Technology Acceptance in Business
During an event I attended yesterday, some interesting correlations were made about how learning and development technologies’ level of acceptance by businesses is similarly mirroring IT’s acceptance by businesses over the past four decades.
It has taken businesses a relatively long time to get comfortable with technology. And computers are a prime example of that. Not until probably the last 10 years have businesses said, “We can’t function as an organization without computers or other critical technologies like databases.” The first consumer computers came into the marketplace approximately in the mid-70s and didn’t start to monopolize offices until the mid-80s. In the late 80s and early 90s, IT really began to thrive and IT departments started to say, “We need this and that technology to perform our tasks efficiently and effectively.”
However, during that period, organizations were not easily swayed to adopt new technologies for many reasons. The main reason was that senior leaders couldn’t get their arms around the fact that technology could impact the bottom line and improve productivity. In addition, many senior leaders were skeptical that such technologies were really equipped with the capabilities they were stated to have.
Similarly, in learning and development industry, the growth of e-learning mirrors that same kind of skepticism. Many organizations, still find the traditional methods of instruction—particularly instructor-led scenarios—to be the most successful techniques to equip their employees with skills and knowledge they need. However, as the economy becomes more global and the baby boomer generation begins to retire, organizations are quickly realized that they may not be able to function without e-learning technologies.
It’s funny how technology advancements seem to take a long time to be widely accepted by organizations—even in today’s technology-frenzied culture where most of us wouldn’t know what to do without the basic technologies like a blow dryer, portable CD player or digital watch. However, as the baby boomer generation leaves the workforce, technology acceptance by businesses will likely improve because generation X and Y, who basically were spoon-fed technology since they young, will be the leaders of corporations worldwide.