Digital Learning is evolution not revolution

2nd Aug 2017

The introduction of Digitalisation can often be perceived as a negative change. Whilst change is inevitable in almost everything we do, the pace at which technology changes and impacts almost every element of our lives, magnifies the varying levels of acceptance and reluctance to adopt it, both as individuals and as businesses.

A classic example of the transformation digitalisation can bring is evident in the process of how we obtain a driving license.

Since being first introduced in 1903, the process has evolved enormously over the years yet it's aim remains as simple as its inception in 1931: to ensure driver road safety.

Digital interventions have made the process unrecognisable to the early days but the same outcome remains, the process has simply kept up with the changing pace of technology in our world.

1965 A centralised licensing system is set up at a new centre in Swansea, taking over control from individual councils
1973 Computerised driving licences are issued from March, with green paper licences replacing the old-style red booklets
2000 The touchscreen theory test is introduced
2000 CD-ROMs made available for testing users knowledge of the highway code
2001 Candidates can book their theory test via the Internet for the first time
2002 A hazard perception test is introduced into the theory test. Video clips are used to test candidates' awareness of hazards on the road
2003 Candidates can now book their practical test online
2010 Apple release the app store giving access to apps testing users knowledge of the highway code
2015 Online Highway code enhanced to be made more accessible
2017 Learner drivers must be able to follow directions from a satleitte navigation system to pass their test


Current climates see organisations constantly striving to deliver products and solutions quicker, leaner, cheaper and more effectively than their competitors. Technology is often the catalyst to bring about these changes allowing their goals to be realised.

In the same way, the learning world has not been immune to this 'efficiency' revolution.

There has, and continues to be a nervous undertone that "Digital learning" however comes hand in hand with negativity and resistance. Something which is a sad fact I find as I reassure clients regularly that digital is simply a part of the package, which used well and accompanied with existing methods of learning delivery can achieve fantastic results.

Digital Learning is evolution not revolution

If we are looking at Rogers Curve of adoption and innovation theory you can see that people will always adopt technology but at different stages. The curve divides the population into five groups. At one end, you have your innovators of technology and at the other end you have people who don’t embrace technology until a later date.

If you can recall when the first ever iPhone was launched, Steve Jobs is a classic example of the 2.5% of innovators by inventing the iPhone. Very few people you know would have purchased the first ever iPhone and the ones who did would be in the early adopters group. Roll on a few years when the iPhone 4 is released and we are now seeing lots of iPhones in circulation. As we approach the 10 year anniversary of the iPhone there will be very few people who wouldn't be willing to adopt an iPhone and these people fall into the 16% of Laggards.

Digital isn't here to take over, it is here to reinforce, compliment and co-exist. It's simply an evolution of the requirements of our modern-day world where companies and the internet are 'live' 24/7, working hours are increasingly global, connecting colleagues and locations, with social learning and online portals all playing a bigger role than ever before. Is it not a revolution, a take-over, making other existing methods redundant, is it simply a change in delivery method which lends itself to all other technological advancements happening in our modern lives. 10 years from now learning via Augmented Reality headsets will feel as normal as completing an eLearning module today.

The benefits of digital learning are quite profound. Not only being able to provide consistency of information, 24/7 access, tracking and reporting, mobile learning "on-the-go" (amongst many others), organisations also realising the advantages digital learning can bring. Crossing the boundaries of language (simple multilingual translation ability), lower pollution (travel, building requirements lessen as travel is reduced), vastly elimination use of paper as well as being able to deliver all four learning styles with visuals, audio, read/write activities and hands on exercises, connecting people with scenarios and real world videos.

We will always encounter people who will not embrace technology as quickly as some and this is OK, all we can hope is to educate and break down the stigma that it's not a negative change.

Importantly though, we should never cease to release great digital learning or suppress what a piece of digital learning could be. People are inevitably going to adopt the new technologies eventually. A trend that seems to be successful in the technology world in to drip feed innovations and don't release them all at once. (This brings all the groups of Rogers curve on a journey to all adopting that piece of technology).

Digital Learning is evolution not revolution

Digits have been involved in numerous digital learning projects that enhanced the existing face to face learning interventions.

One recent project Digits worked on was developing three eLearning modules for Hampshire County Council. Originally HCC delivered all of the modules in a face to face classroom environment. They have now managed to reduce a 2 day course to a 1 day course as it is now accompanied with eLearning. This has reduced cost, more sustainable and gives learners a blend of different learning. The eLearning was designed in such a way to be very different from what the workforce was used to. The module had gamified activities and had a modern, vibrant and engaging look and feel.

Digital Learning is evolution not revolution

Digits have also produced an online onboarding process for B&Q. This took on boarding from reading large volumes of paper based materials to a smart, interactive, gamified visual learning journey, giving access to a range of different digital learning activities in the comfort of your own home, accessed on your own smart device before you would even start work at B&Q.

If all of this sounds like something you are struggling with then come and speak to us. We are real people, not wannabe superheroes and are passionate about giving you a real solution in your world.

About the author

Toby is the Creative Account Manager for Digits and works closely with clients to capture their requirements, apply creative treatment and then work with the Digits production team to turn the requirements into reality.

Before working at Digits Toby's background was in digital design and has a BA Hons in Visual Communication from the University of Central England. He held previous positions as Digital Technology Lead for Workforce Development at Hampshire County Council and a trainer for Apple.