Resistance is Futile!


You can’t stop the rise of IT connectivity; learning systems are next up to join the Internet of Things

According to a new market research report, the Internet of Things (IoT) Integration market will be worth 3,301 Million USD by 2022.  This figure covers associated IoT devices and platform management, system design and architecture and other advisory services. They forecast the global market will grow from USD 760 Million currently to USD 3,302 Million by 2022. That’s a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of over 34.2%. This is no small beer.

Meanwhile the Pew Research Centre has just published a report that says that we are on an  IoT ‘connectivity binge’! Pew suggests that, despite concerns about cyberattacks, outages and privacy violations, most experts believe the IoT will continue to expand in the next few years. It will tie machines to machines and link people to valuable resources, services and opportunities. Interesting throughout, the report is at its most convincing when it considers the major themes on the future of IoT. Amongst other things it says that:

  • People crave connection and convenience, and a tech-linked world serves both goals well:
    • It’s only human to connect, and there are many advantages. It’s magical, even addictive.
    • As life increases in complexity, convenience is the default setting for most people. The always-on younger generation can’t imagine being anything but connected.
  • Unplugging isn’t easy now, and by 2026 it will be even tougher:
    • Resistance is futile: Businesses will penalise those who disconnect; social processes reward those who connect. Fully withdrawing is extremely difficult, maybe impossible.
    • You can’t avoid using something you can’t discern. So much of the Internet of Things operates out of sight that people will not be able to unplug completely.

So what does this mean for organisational learning professionals? Well if this is even only partly true, it means anyone thinking of building a system to support organisational learning today must put connectivity to the top of the agenda. Without being tied directly to our broader business and life processes, organisational learning will be an irrelevant anachronism. A view probably held by some learners even now.

The IoT will ensure that tomorrow’s learning solutions will belong to highly connectable systems. Designed as an open system, it can link with hundreds of third-party apps using the latest tech standards such as IMS LTI. The adoption of standards makes a far wider range of learning opportunities immediately available. But more interestingly, learningCloud’s open cloud based architecture also enables you to pull in data from non-learning specific systems (manufacturing, support, sales, etc) so you can be a full partner in the IoT revolution.

What we’re starting to discover is that this kind of connectivity isn’t just a ‘nice to have’. It is going to be an unavoidable part of our lives, private and organisationally. Whether we as learning professionals like it or not, as they say, resistance if futile and frankly counterproductive.

The good news is that these integrations have the power to provide tailored learning on demand in a whole new way. The IoT will help us automatically identify learning needs in a wider range of activities. It will power connectivity to relevant learning. It will help us assess the effectiveness of our learning more accurately. It can help rid us of the learning bugbear where learners are expected to study things they already know or don’t need to know. It will tie learning seamlessly into corporate roles and activities. All of these are positive benefits. Making it happen will be one of the most exciting challenges ever presented to us as learning professionals.


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Martin Belton

Martin is a director of Ascot Communications, one of the UK’s leading consultancies working with learning technology organisations. He has presented on stages as far afield as Tokyo and Los Angeles and authored more papers on elearning and IT than he, or anyone else, cares to remember.