Who’s going to pay for your Learning Record Store?

Jane Hart recently released interim results for her Learning in the Workplace Survey and though it is still open, has found evidence that show how workers continue to organize and manage their own learning in the workplace. 

Interestingly enough, shortly after I was reading Jane's interim results I bumped into this great infographic by Catalin Zorzini (scroll down to the Testimonials section) on how web designers get educated.  What struck me the most about this infographic were the testimonials from web designers and the bottom of the page.  Look at how many of these designers consider the skills they have self-taught themselves through experimentation and the tutorials of others priceless- and in many instances superior to those skills acquired in a formal education. 

The interim results from Jane’s survey as well as the infographic and other anecdotal data we continue to receive from our clients point to a growing trend in the learning and development field.  Ownership and control of learning and development activities is shifting from the L&D department to individual learners.  One technology that is sure to move this trend further along was the release last week of the new Tin Can API. 

 Click on image for slides from presentation of The Experience API by Nik Hruska at Defense Game Tech Users’ Conference 2013.

Click on image for slides from presentation of The Experience API by Nik Hruska at Defense Game Tech Users’ Conference 2013.

The new Tin Can API brings with it the portability of “experience” data will allow learners to take their learning records (which will be stored in the cloud) with them when moving from one organization to the next.  Learning records are no longer locked into one organization’s LMS and left to rot there once an employee leaves.  This has some pretty massive implications for the fields of human resources, organizational development as well as training and development.

There are still some kinks left to be worked out with this API, for example – when an employee leaves a company and is in between jobs, who pays for that cloud-based learning record store?  Traditionally speaking, companies have paid for some learning management system to keep these records. When employees ask to take their learning records with them so that they don’t have to retake that compliance or sexual harassment prevention course again upon starting employment with another organization, will companies download these records from their learning record cloud and hand them over to the employee in a USB stick?  Better yet, will organizations feel comfortable handing over this data on behalf of a departing employee to a competitor?

Many of these issues will get worked out in the months and years ahead.  In the meantime, if you are one of those learners whose already taken responsibility for your own learning and development- would you pay for a personal and portable cloud-based learning record store?

Alex Santos

Alex is a co-founder and Managing Member of Collabor8 Learning, LLC, an instructional design and performance management consultancy. His firm collaborates with organizations to enhance the way they develop  and train their people. To learn more about Collabor8 Learning, click here.

Alex can be reached at 786-512-1069, alex@collabor8learning.com or via Twitter@collabor8alex.