Tech disruption

Disrupted Learning: Education feels the tech effect

(A reprint of our recent Associations Now article, and a perfect segue to our session on edtech disruption at the 2016 ASAE annual meeting…)

With the rise of Uber, Netflix, and Airbnb, you already know about the power of disruption and the role technology plays in it.

Associations aren’t immune from disruption, especially in the education arena. Are you engaging your learners where they are? Can your members take a course or collaborate with team members while riding on a bus abroad? Can they attend a seminar while sitting by the pool?

Technology alters how we engage with what we’re learning, how we interact, and how we manage the overwhelming amount of information available.

Just as the music, publishing, and retail industries have been forever changed by the rise of mobile, so too has mobile learning grown to be a natural extension for accessing information, communication, and collaboration. With access to limitless content, learners expect a customized experience.

What does learning disruption look like from an association’s perspective?

New apps like Periscope and Meerkat, which enable live video streaming, allow users to share live, instantaneous content. This is a fantastic way to educate, but what happens if someone uses Periscope to broadcast your annual meeting’s session content to an online audience for free? Your revenue and meeting experience suffer.

Be prepared to change your instructional model and educational goals to fit the new mobile landscape. Consider how the following technologies could affect your industry and members:

  • Geolocation beacons and wearables at annual meetings can track attendees to award continuing education credits based on sessions they attended.
  • Microcredentialing via Mozilla Open Badges, for example, provides an online standard to recognize and verify learning that happens anywhere, not just official events and courses.
  • Social media makes your educational content more shareable, but it also requires balance to ensure you are not being bypassed.
  • Podcasts are trendy again, and they provide an inexpensive and broadly distributed format for education on the go.
  • Google Cardboard and other virtual reality opportunities are opening up new avenues of exploration to those who may not have the budget to attend your event in person.
  • Learning sites like provide thousands of expert-led streaming video tutorials that may compete with your own offerings.
  • Blended conferences can embrace online viewers (even those who register for a single session), and tech networking platforms can give rise to online-only learning events that free up travel time and costs for you, your presenters, and your attendees.

Understanding the potential and pitfalls of new technology will allow your organization to identify threats and plan to turn those threats into opportunities.

What are you trying, and how are you building a culture of innovation at YOUR organization? Share your thoughts in the comments below…

Layla Masri

About Layla Masri

Layla is a co-founder of Bean Creative. She leverages her ad agency background and 15-plus years as a marketing and web copywriter to maximize interactive impact for strategic planning, usability/accessibility, and digital promotion.
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