Can you future proof learning? An exercise in futility

Regular readers will have met Herman before. He is my 1964 Land Rover campervan. Herman is many things: fun, lively and likely to grab attention wherever i stop. He is also desperately unreliable and impractical. In 1964 he was cutting edge technology. In 2012 he is an antique. Things change.

The term ‘future proofing‘ is, in itself, outdated. Sure, you can make something last forever, but why would you want to? The only things that really get better with age are Sean Connery and a fine malt whiskey, the two of which may be related. Even if you can make something last, it will just seem outdated, like a corkscrew perm or a mullet.

But it’s not all bad news: whilst a piece of learning that we build may not last forever, good stories do tend to have a shelf life. We may not be able to use the same text, the same videos and the same dated graphics, but we may be able to recycle the story. As narrative sits at the heart of good learning, this may actually be a bigger win than we think.

With a typical e-learning project, i usually factor around forty percent of budget to getting the story and scripts right, and this is the element that is reusable and ‘future proofed‘. The actual media, the framework in which you build it, this may last a few years, but not forever. After all, when did you last build a project in Director?

So the moral of the story? Build great stories, great narratives than will be told around the virtual campfires in the future. The technology tomorrow? Well, it will probably be better than what we have today, so lets celebrate that and do something new.

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About Julian Stodd

A learning and development professional specialising in e-learning and learning technology.
This entry was posted in Adaptability, Age, Change, Design, Future, Learning, Learning Design, Learning Technology, Legacy, Permanence, Technology and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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