It’s unbelievable to think that the 21st OEB is almost upon us. But unlike the years – which ostensibly pass with a perceived acceleration while evenly metered – the increasing pace of technological change is very real. It is all businesses can do to keep up with the news of the changes happening on a weekly, even daily basis, let alone be able to actually make these changes a reality and reap the rewards of any newfound agility.
By Jon Kennard, Editor of TrainingZone
Please forgive the sombre tone of this introduction. All is certainly not lost, and while the technological advances in both hardware and software may be moving at near-light speed, so too are the methods of disseminating information and the evolution of social media. As processors continue to double and halve in power and size respectively, consumer tech must become the new standard. Are we now in a post-BYOD world? Is it even worth any more editorial space to state that learning has become fully student centric or employee centric? And if this is an axiomatic change, what is the conversation now – and where is it to be had and with whom? These are all questions that can be addressed and possibly answered at OEB. If there were to be a rebuttal to user-centred learning, the networked office, or the virtual campus, it’s that it makes face-to-face contact more important than ever before, such is its scarcity. This, in turn, arguably renders OEB more meaningful than it’s ever been.
It may be retrograde to frame current learning strategies as a part-product of past events, but it must be said that the upheaval of financial instability has been lingering for almost a decade. The “more with less” rhetoric of the public and private sectors and higher education alike wasn’t invented in the wake of 2008’s events, yet it’s certainly been a key mantra for many since. But then, who doesn’t want to get the most value for their learning investment? And it isn’t just technological ubiquity driving the price down that makes this increased ROI possible either. The aforementioned move toward device agnosticism and truly widespread adoption of social technologies both play their part.
From humbler beginnings, it’s been great to see OEB expand its operations over the years, and purely from a corporate standpoint, it is – I think – beneficial that the remit is wider than it’s ever been. That the programme today encompasses business-focused talks and workshops is proof of not only the crossover and bleed between higher education and corporate learning but also the increased fragmentation of the lifelong-learning experience. I look forward to much discussion, dispute and deliberation at the start of next month in Berlin.