TechKnowledge concluded today with Bill Horton, Allison Rossett, and Marc Rosenberg answering questions posed by Lance Dublin and a surprisingly large audience waiting for the fat lady to sing.
Lance: What is eLearning?
Bill: eLearning occurs whenever people use technology and their brain changes for the better. Allison: Yes, but if eLearning is only about technology, we miss the people dimensions. Marc: I will tell you what eLearning is not: eTraining – that concept is so limiting and narrowly focused. Apprenticeship is a proven model; the interaction of one master and one apprentice produced real learning. But we ran out of masters, and schools attempted to scale by having many apprentices per master. eLearning promises a better clone of apprenticeship.
Lance: Tell us about how you personally use eLearning.
Marc: Microsoft’s Carpoint taught me what I needed to know about buying a new car late one evening – just what I needed, when I needed it. Allison participates in numerous listservs; I read them every day.
Lance: And the downside of eLearning?
Allison took a mediocre course that led her to write an article titled Confessions of a Web Dropout. It was an info-dump with no connection to her life. Marc noted the eLearning doesn’t have an exclusive on mediocrity. Tons of classroom learning is crap, too. Bill: Classroom learning has been with us for 50,000 years. We’re only three seconds after midnight of the first day in the life of eLearning.
Lance read some wildly optimistic statements about eLearning he had found on Google (“my favorite eLearning tool because you can find out about tree frogs while searching for information about eLearning”).
Bill: There’s a perception that eLearning is failing because the mediocre stuff is being swept away. Actually this shows that the market mechanism is working.
Marc: the training industry is in a recession but eLearning is moving ahead.
Go into a company, and you find tremendous investment being made in performance support -- getting information to customers, coordinating with suppliers.
Bill: Imagine you’re at a medical conference, and a speaker describes a life-saving technique that always works and, in fact, is so vital that people couldn’t live without it. You’d be disappointed to find out the speaker was talking about breathing. Blending is like that. Thank goodness people are getting away from sandwich model (online, classroom, online, classroom, online, classroom, etc.) If we’re going to blend, let’s blend instructional strategies.
Marc: It’s always about people and needs, not courses and LMSs.
Everyone I talked with as we filed out of the ballroom and into the sunny patio surrounding the pool had nothing but good words to say about TechKnowledge. Small is beautiful. eLearning hype was at an all-time low. People left with plans to take back to the office or at least a broader perspective than they came in with. TechKnowledge has become a great conference for newbies with flashes of insight for old-timers.
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