At the opening of Learntec, Europe’s largest fair for digital learning, Dr Frank Mentrup underscored the topic of lifelong learning. In answer to the question of the most recent thing he had learned, Karlsruhe’s mayor replied: “I belong to the older generation, and therefore every day holds a new challenge to learn from and with new technologies.” With this sentence, the opening speaker set the agenda for the next three days—learning from and with new technologies.
The Stavanger Declaration was recently published, encompassing four years’ study by more than 130 researchers from a range of disciplines. The subject of this report? The development of reading practices in the digital age. The objective? To find out the benefits of reading on paper and screens and how these can be used to best advantage for different target groups and objectives. The results? That reading longer texts on paper is far more beneficial than reading them on screens. The conclusion: Doing away with digitalisation when it comes to reading? By no means. Digital texts have their advantages, too. For example, texts can be tailored for each individual reader.
The study recommends that teachers, lecturers, coaches and trainers teach readers strategies in order to succeed in in-depth reading on digital devices, with a high level of text comprehension. This and many other topics are Learntec’s focus.
Bechtle: Getting involved.
The burning question here, is how can we use digitalisation to assist our education and development? A multitude of answers were presented in Karlsruhe, including one from Bechtle. Their Karlsruhe Systems Integrator used the opportunity to present their own offering—especially their Schools and IT solutions. An area where Bechtle is exceptionally prolific.
Managing Director Richard Einstmann and his team introduced partner imsimity, a company that is intensively engaged with the topic of immersive learning and has developed the Cyber-Classroom in cooperation with teachers.
CEO Martin Zimmerman is convinced that “only in the coming years will we be able to make the most of the opportunities offered by many education technologies.” In keeping with the findings of the Stavanger Declaration, he commented: “Schools and universities will still be using books ten years into the future, but complement this with intelligent digital solutions. It’s about more than reading, it’s about experiencing things. In the Cyber-Classroom, teachers don’t have to fight to keep pupils’ attention, because everything happens in a world that children, teenagers and young adults are drawn to.”
VR & AR are dominating the scene.
Training and development within companies also played a central role at the Karlsruhe fair. Many of the more than a hundred talks and discussions focussed on this topic, with titles such as “The digital transformation of corporate education and the five learning situations in the 70:20:10 Model” and “Digital education in SMEs – Still a long way to go!”
There are no end of buzzwords: machine learning, artificial intelligence, video, content, mobile, curated learning, gamification, augmented reality, movement learning, virtual reality and more. AR and VR are currently the forerunners and digital glasses the rising star of Learntec. HoloLens and the like are being used in all situations imaginable— for field-action training in the armed forces, to teach how to best perform heart surgery, and in learning how to safely use a chainsaw to name a few.
What happens online?
Of course, the sector is already thinking about gauging the success of digital learning and evaluating the technology. Anja Emonds researched these topics at the University of Maastricht and presented some surprising results at Learntec. For example, companies actually achieve less learning success with video content, whereas social learning really blossoms in a digital environment. This means that answering open questions, starting discussions or participating in discussions lead to the best results in digital learning.
In relation to employer branding, in-house training is playing an increasingly important role—and the results of the Maastricht research reflect this too. Some 65% of millennials say that an opportunity for training is a key factor when choosing a job. However, 42% of employees are of the opinion that what their employers currently offer in this respect is not sufficient. There’s a still a long way to go—and Learntec is a great provider of inspiration. For Bechtle Karlsruhe, the fair was a great success. “Off the back of our all-round positive experience, we’ve already booked our booth for Learntec 2020—and it’s twice as big as this year’s. We’ll be able to present our offering even more effectively and in more depth,” says Managing Director Richard Einstmann at the end of three varied and informative days.