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The 21st Century is a Changing Ball Game (Interview)

Aisoorya Vijayakumar’s passion for writing, combined with her love for English as a language, makes it easy for her to adapt to the role of a technical publications and eLearning professional without any difficulties. Her drive for creativity and innovation has ensured she is actively involved in the new-age documentation trends, borrowing the efficiency of web-based visual training resources to pool in with the stability of context sensitive user help documentation.

She currently works for Novell as Lead Technical Writer. Her professional documentation and eLearning contributions have been commended both by peers and by industry veterans, as evident in her LinkedIn testimonials. She pens down her musings at Coffee Bean Musings and she can reached at aisoorya@gmail.com.

Q. How have 21st century technologies (e.g. Internet, software, etc.) helped you increase performance and boost productivity?

The 21st century is probably the only time frame with the most varied inventions and technologies brought into the public. These range from the revolutionary portable digital music player iPod and YouTube, which has transformed monitors worldwide into a stage for video sharing and viewing, to Toyota’s hybrid car. The common thread that connects all of the amazing 21st century sensations is the fact that they aim to raise the bars of what we expect our pennies to be worth.

I have chosen a profession that constantly demands tuning in to and upgrading myself to the changing faces of communication platforms. It is inevitable that I would look up to the internet to keep myself abreast of what other communicators, trainers, and writers world-wide are using to stand out from the crowd.

Be it new software that helps me in writing and editing faster and with more precision, or new personal effectiveness tools like calendar and organizers – I can say for certain I owe most of my performance credits and appreciations to these technology whiz kids.

I find it weird and funny when I hear someone exclaim that modern tools have made us less brainy. I contend that these tools, if used the right way, make everyday work chores less cumbersome, thus ensuring we focus our brains on learning new skills which we had no time for, earlier.

For instance, today’s training communicators have a very sophisticated array of broadcasting technologies available. These have eliminated the need for the primitive style of classroom coaching.

Q. Have there been situations where 21st century technologies have hindered you? In what way?

This is a thought-provoking question. Something I would have never pondered over if not for this question. I would not term this as a hindrance, but sometimes I can’t help noticing a striking contrast between the swift development of technologies and the more measured pace in which the human evolution is happening. It makes me wonder if it’s because as a race, we are unable to catch up with technological advancement step to step.

I am forced to think this is an aftermath of the information overload. And yet, being an information-hungry animal myself, I admit I am equally addicted to devouring information from wherever it’s available, like most others. Though not seriously harmful, this does affect one’s memory at some point, not to mention the acumen.

Q. Do you think that the look of organizational learning will face drastic changes in the next decade?

I am astonished at how fast the organizational learning concept has progressed, from single-loop learning and double-loop learning back in the ‘70s, to the present day scenario where, instead of being content with information flow analysis in an organization, we are retrospecting and drilling down into the precursors and corollaries of management practices.

In the next decade, I would envision an organization’s learning model to start resembling a data ecosystem. From what I visualize, this should be a layered model where knowledge and learning attainment happens at the lower levels, and gets consumed at progressive levels in aggregation with some others, serving in turn for consumption at other levels.

One advantage that can reflect from this is averting repetitive knowledge gains, meaning, the same learning gained by different individuals. This would also take us to what we were talking about earlier – information overload, which can also be avoided.

Q. What books, blogs, and/or magazines would you recommend for our readers if they’d like to learn more about your area of work?

1. Big Dog, Little Dog – I adore this blog and find this to be a compendium of lateral ideas in learning. 2. Dave’s Whiteboard – This offers glimpses into innovative techniques in learning and training, apart from many other categories, and also serves as a pointer to many more resources. 3. Michael Hanley’s E-Learning Curve Blog – helps me with exploring social learning, web-based elearning, using technology for education, and analysis of e-learning tools. 4. I also use Mission to Learn’s website to keep myself updated with what’s happening in the learning industry. 5. “eLearning Learning”: http://www.elearninglearning.com/ is a one-stop digestive source that compiles the most happening news and data about eLearning.

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