Training in the age of Google
By: Kathleen Iverson, Ph.D.
The internet has created a generation of autodidactic learners–those who would rather “Google it” than rely on formal learning. Their favorite teachers are YouTube, Buzzfeed, Facebook, Quora, and Reddit; sites that pop up when you enter the search term, “How do I . . .” followed by almost anything from “find a job,” “deal with a difficult boss,” or an all-time favorite, “choose a career?”
Self-directed learning (SDL) has many advantages: it empowers us to take control of our learning with web-based tools and expand our knowledge, skills, and abilities quickly and often effectively. We can readily share our own knowledge and expertise with others and join “communities of practice” around common areas of interest. But there is a dark side to SDL: the web is filled with fake news, misinformation, and “expert” opinions from those who really have no expertise. How do we as learning professionals compete with the superficial “tips and tricks” delivered up in an instant by Google?
One way to do this is to focus on good training: that which is relevant to the learner, objectives-based, engaging, and offers both practice and feedback. Learners are naturally motivated by training that meets their educational needs.
Of course, if you can’t beat them, join them: educate learners on credible resources for information, education, and research on the web and incorporate such resources into your training programs either as pre work or post work.
Here are reputable information and educational sources on the web to share with learners and to also use as resources for your own learning needs:
Videos and Education
How to Videos: Lynda www.lynda.com or now, LinkedIn Learning offers thousands of videos and courses on topics mostly related to technology, business, and design. Many local libraries offer a free subscription to cardholders.
Online Courses: Coursera https://www.coursera.org/ has both free and cost-based courses taught by top educators on a variety of topics.
Ted Talks: www.ted.com this site needs no introduction, but you may not know about TedEd https://ed.ted.com/ a site devoted primarily to k-12 students, but some can apply to any age (i.e. How to Spot a Liar) and include learning resources.
Science Daily www.sciencedaily.com is a database of the latest research offered up in brief, easy-to-read summaries. If you need a quick fact, it’s a more reputable alternative to Reddit or Buzzfeed.
Google Scholar www.scholar.google.com is a search tool for scholarly literature. Yes, it’s still Google, but the information you access is from published books and journals. It providesabstracts for most citations and many complete articles are available if you log into your University library account.
Harvard Business Review www.hbr.com is a rich resource for articles and ideas on leadership, management, technology, and learning.
Pew www.pewresearch.org is a nonpartisan think tank that disperses an array of information about current world topics.
T & D Industry-specific
Here are just a few to get you started:
Associate for Talent Development (ATD) www.td.org offers extensive information about training, workplace, learning, and talent development. Some content is free, some free with registration, and some requires membership.
E-learning: There are many great blogs and sites for e-learning.
- Cathy Moore’s blog: https://blog.cathy-moore.com/blog/
- E-learning Industry: https://elearningindustry.com/
- Learning Solutions Magazine: https://learningsolutionsmag.com/
- Rapid E-learning Blog: https://blogs.articulate.com/rapid-elearning/
I realize that I have barely scratched the surface of reputable web-based learning resources. To add to this list, consider the following questions you should ask about all sources:
- Who wrote it? Does this person have credentials in the field?
- Are there references or sources?
- Who published it?
- How current is it?
Please add a comment to share additional resources that you find helpful or that would benefit workplace learners.