- NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has entered into a partnership with Blackboard, in an effort to improve employee learning.
- The agency will shift from an instructor-led classroom environment to an online, employee-led learning environment, according to an announcement. Senior technical experts will serve as mentors and the platform also will be used to onboard new hires and curate technical documentation and reference materials.
- JPL's technical learning and development director said the platform will create a flexible virtual environment for the exchange of ideas while also providing a structure for distributing critical knowledge. "This structured yet flexible approach is acting as a catalyst to the formation of communities of practice and helping us to prepare our 2025 workforce," according to JPL.
JPL's move serves as a reminder that learning leaders need to plan for the future. What the future of learning looks like, however, remains to be seen.
Some employers have adopted a similar focus on mentorships and virtual classrooms. Others are banking on virtual reality and on-the-go training.
As the needs of the "2025 workforce" begin to come into view, employers will likely have to adjust. The mainstays of learning will almost certainly remain, however. Employers will need to ensure that training is accessible to all employees; that programs include a mechanism for measuring their effectiveness; and that the details mesh with company culture.