Tag Archives: Learning

E-Learning: Does it Really Work?

I have been exploring using a Digital Learning system for my organisation. The drivers are simple: Reduce costs, especially printing and courier fees and assist with the learning that needs to occur in remote locations. It has been interesting journey in research and exploring this. In some respects, it has been incredible frustrating.

Traditional e-learning or CBT is a process that focuses on the individual learner interacting with a computer or passive sets of information that respond to triggers from the learner. All potential Artificial Intelligence potential aside, CBT is a passive learning medium. It is highly over-rated and the retention ability to create understanding of complex issues. The e-learning model is uses the presentation learning methodology; presenting information to the learner, for him or her to absorb.

The challenge with this model is that most technology solutions is that focus on either a passive learning mode or a presentation model of learning. I have explored some of the following technology options:
* Adobe Connect Pro (www.adobe.com)
* Moodle (www.moodle.com)
* Blackboard (www.blackboard.com)
This list is relatively endless, the challenge is getting the right search criteria on Google 🙂

There is very little that I can see that uses a digital alternative to the facilitation methodology involving a learner driven process. I have seen a large amount of interaction around the use of Web 2.0 in Learning and I want to explore this in more detail.

I am still not able to answer the question around e-learning, as I cannot even test it properly yet. So I will get back to you on that one.

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Real Learning versus Traditional Learning

When considering the modern methods of teaching delivery in a corporate environment or even a tertiary institution like a university, it works on a simple premise: The All Knowing Lecturer / Teacher will impart his or her infinite wisdom on the dumb masses to absorb and regurgitate in a manner pleasing to the All Knowing One (AKO). Once the AKO has finished his or her diatribe, the mere mortals can ask questions. Some times you get a Wise AKO, who allows you to ask questions as they go along. Sadly, this anecdotal is really what happens. Some time you even get a PowerPoint presentation (or if they are really up to date; a Keynote one).

Interesting enough, David A. Kolb (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_A._Kolb), developed an experintial learning cycle which follows this process:
* You have a Concrete Experience
* You observe and Reflect on that experience
* As a result, you Form Abstract Concepts
* You then Test these concepts. by having another Concrete Experience

In a lecture-type environment, does a learner truly have concrete experience? Generally, the learner has to form the abstract concepts on his or her own. The effectiveness of this methodology can really be questioned. This is because the learner has to form a question out of the information thrown at them. This is the attempt at Reflection. The concepts are never tested by the learner. Therefore, you can argue that the learner does not truly learn anything.

In order to encourage learning, the questions should precede the content. By doing this, one begins where the learner is in the learning process. It also gives the learner an understanding of where to put the content.

Real Learning starts with the Question not with the Answer.