Welcome to eXplore – BLP’s new vlog series where we explore what’s possible in workplace learning.

In this episode, Steve Boller interviews Dr. Karl Kapp, Professor at Bloomberg University and learning trends and technologies expert. In the interview, Karl discusses current trends on the learning technology horizon and trends that may emerge in the coming years. He also shares his plans for his keynote presentation at eXLearn 2019, BLP’s second annual workplace learning conference.

Watch the full interview here or read the excerpts below.

1. What are you up to these days in especially in the workplace learning space?

I’m on sabbatical this year, which has allowed me to do a whole bunch of stuff. For example, I’m working on a new book on microlearning that’s going to be out in the fall. I’m co-authoring it with one of my former students. And my sabbatical project is creating a virtual game called Zombie math apocalypse. 

So I’ve been keeping busy designing games and thinking about the future of learning and just kind of really enjoying my time to take deep dives into stuff.

2. Many of us have read your books and attended your talks that focus on gamification and game-based learning. Recently, you have been speaking about the future of learning more broadly. Why the shift?

I like to think of myself as a learning professional first who happens to be interested in games and gamification. So a lot of my early work was about trends and things happening in the learning space. Then gamification kind of caught on and I kind of rode with that.

One of the things that have bothered me about a lot of the predictions and focus in our field is they’ll say “next year is the year of A.I.” or “it’s the year of mobile.” But to me, that’s not really a trend. That’s technology. The trend is that we’re going to have coaches in our pockets that are technology-enabled that are going to help us be better leaders or better presenters. So to me, the trend is toward behaviorally-focused digital apps, not toward movable learning or microlearning.

3. In the learning technology landscape, do you typically see a delay between the buzz and excitement surrounding new tech (like AI, VR, etc.) and actual adoption in the corporate space?

I definitely think so because what happens is it’s easier to come out with the technology first. But it’s hard to identify how the technology is going to impact the organization and employees. How is it going to make their job easier, better, faster, and more proficient? We as learning professionals really need to think about technology implementation at a much more strategic level.

4. What are some of the trends you see where the impact on performance is defined enough that the trends are really ready to make an impact in the learning space?

Task and performance analysis are going to be huge trends. Essentially, we need to perform upfront task analysis and break down learner behaviors and schedules and apply our findings to the new technology.

It’s not enough to say “we’re going to have learning analytics.” What matters is how you interpret and use those analytics and results to inform the direction of your training program.

5. What trends do you think will emerge in the next few years?

I think VR is going to be a niche trend. I think Augmented Reality is going to be leaps and bounds ahead because when you can put work procedures or instructions on top of a piece of equipment (an engine, a motor, etc.), that’s going to be game-changing for L&D.

I also think sensor-based instruction is going to be important in the future. It was here for a while and it kind of went away. So I always say look for the hype stuff that’s gone away.

We’re also going to have to pay attention to re-humanizing the learning and development process so that we don’t lose what fundamentally gives us an advantage over a robot or a machine. It’s going to be very interesting.

6. You’ve created quite a few courses for Lynda.com. What do you like about creating educational content for that medium?

I’ve done several courses on gamification. I just created one on the gamification of sales and one on learning and development as a competitive advantage.

Basically, Lynda.com is more like a one on one mentorship or conversation. As the instructor, I’m looking at the camera (which is the learner) and really talk to them about what they need to do. So when we think about online learning or the video learning format, the goal is for the instructor to have a one-to-one conversation or relationship with the learners.

What’s also great is the scalability. I can take courses from people all over the world that I would never have exposure to before, which is fantastic.

7. As a 2019 keynote speaker, what are you planning to present at eXLearn?

One of the things that I’m going to talk about is what to look for when you look for trends. I’m going to talk about the convergence of several different things that point to a trend and how to find those lines of convergence.

I want to discuss ways you can uncover the right technology and where it can lead us as learning professionals both from the technology perspective and practice perspective.

The Fast Five

1. A person you love to follow on social media? 

Melissa Milloway – She works at Amazon but her weekends and evenings are spent creating eLearning projects and experimenting with eLearning tools and then talking about her experimentation. 

2. A great piece of advice you have received? 

You can never find time. You can only make time. 

3. Biggest lesson learned in business? 

Always listen to your customer and adapt appropriately.

4. Favorite website or blog to read related to learning and development? 

I love the stuff by Tom Peters. 

5. App you can’t live without? 

Plants vs. Zombies 2

Excellence in Workplace Learning Starts Here

Join us in Indianapolis September 4-5th for BLP's second annual eXLearn conference.