling is long gone. We need to get on our bike and start cycling to keep up.