As the world continues to adapt to seemingly ever-changing business environments, so do the ways in which we train and educate the workforce. Specifically, within the last decade, emerging technologies have drastically altered the way we learn and process information, as well as where it can be done. In this brief blog post, we’re going to help provide a concrete definition of what emerging technologies are, and we’ll look at some examples of those being used to train professionals today and in the future.
A Clear Definition of Emerging Technologies
It is certainly without exhaustive explanation that there is no clear definition of what emerging technologies are (Halaweh, 2013, Rotolo, Hicks, & Martin, 2019, and Veletsianos, 2018). Amongst some of the challenges and concerns defining what it means, the most obvious one is the nature of the concept. Relative to other technological concepts, which defines something static, emerging technologies are, in fact, fluid. Couple that with the effects it may have on society before and after the fact, and it’s likely to see why the struggle to define its purpose is very real.
However, as part of the mission here at Integrity MCG, we offer our attempt to provide clarity in the technological sea of mud that we find ourselves in when searching for a definition of this concept. In our eyes, emerging technologies are tools developed that provide creative and strategic solutions to enhance the world we work and live in. These tools may be both tangible and intangible in nature, which benefit society in the same way. Emerging technologies, compared to more traditional technologies that are modified over time, are often created out of ideas or visions that people have.
Benefits, Disadvantages, & Outcomes
Clearly there are several benefits that come out of emerging technologies. Naturally, the most impactful benefit is that emerging technologies solve a real-world problem in a way not thought of before. Augmented reality (AR), for example, can be applied to the learning experience to bring 3-dimensional (3D) concepts into the visible field to help learners visualize processes and maintain their engagement. Virtual reality (VR) is another type of emerging technology that can do much of the same, but in a virtual space. The difference here is that one is totally immersed into an alternate environment and requires the users to accomplish a task. Mixed realities (MR/XR) combines both virtual reality and augmented realities using emerging technologies where learners experience something in its entirety (360-degree learning). Arguably, a secondary benefit of these new technologies being used are often triggers for other emerging technologies that support the original one created. It can even be argued that one emerging technology is the result of another from a time in the past. In other words, it is a gift that keeps on giving.
A major challenge of emerging technologies are the various requirements and needs that must be met for it to be successful. For example, Elon Musk’s idea to transport goods through the SpaceX program was a vision early on, but without the necessary infrastructure in place to meet the objective, it would be tremendously difficult to see this vision through. Hence, a lot of additional work may be required before it can happen and other emerging technologies must be created in order to fulfill this idea to the fullest. The other disadvantage relates to practicalities. Do the benefits outweigh the often-high costs to make it come true? If it is worth the learning experience and benefit for learners as a result, then it should commence.
Outcomes, naturally, are infinite and often long-lasting – especially with how learning takes place now; it is far different than traditional classroom and seminar learning from just a decade or two ago. Mobility to learn anywhere, at any time, and in multiple dimensions are how emerging technologies can benefit that space (Imrapur, 2018 and Lozano, 2018).
Emerging technologies will forever change the landscape that we learn, work, and play in. Whether the changes are subtle or significant, learning often takes place regardless. While the costs associated with emerging technologies are very high for them to be realistic and practical, the benefits of those sacrifices are virtually priceless. Contact us to see just how various emerging technologies currently used in learning and development can benefit you and your organization. We love to help the world learn through tech!
Dr. Danielle Jenkins provides insights and tips on how to strategically run your business in the most efficient manner possible.