Internationally-renowned e-learning expert Tom Kuhlmann believes South Africa’s learning economy appears to be the bridge between what is happening in more established economies and the opportunities in developing economies.
Because the democratisation of online learning has enabled anyone and any market to access information and educational material, developing economies will “catch up quickly and South Africa plays a role in that”, he says.
Kuhlmann is the Chief Learning Architect at US-based Articulate, maker of the world’s most popular apps for online learning. The company serves 120 million learners worldwide, operating in over 170 countries, with a customer base in excess of 120 000.
He will be the keynote speaker at the upcoming free-to-attend Learning Indaba taking place on 1 June at Johannesburg’s Bryanston Country Club (as well as being streamed online), and the pay-to-attend Articulate Roadshow, taking place on 2 June at Bryanston Country Club, followed by 6 June at the Cape Sun Hotel in Cape Town.
The Learning Indaba is an annual conference series that boasts a range of experts who provide insights on resources, latest trends and best-practice methods in the eLearning space. Started in 2013, the conference provides Human Resources and Learning & Development (L&D) professionals a platform to network and collaborate with peers from a range of industries.
Kuhlmann noted that learning is a solution process, and a lot of real learning is self-directed.
“In the past, organisations and their training teams were gatekeepers to the critical content and learning experiences. Technology has changed this dynamic, and the way organisations approach instructional design needs to change with it,” he says.
“On top of that, a lot of what is touted as instructional design is really repackaged content. Anyone can access content. And that’s going to be even easier as more AI-driven tools emerge. Instructional design needs a radical shift towards impactful learning experience.”
It is the first time the Articulate Roadshow is being held in South Africa, and Kuhlmann is understandably excited.
“The Articulate Roadshows are one of my favourite events. They’re filled with hundreds of tips and tricks and we provide a lot of take-home resources. While attendees will learn a lot, It’s less a training workshop and more like an organic jam session. They’re fun and informal.
“For attendees it’s also a great way to connect with their peers. They also get to connect with Articulate’s training team. I tend to think we’re fun people, so the event is fun. And because we haven’t been to South Africa before, this is an opportunity to connect with the local Articulate community, something that doesn’t come around very often.”
He says he’s always been someone to take a simple approach that is removed from “marketing lingo and industry buzzwords” to remain true to where organisations are in their journey.
“Some organisations have money and staffing to create one type of learning experience, and others are on the opposite side with limited funds and resources. I do what I can to help those on that side do the best with what they have.
“I usually try to build a solid framework of understanding of three key points which provides context and structure. I also try to keep things real and focus on what’s practical and achievable regardless of where one is in the journey. I hope that people can go back to their work with some good insight, tools, and resources that actually help them be more successful in what they’re doing.”