Training Industry Quarterly - Fall 2012 - (Page 49)
CLosING ArGumeNts | tiM sosBe
TechnoLogy iS here To STay, and reSiSTance iS fuTiLe
here’s something magical about technology. There’s something amazing too. It’s often like science fiction coming to life, a futuristic vision that’s right there at your fingertips. Don’t believe me? Remember pay phones? Did the idea of talking on a phone while driving down the road even occur to you 30 years ago? Maybe, but how about the Internet? Web conferencing? Real-time collaboration with colleagues across oceans? Email? The point is what seems futuristic at some points is reality today. Here’s a silly example: In the classic TV show “Get Smart,” the bumbling spy Maxwell Smart made great comic use of the “cone of silence,” a device to protect against electronic eavesdropping. Today, real-life intelligence agents have portable systems that serve the same purpose, even working in rooms wired with electronic bugs. Who’s laughing now? So I’m telling you that to tell you this: I’m a huge fan of the first two “Star Trek” series, the original and “The Next Generation.” Once upon a time I could only say that in a room of fellow scifi fans, but thanks to people like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs boldly going where no one has gone before, geek is chic. Honey, I’m home. The best part about the Star Trek universe was the technology — phasers, scanners, universal translators — all way cool for someone with imagination (and some time to kill). This part may surprise you: Much of the technology you see in the Star Trek franchise is real, or soon may be. So in that frame of mind, and with this issue celebrating learning technology, let’s talk technology. I’ve come up with a list of five training technologies I’d like to see move from the Starship Enterprise to your office. • The holodeck: This was the only “Next Generation” creation that was cooler than Captain Jean-Luc Picard, and the training implications are obvious. For those who don’t know, the holodeck essentially used 3D hologram technology to create fantasy worlds, everything from landscapes on far-off planets to Victorian England, whatever the script called for. Imagine taking simulation technology and increasing its power and presence a thousandfold. What couldn’t you train in that environment? • Beam me to class, Scotty: You’ve heard the almost-cliché argument over the effectiveness of virtual training versus classroom training. Teleporters like those Kirk and Company use to get
around space would instantly solve that controversy. Need to train your sales reps in New Jersey, Dublin and Tokyo? They’re all in the conference room now. • The Enterprise dashboard: If you’ve watched the show, you’ve seen the ultra-cool consoles used to do everything from driving the ship to launching proton torpedoes. Learning management systems can do a lot these days, but more complete control would be nice. Imagine being able to move your learners around like electronic blips and pressing short codes to arm yourself with business data. We’re not far from this one, by the way … but modern dashboards could definitely use a boost. • The replicator: In the Star Trek world, one simple command brings forward edibles ranging from cat food to still-squirming Klingon delicacies to Picard’s omnipresent cup of Earl Gray. But imagine this: You’re faced with a new task at work, so you turn to the replicator and say, “teach me XXX.” An instant teacher appears, and your interactive education begins. There’s food for thought, right? • Report please, Mr. Data: For those who don’t know, Data was the artificial life form (android) on “The Next Generation,” a robot essentially with a hankering to be human. What if you had one of these to be the places you should be throughout the day when you’re stuck being other places? At whatever intervals, you can sync your knowledge and be fully informed. Oh, and your Data requires neither sleep nor sustenance. Naturally, I’ve taken a spaceflight of fancy for this column, but you have to admit what sounds silly on TV would be cool in reality. So cool, in fact, I’d love to hear that right now, in some secret lab in some secret facility deep below some desert, a bunch of people are reading this column and saying, “I think we have a leak.” TV fantasy or not, technology is here to stay, and resistance is futile. Whether training tools will grow in this direction is most likely unlikely, but it’s a given they will advance to where today’s state-of-the-art looks ancient. Training is certain to be early adopters of whatever comes along, and together we’ll reach new worlds. Ready for the future? Then make it so. Tim Sosbe is editorial director of Training Industry Quarterly and general manager of TrainingIndustry.com webinars. Email Tim.
Training Industry Quarterly, Fall 2012 / A Training Industry, Inc. magazine / www.trainingindustry.com/TIQ
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Training Industry Quarterly - Fall 2012
Training Industry Quarterly - Fall 2012
From Where I Sit: Learning Technology Market Segments
Table of Contents
Guest Editor: Supporting the Business of Learning
The Coherent Enterprise
Tracking Informal Learning with Tin Can
Can Your People Trust You?
5 Critical Skills to Survive Tomorrow
Expert Education: Training, Technology & SMEs
Cloud Transition: More to Consider Than Just Security
My Training Dashboard? Which One?
5 Gaming Elements for Effective e-Learning
Let's Get Multi-Platform Training Right
Casebook: Colorado Secretary of State's Office
Tracking Trends: Technology: Supporting Key Initiatives
Closing Arguments: Must-See Technology
Training Industry Quarterly - Fall 2012