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The Definition of Learning Has Changed


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The Definition of Learning Has Changed

Written on Dec 12, 2016 3:02:57 PM, by Ilie Ghiciuc

In most areas of the world, technology probably changes faster than people do. That means that organizations need to have ways of managing these changes while trying to stay up-to-date.

Learning is one of the processes in organizations that changes due to technology, but the one that can also help organizations adapt to changes in technology.

Also read: 11 Technology Trends in LMS

Defining Learning

At its most basic, learning is a compilation of content, skills, and attitudes. But due to technology’s influence, those aspects of learning have been redefined


Most learning and knowledge in today’ world has become commercial. That means that learning leads to progress and business activity. Learning is no longer confined to academic institutions. More than just knowledge, the process of learning encompasses technology skills, continuous learning skills, ethics, and social skills. 

Learning has changed from a system of teachers delivering knowledge to students to a system of students finding information for themselves. The process of analyzing and organizing information is just as important as the end product of learning. 


The internet has made it very easy to access a large amount of information in a small amount of time. When we search for something in Google, an algorithm looks at data, not on content value. Therefore, the search results on the first page may not be the most valuable or scientifically sound information, they might just be the most Google-friendly.

It is impossible to keep track of all the changes and to know everything about technology. Learners need to have access to relevant content. They need to have time and space to learn it and to apply it. Putting knowledge into practice is an important aspect of the learning process. 

Learners need to be even more aware of how to learn, how to analyze data and think critically about what they read. And it makes it even more important for training programs to curate content with value. 


Teaching has steered away from sharing knowledge and focused instead on creating learning environments where learners can learn skills and form learning networks. These new areas of focus work to enhance the content and knowledge shared. 

Learning is also not a one-time occurrence. Knowledge changes as the world changes. Learners need to be flexible and adapt to changes in knowledge and in learning systems and styles. 

Learning is no longer an individual process. It is connected, group-based, and de-institutionalized. Technology has made it possible to learn outside of institutions through content sharing in groups and connections with people who have similar learning interests. 

How Learning is Changing

Experts in the field now agree that learning has changed. It is no longer about the product of learning and it is more about the process of learning. This could explain why we have seen an increase in topics like gamification, active learning, adaptive learning, and microlearning.

New learning theories have been created to address the changes in learning: Situation cognition, distributed cognition, and socially shared cognition. These theories state that learning needs to occur in an active learning community to be successful. These communities support communication and interaction between people and technology tools. 

With technology, learning is no longer restricted to paper and pencil. Video games or video game elements, the internet, social networks, forums, communication apps, and augmented reality are just a few of the technologies creating more diverse learning systems.

Also read: The Workplace Learning Environment is Moving Online

Technology can help to provide scaffolding to the learning or to make the learning process easier. It can create learning tools and platforms that provide more action and interaction. Learners are using social media to learn information, share it with others, and discuss it.

Integrating technology into learning environments can create improved confidence and motivation. It can help people develop positive attitudes about learning, improving attendance and lowering dropout rates. Technology also creates the opportunity for more interaction.

Managing change

As the definition of learning keeps evolving within organizations, leaders should have change processes in place to help manage the influence technology has on systems within the organization.

1. Have a purpose

When making changes, make sure everyone knows why change is important. Make them believe they need to change and want to change. Answer questions about why these changes and why they need to happen now.

2. Form a group

All aspects of the organization need to have a role in making changes. Leaders need to form a group to manage the changes consisting of members from all areas.

3. Create a vision

With the help of the members of the group, the organization will create a vision for the change as well as strategies to achieve the vision.

4. Take it one step at a time

The best way to achieve large scale goals is to break them down into manageable steps. Before your team can run, then need to learn to walk. Track your progress and prepare for some initial resistance.

5. Spread the news

After creating a vision, the group members need help from their teams to help spread information about the changes and their importance. Address barriers - When looking to make a change, a part of the process is seeing what the barriers are so that the new technologies and systems are successful.  

6. Celebrate success

No matter how big or small, leaders need to share successes and celebrated them across the entire organization. Change is not easy especially when it comes to technology. Leaders should celebrate employees for their hard work.

7. Keep going

With each success, leaders and teams should reassess their progress, goals, and vision to make sure the implementation is a success.

Organizations that understand how learning is changing and what role technology has in those changes will have a greater ability to make the most of technology and the skills of their employees. 

Change is not easy, but it happens whether we like it or not. Organizations have to be ready for these changes by managing their learning systems or they risk falling behind. 

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Ilie Ghiciuc
I've been an entrepreneur for the past 10+ years building great software companies together with fantastic teams. I like to spend most of my free time reading :)