If I were to describe future of social learning, I’d probably speculate stuff like wearable performance-support. You stay on the job, doing all your tasks, with instruction as necessary from a small transponder on your wrist. Or maybe on your clavicle if you use your hands a lot. With just your voice command, the transponder accesses a vast network of brief, specific lessons that allow you to complete the task right where you stand without breaking your workflow.
You can allow browsing for the most popular lessons from vetted top-performing colleagues, or even search a curated international database of lessons and compare, sort, and filter all the options to best suit your needs. You choose your favorite industry experts and receive their content as soon as it is uploaded. The most beloved contributors function as digital mentors to millions of people they've never even met. Without even launching a course, you have laid bare the extent of human knowledge as it pertains to your immediate responsibility.
Or even a little further in the future, designated experts may chime in through your wearable as tiny holograms to offer you a rotating 3D schematic of the equipment you are working on and how to troubleshoot it. Like those huge war room tables they plan space invasions on in the movies, except just for you. You can command the schematic with your voice, telling it to expose different parts, reverse, and recombine. Hear a chorus of the company’s most vaunted experts by accessing the interactive footnotes at each step. Each bit of advice and anecdote is meticulously ranked by the employees who have earned enough experience points to contribute.
Or even further. Wearables are deemed outdated and clunky. Actual hardware is costly to maintain and can’t keep up with the pace of the modern workflow. When you get hired at an organization, you voluntarily get a microscopic chip implanted beneath your clavicle. Enshrouded in an organic antibody that protects it from malfunction and infection, it gently syncs with nerves in your body to create psychomotor prompts that control your performance. Your knowledge of your job spikes dramatically, so innately that you don’t even realize you’ve learned. Like adding a book to a giant bookshelf in an endless library, you’ve become more efficient without the slightest effort.
Or maybe further still. Pockets of the world are deeply disturbed by implantations, even if they have an 88% non-lethal deployment rate. One global organization tried a mass software upgrade to its active participants and triggered a brief outage that led to many on-the-job accidents. A network of rogue mindfighters—hackers who have dedicated their lives to liberating the brain from technology—have systematically reprogrammed strands of code to cause entire workforces to stand idly in place, their subconscious paralyzed by a din of subliminal static. The expert help channels, left vulnerable to the more sinister branch of hackers, called mindpirates, are just random shouted platitudes of liberty and revolt. Organizations lose billions shutting down their microchip networks and retrofitting entire supply chains to require simple human creativity and effort.
In the smoldering digital aftermath, some companies rebuild by hosting in-person learning conclaves. Knowledge is passed on through story and example and built individually through hands-on experience. People ask questions when they don’t understand something, or just puzzle it out. They ask their peers at lunch. Eventually, organizations put compendiums of their important knowledge together in books and binders for all to access at scheduled times.
As organizations rebuild and flourish, the books get a little outdated. Or people request them but they are being used elsewhere. Industrious learning departments decide to put the materials on a computer-based system for all to access as needed, in a central place that can be updated easily as needed. As the pace of business picks up, there is a need to make the training even more readily available to those who need it, a kind of support for their on-the-job performance. From there, the possibilities are endless...