IMO, New Year Eves are crazily glorified. Hear me out. It’s the only time of the year when all food and party destinations break even by having exorbitant entry charges, overfilling to capacity, pre-booking weeks in advance, and dishing out a menu that does little to justify your time, effort and money. And yet, people throng in huge numbers, shelling out dollars and making merry through the stroke of midnight.

As for my family, we are chill. We lounge on the sofa, watching free entertainment on a Streaming Service and filling our tummies with food ordered from a Food Delivery App while filing our best-intended, heart-crossed resolutions into Evernote just for reference, of course!

“Mumma, does everyone have to make new year resolutions?”, asks my son as I reach out for another slice of the gooey-cheesy-pizza, demonstrating complete disrespect to my health resolution for 2020.

“Absolutely, this is what mature people do”, I answer in an authoritative tone only to immediately regret it. Explaining the meaning of ‘mature’ to a rather ‘immature’ 6-year old brain isn’t my idea of New Year celebration.

In an effort to counter the most probable discussion that ensues my rather lofty statement, I continue, “Not just people, companies too make technology resolutions”.  

Tech resolutions are big in 2020. From companies to individuals (here are 6 tech resolutions to follow in your personal life), everyone has their own bucket list for the year touted as ‘the year of seeing clearly on AI and Machine Learning’.

This may seem surprising to most as AI and ML have been around for quite some time, making their presence felt in every industry, every vertical and every function. However, if the 2020 workplace learning trends are anything to go by, it is THIS year when AI will go mainstream – influencing business operations and taking companies to newer heights.

AI in retail market is anticipated to register a CAGR of 42% over 2018-2024. Artificial Intelligence will also remain a top national military and economic security issue in 2020 and beyond with governments investing heavily – China with over $140 billion, the UK, France, and rest of Europe with over $25 billion and the U.S. roughly spending more than $4 billion in 2020. Heck, there are over 120 AI predictions for 2020.

Wait, weren’t we talking about Resolutions? It’s so confusing with all these to-dos suddenly vying for your attention at the year-end. To me, personally, it feels like a plot against sane people to off-track you from what could have been an organic progression into the New Year. But who am I to comment? The ancient Babylonians are said to have been the first people to make New Year’s resolutions, some 4,000 years ago. For early Christians, the first day of the new year became the traditional occasion for thinking about one’s past mistakes and resolving to do and be better in the future. Despite the tradition’s religious roots, New Year’s resolutions today are a mostly secular practice.

Meanwhile, 2020 has also brought in a renewed focus on ‘human safety’. A Unique eLearning System to Expand Avalanche Safety Awareness and a Free Training Course on Anti-Terrorism To Help Protect The UK have been in the news for all the right reasons.

Not just safety, the past year has also paved a deeper way for learning technology into the education field. In Brisbane, Australia, dental students and medical nurses have been experimenting with Augmented Reality to build their skills and knowledge. While on the other side of the planet, in Houston, The Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District is tapping into collaborative technology to expand student learning.

And while you may think that ‘Technology’ is the key to everything, the ‘steaming’ discussion of STEAM vs. STEM in childhood education will reset your focus. STEAM is a concept spearheaded by the students and academics at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD)—which brings the elements of STEM together with Arts to guide students’ critical thinking, inquiry, and dialogue. Proponents of STEAM education recognize the importance of creativity and innovation in the future to solve our problems.

But who’s got the time to think about the future when your day’s packed with streaming series to gouge your eyes out on, social media to snoop around, video games to kid around and messaging apps to get unsolicited advice on!

As for resolutions, they look good only on paper. 4000 years of habit does die hard.

Happy 2020, y’all!

The 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.

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