post 4: the Alpha and Omega of eLearning

Alpha and Omega

In my last post I would like to go back to the heart of this debate and look at the ways in which a company can prepare to implement eLearning in an authentic and valid way that will enable its employees to successfully achieve desired learning outcomes. Also, I would like to weave into this discussion an appreciation of where we might find ourselves in 10 years’ time.

Michele C. Minton suggests that seven key questions are relevant to any organisation considering eLearning.

1. Do you understand the changes e-learning will bring to your organisation?

2. Is e-learning part of your organisation’s integrated training strategy?

3. Is there appropriate leadership throughout the organisation to support e-learning?

4. Are the organisational support systems in place to sustain the adoption of e-learning?

5. Is your technology capable of delivering e-learning predictably and effectively?

6. Are individual learners prepared for distance learning?

7. Do you have an overall Change Management plan in place to transition your organisation to e-learning?

The article summarises each of these areas extremely well and I am not going to re-write Minton’s findings here. What is clear is that some clear guidelines do exist to enable organisations to facilitate the introduction of eLearning.

In order to look at the future it is useful to look at the past. Ten years ago, who would have imagined that our mobiles phones could undertake many of the tasks that the desk-top computer could, that the rise and impact of the internet would begin to rule our lives, that more and more people would have the ability an facilities to work from home, and that the office could truly become virtual and paperless. eLearning’s impact is seen has changed organisational levels, enabled virtual learning environments, changed the roles of tutors, mentors and learners and so on. The future perhaps lies in the advent of the Personal Learning Environment (PLE).

Personal Learning Environments are not an application but rather a new approach to the use of new technologies for learning. There remain many issues to be resolved. But, at the end of the day, the argument for the use of Personal Learning environments is not technical but rather is philosophical, ethical and pedagogic. PLEs provide learners with their own spaces under their own control to develop and share their ideas. Moreover, PLEs can provide a more holistic learning environments, bringing together sources and contexts for learning hitherto separate. Students learn how to take responsibility or their own learning. Critically, PLEs can bridge the walled gardens of the educational institutions with the worlds outside. In so doing learners can develop the judgements and skills or literacy necessary for using new technologies in a rapidly changing society.[1]

A useful video regarding the change in eLearning with regard to Web 2.0 applications and mobility is here. Web 2.0 applications allow people to construct eLearning courses that will be relevant to the learner because they will resonate with the learning styles of that learner more readily. Multi-functionality also allows students to learn on the move and this gives them an enhanced learning experience. This is liberated learning – flexible eLearning. The key is that choice is now available for learners. You can learn anywhere; it is about using mobile devices to access information in a collaborative way. The tools allow anyone with the technology to manage their time in an efficient way and more and more organisations are taking his on board. This lecture eloquently illuminates the positive elements of using the technology to enhance learning and enrich one’s understanding of the process of learning. This is eLearning at its best and this is the way organisations are moving with an ever quickening pace.

Good luck with your eLearning!

Julian Parkin

[1] accessed 31 May 2009

4 thoughts on “post 4: the Alpha and Omega of eLearning

  1. I’ve bookmarked James Clay blog. Very interesting stuff. Thanks for that Julian.

  2. Julian you make a very interesting point that PLE are not just an application but a way of learning. They are and will continue to impact on learners.
    The interest that has been raised in your debate and others is about how and if school will keep up with these changes. It is a challenge for all levels in education. it is a change in mindset not only for the teachers but also for the learners. It would be interesting to read these debates in 5 or 10 years time to see what changes have occurred.

  3. Thanks for you comments Loretta. The whole PLE concept is interesting indeed.

  4. I enjoyed your debate on elearning. I would even go on to suggest that I wouldn’t even know what would be in store for eLearning even in 2 years let alone 10-15 years – given the changes I have experienced since completing my Grad Cert in IT Education in 2007. What I have come to it is imperative we keep an open mind and abeleive and promote to all educations is that we maintain an active interest and open mind to all the changes that are occurring in ELearning, distance education or on line learning (all are part of education) even if the tools and ways it is utilised, structured and conducted vary greatly. Nowadays, it is not a niche education but one that is open to many and suits many more. The ideas that you have both put forward have highlighted many sides of this. Well done.

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