One of the most troubling aspects of the global economy today is the meteoric rise in the cost of gas. About a year ago, pundits worried about the price of oil topping $80 a barrel. Those were the days! Now, that price is climbing toward $120 a barrel, meaning it’s gone up by more than 50 percent in just one year.
Even worse, this trend doesn’t really seem to be abating. If market observers such as MSN Money’s Jim Jubak are to be believed, we could be looking at $180 or even $200 per barrel in a couple of years due to production difficulties in key oil-producing nations. He makes a prediction to this effect here:
So why is this important for you?!@! Two reasons: First of all, it really demonstrates the interconnectedness of the world economy. A good deal of the rhetoric surrounding globalization is just that – rhetoric. But here’s an obvious example of where economic events in, say, Nigeria can potentially impact your operations. If the global oil supply takes a major hit and prices spike, you might have to consider a Webinar instead of a live training event. To plan ahead, learning leaders will have to consider factors such as energy costs.
The second (and related) reason is that rising oil prices mean, by necessity, there will be much more pressure in the next few years (and perhaps indefinitely) to deliver learning online, as the cost of travel will go up significantly. I predict this will accelerate the onset of “Web 3.0” characteristics in work and learning environments. These include – but aren’t limited to – the Semantic Web (intelligent machines talking to each other), incredibly realistic graphical interfaces (creating a sense of immersion into a new setting on the part of the user), and much faster and more reliable connections (leading to much more video and audio delivered over the Web).
Do you have any thoughts on how oil prices or other macroeconomic trends might affect your learning programs? Let us know about them in the comments section below.