CES2016 Update Part 2: eLearning Mega-trend!


This year’s CES2016 is a glimpse into the near future of tech, but a further future for eLearning. It’s easy to get excited about technology after an event like CES. Many of the really cool products will never get to the hands of consumers, and others won’t go mainstream for several years. And that means that the eLearning industry won’t take advantage of it until a few years after that. However, it’s still very interesting to see what’s coming and how we might prepare ourselves and our learners for the coming changes.

Last week I attended the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas and can tell you it was an overwhelming experience. I thought I did a pretty good job of covering all 3 expo areas of the event, but I’m still seeing things on the internet that I did not see. If you’ve never been to CES it’s hard to explain the experience. People have told me a lot about, but nothing they said prepared me for the massive size of this event. If you ever have the chance to attend, I would highly recommend it.

After day one I posted an update and intended to write a blog post each night. But that just didn’t happen for day 2 and 3. I decided instead to do as much posting through other social media channels as possible and then write a second blog post update after I had a change to internalize everything more deeply. And so, this is that blog post.

CES Mega-trend: Blended Data

There were several trends displayed at CES that effect our industry. But after thinking a lot over the weekend I began to see a larger more all encompassing trend emerging: Blended Data. (I’m not completely sold on the term but it’s the best I could come up with.) Each individual trending technology is important on their own, but put them all together and you see blended data as one mega-trend that truly shapes the future of eLearning and edtech.

Blended Data is exactly what you’d think. Its The blending of data from multiple sources to create new data/content. Or at the very least represent the individual data in a larger context with other data. Some of the individual trends at CES were in the automated home, the quantified self represented in the health and fitness section, and the internet of things represented all over the event in every expo category. There were also tools for how we create content which connects to the trend in increased user-generated content. It’s important to note that I considered content like video, still images, audio, etc., to be data in this context. So not only do we have numbers to contend with, but we also have media data as well. How we make sense of ALL the data to create something useful and new is the mega-trend Blended Data.

What does Blended Data have to do with the eLearning industry? Everything. The training department is no longer the only creator of content useful for learning. This is especially true for those focused on the performance support segment of our industry. Blending user-generated content, data from the internet of things, the quantified self, and basic automation, you begin to see how performance support will simply become part of the workplace, and part of the job, without a separate intervention from the training team or learning consultant.

All of this data also makes it possible for new virtual reality systems based on mobile devices. Intel did a demonstration of their mobile virtual reality toolkit which was quite impressive.

This tech is not quite perfected, but you can see how easy it will be in the future to create fully interactive virtual reality simulations for just about any training situation. And like everything else, the tech is getting smaller and cheaper which is helping drive further innovation.

Virtual reality had a very big presence at CES2016. And it also fits nicely into the blended data mega-trend. The virtual spaces are being created by data gathered from multiple micro cameras and being presented to the user in real-time. This technology, for most of us, is likely the technology furthest away. But it’s coming.

In summary, there was so much more at CES than I can possibly fit into one blog post or even several posts. The event pretty much saturated the online tech media channels. And you can overwhelm yourself in the #CES2016 hashtag stream if you’d like. In future posts I will highlight some specific content creation and consumption products that you can buy and use today for your eLearning content development. But in general, with regards to our industry, the blended data mega-trend is collectively the best definition of what I saw and experienced.

You check out my recent Periscope videos for more information as well.

Also, if you’re interested in hearing more, you can join me and the Litmos team at our C3 Event coming soon.