A report from Learning & Training Week from my pal Rick Huebsch, the head honcho at Open Minds Learning.
Winding up here in D.C. Wanted to report back about your request to look for social software/informal learning information. I was very surprised to find only one session about Learning Communities and none specifically about the topic of informal learning.
I have been attending conferences about eLearning for the past five years. I guess I am discouraged because I see that presenters are not focussing on the value proposition that eLearning offers. From the session topics it is clear that technology and business issues are still driving the definition and implemention of eLearning. Many, many sessions about LMSs, ROI, content migration, eLearning strategies, etc. Other sessions were neutral and provided little direction about the psychological or educational rationale that should underlie blended learning solutions. Most demonstrations showed the learner operating in isolation. I did not hear but one presenter discuss the social needs of the learner or the relationship between learning and potential communities of practice, purpose, expertise or interest. Only one presenter, Paul Clothier, provoked his audience to think of eLearning as an opportunity in increase the quality of interactivity, but his demonstrations did not show the relationship between the learner’s experience with interactive digital learning in isolation and his application to his job or his relationship with his colleagues.
Several presentations discussed informal learning in the context of discussion blended learning models. One speaker from SkillSoft, Dorman Woodall, probably came closest to addressing informal learning in his session entitled “Blending Formal and Informal Learning for Performance Impact.” He talked about eight key learning steps from formal to informal learning, presented six blended learning models involving formal (self-paced) and informal (collaborative) methods, and provided some examples. One of his slides was particularly useful in representing support for formal and informal learning. He showed this on an axis, the y as depth of the learning application, the x axis as time. It shows that the more integrated formal and informal training methods, the deeper the learning application. All of this was presented in 45 minutes, so it was cursory at best.
The one session about Learning Communities was led by Andy Snyder. He advised that we should be moving from the information age, (ease of access to information) to a people-centric model (fostering relationships). eLearning, he posited, provides a stepping stone to learning communities that can enable transition of formal learning to informal learning. He kept his presentation at a high level, so he did not delve into the hows and whats of informal learning.
So I propose that the eLearning Forum focus one of its sessions on the topic: The value proposition that eLearning in fact provides and the technologies and models that enable this proposition.
Jay again, wondering who these people from the conference masthead are and why the center one appears to be pressing the enter key upside down.
Please add your two cents about Learning & Training Week as a comment.
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