Superpowers are everything –
whether in a title or in a device that sits comfortably in the pocket of 3.3mn
people worldwide. In the former case, it is (currently) about a certain
President of the United States surviving impeachment the same way he built his
powerful presidency – by assaulting facts and seeking to expand the limitations
of the office he is accused of abusing. The latter is far more reassuring as mobile
learning is projected to grow at a rate of 26 percent by 2026, to reach USD 95
billion in 2026 from USD 8 billion in 2018. That mobile technology
is touching the lives of almost every human being on this planet is reason enough
for L&D to sit up, take notice and adopt. It’s a superpower that’s handy,
affordable and always on.
As for me, I have my personal
With a scarf tied around his neck,
trunks pulled over his ill-fitting slacks and a fisted hand sticking out in the
sky, my 6 year old dashes around the house calling himself Superman. While I
find this deeply endearing, I often worry if his spidey craze will ever wear
off. Not from the standpoint of considering himself invincible, but wearing
what best belongs underneath the clothes, secretly “under”.
Well that’s hardly a secret when
the US has got a bitter ‘secret’ news pill to swallow in the form of an Apple
engineer formerly accused of stealing trade secrets from the technology giant for
a Chinese startup has now been found to be hiding a classified file from
the Patriot missile program.
But when distractions in our
everyday lives have become the norm, we are all but derailing from our intended
It has taken just one episode for
everyone back home to know that my well-meant suggestion, “Come, let’s read you
a bedtime story” actually means “Baby, you read the story while I get my last
dose of social media for the day”. Are we really to be blamed when we have got
our phones vying for our attention, offering distractions every minute, every
It’s no different at work too. That
email notification, that IM, that Like, that this, that that, everything eats
into our mind space negatively impacting productivity. But not all’s lost.
Citrix Systems is trying to improve
the office technology experience by bringing a Facebook-like newsfeed to work
computer and smartphone through an Intelligent
Digital Workspace that uses machine learning (ML) to aggregate information
from dozens of outside apps into a single place. Yes, that reduces toggling
between windows and systems, the signing in and the signing out, but
distraction does it cure? Time and use cases will tell.
Speaking of ML, it’s now known that
uses privacy-preserving machine learning, called Federated Learning, to improve
its voice assistant without hoovering up data on our phone. In simpler
words, it is this technology that wakes up the voice assistant on your phone when
you say “Hey Siri,” but not when the same phrase comes from your friends or
What Siri has done for Apple users,
Amazon’s Alexa is doing for the Android (and iOS) community. My kid, till date,
thinks that Alexa is a grown up child hiding inside a speaker diligently
processing his requests – from Nerf Blasters to AI-provoking questions like
“Why does my mumma always boss me around?”
With such a wide user base and
diverse applicability, the marketplace for virtual assistants is global. So
much so that AI
Assistants are touted as the future of corporate training. Training will
become more engaging and personalized with an intelligent assistant, regardless
of whether it is related to organizational information, policies or processes.
However, this technology influx is
giving rise to some serious workplace challenges. A new research by Swinburne’s
Centre for the New Workforce and YouGov, reveals
Australian workers are not sufficiently preparing for work being transformed by
digital technology with 61 per cent of Australian workers thinking that
their current skill set is not suited for the next five years of work. Closer
home, paucity of talent in high-growth sectors like Fintech
underlines the need for adaptive and personalized learning solutions delivered
through technology platforms to bridge the skills gap.
Interestingly, learning is the only
way to stay ahead of the disruption curve and Telangana
state (in India) has ranked number one by reaching 20,000 field staff during
2018-19 to impart training on 12 soft skills modules and three
domain-specific modules on RTI, Office Procedures, and Finance & Accounts,
apart from Sustainable Development Goals. Now that’s a lofty goal achieved!
Meanwhile, the US House Judiciary
Committee has postponed a vote on two impeachment charges against President
Donald Trump. Mr. Trump continues to deny any wrongdoing and life goes on for
all US citizens.
That’s perhaps what superpower in
real life looks like.
Me, I don’t consider myself a
superhero. I am just an ordinary woman doing extraordinary
month that was’ is a monthly column covering the hot and the happening in the
eLearning, L&D and learning technology space presented in a light,
easy-to-digest format. While the aim of these posts is to keep the HR and the
Learning & Development fraternity abreast with the latest news and views,
it is a vent out for the author, Pranjalee Lahri, who deals with a
one-and-a-half men pair – her hubby and her 6-year old son – as she moonlights
as a wife and a mother.