Monday, March 2, 2015

E-Learning: A Blueprint to the Future--Transformations--Educators and Students

In striving to create a new blueprint to the future for E-Learning, the operative word becomes "transformation" and the necessary questions that need to be asked are:

" What transformations need to take place to create a needed evolution in E-Learning as we presently understand it?"


"If we know the vision that we aspire to with respect to creating an enriching, sustained learning experience for the learner, what will the map look like?" 

E-Learning Educators and Trainers 

Transformation of the E-Learning educator and corporate trainer is an essential part of a new blueprint and is a building block for the development of global learning networks ascribing to the vision of being agents of change in our societies.For the corporate community this is one of the ingredients for helping to develop systemic innovation within the business community. For the E-Learning educators this means breaking with the way that they were trained as educators. Most educators received formal training at faculties of education attached to universities that subscribed to the industrial model of education. They were trained with the idea that their professional purpose in life was to train students to be efficient, obedient workers and to teach them to accept that their mission in life was to get a job that gave them purchasing power so that they would find fulfillment as life long consumers. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with being a consumer. The problem arises when you are told that this is what gives meaning to life. Every commercial and paper ad that came out bombarded students and educators alike with that blatant message. Educators who even suggested that perhaps students should be thinkers who could effectively bring about change in society were often labelled as radicals bringing back visions of the 1960's and therefore should not be taken seriously.


So, what transformations are needed for the present E-Learning educators?

The following changes should be considered :

1. Educator-Learner Relationship: The past roles followed by the educator and student under the old model of education stated that the educator was the source of all knowledge, skills and wisdom and that the student came to the educator's class as essentially a "tabula rasa". The skills and knowledge of the educator were never to be disregarded or questioned by the student on the penalty of being disciplined. Discipline was designed to enforce conformity and re-focusing. This was in the truest sense "assembly line education" where students moved from educator to educator and much like rats in a maze, the rules of behaviourism  were judiciously applied. Students who didn't comply on a consistent basis were relegated to the "drop out" pile.

The new relationship that should be developed between educator and learner could best be described as a "mentor relationship". In this relationship, the educator is not seen as the fountain of all knowledge and skills but instead could be compared to a conductor of a world class orchestra.


 In such a role, the educator recognizes that there is a great diversity of unique gifts and talents in all the students that he or she instructs and that in an online environment, his or her role is to be intimately familiar with all of the resources and avenues that are available to a student to pursue a personal learning path for their lives. His or her role is to help the student bring into alignment all the elements that are available from potential technology uses to networks of disciplines that can be used as a resource. The educator would also seek contacts within the web where students can showcase new knowledge and skill sets before those who are on the leading edge of their respective disciplines. A close analogy to this concept would be the apprentice(learner)-master(mentor) relationship that existed in the guild system of the Middle Ages. Students can and should be creators of new knowledge and skill sets with the guidance of the educators as mentor.

2. Educators As Design Thinkers: The quality of the learning experiences in a digital age requires that there be a focus on engaging the student in their learning in a sustained manner. We live in an age of distraction and one of the great myths of this age is that the more you are able to multitask and balance a number of commitments at once, the better all things will turn out. IMHO, the experience of attempting this results in many tasks being competed with a large measure of mediocrity.
We can learn much that is of value by watching university students in a lecture hall in the 21st century. What is their level of engagement in what is being presented? How many are using their mobile devices to supplement and enrich what they are being taught during that lesson and how many have already disengaged from the presentation a few minutes after it has started and are using their mobile devices to simply "fly away".

"As design thinkers, how can we take what we learn from student cyber distractions and change them into student engagement through our instructional design?"

Next---Transformation and Corporate Trainers...

No comments: