2010 was a big year for learning. There were exciting advances in theories and technologies for education, some great books were published, and some new tools released. Here’s our list for the top five learning concepts of the past year, and resources you can use for each.

  • Mobile Learning – Back in 2008, The Masie Center’s Learning Consortium distributed a “Mobile Learning Update” highlighting mobile as the next frontier in corporate learning.  The Update said, “Our mobile telephones are evolving into platforms for collaboration, knowledge access and performance support.  The MASIE Center is convinced that one of the next frontiers will be designing learning and performance applications that fit naturally into our hands, pockets, purses and lives.” At Blackboard we took it to heart and launched Blackboard Mobile Learn on the iPad, Android, iPhone, and Blackberry.  For more on Mobile Learning in a business setting, check out Gary Woodill’s latest book, The Mobile Learning Edge.

  • Social Networks – It’s clear that social media plays an important role in everyday life. According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, “one-third (35 percent) of American adult Internet-users have a profile on an online social network site.” Schools, corporations and communities have begun making significant investments in social networks for their stakeholders, and that trend seems very likely to continue as they convert from systems of authoritative one-to-many communications into conversations taking place on the social Web. That’s why we integrated Blackboard Connect with Facebook and Twitter. Our customers can update Facebook and Twitter pages with their Blackboard Connect messages to ensure they are communicating with the larger online social community. We also offer numerous social features in Blackboard Learn, like groups, wikis, and blogs.
  • Blended Learning –  Now how about looking at these new technology learning trends in combination with more traditional formal instruction? The ProEd division of Blackboard believes that businesses should combine technology-based learning tools with the traditional to maximize opportunities to solidify training material, broaden classroom experiences, address different learning styles, and improve learning effectiveness overall. David Mallon, an analyst with Bersin & Associates, explains how corporations can learn from university campuses in a research bulletin titled “Using Higher Education’s Model Blended Learning Model as Corporate Social Learning Strategy.
  • Continuous Learning – People never stop learning. When it comes to professional education, many corporations look to software applications for tracking, recording, and general administration of learning initiatives. But achieving a deeper learning, the kind that only comes from genuinely internalizing the material, is best achieved through a more continuous learning environment. Patrick Devlin, Blackboard’s VP of Sales & Market Development, gave an excellent presentation on the necessity of establishing a continuous learning environment in corporate training at Elliott Masie’s Learning 2010 conference in late October. Check it out (audio only).
  • Collaborative Learning – People learn best when they learn together, and from one another. That’s why collaborative learning practices are becoming increasingly important to educational institutions and businesses alike. Whether they use chat rooms, Internet forums, or message boards – or more robust tools like Blackboard Collaborate and Jambok – they understand that offering a common web destination for instructors and learners to share questions, answers, and generally provide value to each other outside of the classroom is crucial to encouraging and promoting collaboration in learning.

Next year looks to be even more exciting than this one, and we hope you’ll join us as we continue to embrace the best new concepts in 2011.

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