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The Future of Learning Technology

November 2004
Author:  Rob Edmonds, Contributor:  Eilif Trondsen

This report explores the future of learning technologies by addressing:
Technology background. What are the key technologies that will affect learning in the next five years and beyond?

Commercial development parameters. What factors will shape the market development of learning technology?

Areas to monitor. Which issues are uncertain but have high impact on learning-technology development?

Future vision. Given the commercial development parameters and areas to monitor, what are some of the likely developments for the future? What are the emerging commercial opportunities and their implications?

Action agenda. What actions can enterprise adopters and learning vendors take today?
The report represents SRI Consulting Business Intelligence's (SRIC-BI's) Learning-on-Demand (LoD) program's current view of technology and commercial developments based on our ongoing research, consulting assignments, and interactions with industry players. It is based on current available information and insight, and therefore one can expect the need for updating as events unfold. We do not pretend in this report to answer with any certainty how learning technology will develop. Instead, we want to provoke further thinking, innovation, and analysis as we work together to create the future of learning.

Some developments are as much as ten years into the future, and some are much more near term. Although most companies do not have the luxury of planning more than two or three years ahead, a broader vision of the future of learning technology is important to have—to put today's technologies, processes, and strategies into context and show that they are not just a flash in the pan but part of an evolution toward a greater goal. In particular, this report recognizes that:

Learning technology and service providers need to understand technology evolution in order to make long-term investment and strategy decisions.

Learning providers need to be able to present their thought leadership in a coherent vision of the future to be credible with major customers and investors.

Enterprise adopters need to sort the wheat from the chaff among today's eLearning solutions, and—in part—doing so involves understanding how the future may evolve and which solutions will leave a company best prepared.

The Future of Learning Technology