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Author's profile photo Fred Isbell

Thoughts about the Future of Learning

By Fred Isbell, senior marketing director and head of thought leadership Service & Support Marketing at SAP

It was my pleasure to host this week the first of our SAP Service & Support Thought Leadership webcasts – “Simplifying the Future of Learning”.

Learning WC-1.jpgWe had a panel of three subject matter experts and thought leaders speak and answer questions on the Future of Learning:

  • Kerry Brown, VP User Adoption, SAP Education
  • Jodie Stahly Payette, Global Alliance Leader, Deloitte Consulting LLP
  • Jan Meyer, Global Head of Learning Strategy, Business Development and Delivery Channels, SAP Knowledge Transfer & Education

A few key thoughts and conclusions came to me after the webcast and the awesome dialogue with these three experts:

  • The generational aspect is fascinating – as a late “baby boomer” I am part of the “grey wave” that is giving way to younger Gen X/Y and Millenials.  Although I have no plans to “retire” any time soon, and intend to keep active for many years to come teaching and writing (and playing/coaching hockey?), my generation is giving way to new workers.  Millenials have a very different view of the world. For them e-learning and leaning in the cloud is much more “the way it is” (in parallel with innovations and disruptive technology in general) than for my generation that grew up on a diet mainly of classroom learning.  See my BLOG “The Russian Tea Room, E-Learning, and the Future of Work” for some of my thoughts and experiences.  Millenials will be three-quarters of the workforce when I “retire” – so to get ready I’ve done a bit of “reverse mentoring” with my Millenial colleagues.  So far the results are quite promising – Sweet!
  • Key trends such as the consumerization of IT, where people expect the same simple work computing experience as in their personal lives – brought by Amazon, Facebook, Google and more – have a distinct parallel in learning and education.  Our panelists addressed this from various perspectives and it was clear that the learning management solutions (LMS) required to pull this off are a reality today. Just as I can order a new book froLearning WC-2.pngm anywhere – made possible by mobility, ubiquitous connectivity and the networked businesses of the digital economy – the same is the future of learning, where learning will (and does now) come to the student, wherever they are.
  • As I described in my recent BLOG “Event Season and Modern Marketing: My Personal Take On Thought Leadership” I am always looking for one or two major “aha” moments or key takeaways from any event, presentation or session.  The concept of being a continuous learner was one of those “aha” moments for me.  Fortunately I drank that Kool-Aid long ago – when I speak to young MBA’s and university students, I stress that’s a key part of being successful in a fast-changing world.  When asked how much of my marketing MBA at the Duke/Fuqua school of business I use, I say “the 4 P’s” and the basics of Phillip Kotler’s marketing textbook that’s now in the 14th edition (I think it was in the 2nd edition when I got my MBA!).  Everything else I have learned through a dedication to continuous learning – some on-line, some from colleagues and much from good old “OJT” – on the job training. I love to quote Albert Einstein – “An education is what’s left when the facts are forgotten” – and the combination of being a continuous learner is the “secret sauce” to use a phrase our SAP CEO Bill McDermott loves to use.

Finally, the old adage “if you don’t know where you are going any road will get you there” has never been truer.

The majority of our audience on the webcast when polled said they either have a plan underway or a process to have a plan for their own organizations’ future of learning.  That’s very good news indeed.  I recommend you take a few minutes out of your busy schedules and view the on-demand webcast replay – and the really great discussion and interaction with our three experts.  Click here to view the on-demand replay – and be sure to visit SAP Education for more information on e-learning, learning in the cloud and more.

Fred Isbell is the senior marketing director and head of thought leadership Service & Support Marketing at SAP.

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