Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Race to Develop the Future of E-Learning Communities--Part VIII

In a movie titled : "A Few Good Men", there is an intense courtroom scene in which Tom Cruise as a prosecuting attorney confronts Jack Nicholson, a Marine base commander in which the following interchange takes place:

Cruise: "I want the truth!"
Nicholson: "You can't handle the truth!"

There are certain truths about our present education systems in our many societies that if we were honest with ourselves, we would admit to how much Jack Nicholson's really applies to us. Rather than face these truths, we make excuses, shift blame to others or deny that the truths even exist. Some, unfortunately, take a more cynical, fatalistic point of view that we just have to accept these truths and move on to a different topic.

We, by choice as educators, trainers, parents, CEO's, CLO's, have become part of the problem instead of the solution. So, the most obvious questions that you should be asking are:

" What are these formidable truths that I am referring to and why do they matter?"

Truth #1: We have educated this generation and ones before it to love marks or grades more than they love learning. This is one of the products of the Industrial mindset and unfortunately, it is reflected in the attitudes of not only today's young learners but also in the attitudes of education faculties as they clone more and more new educators with this very mindset. It is reflected in how students approach the tasks that they are assigned. To dislodge this type of mindset means taking on a billion dollar assessment industry in North America alone.

Truth #2: As long as our education institutions sustain practices that treat learning as a consumer commodity, the idea of creating a global learning community can not be nurtured and the attitudes of self-entitlement on the part of learners will over rule any attempt to have them use their gifts and talents to improve the quality of life for all people.

Another question that needs to be asked is:

"Why should the global business organizations be concerned about this status quo?

On the surface, business organizations might applaud this type of mindset because it represents potential marketing opportunities for the products and services that define them. The problem is that when you have potential employees with this mindset, the effective use of collaboration and real engagement of employees in nurturing systemic innovation and problem solving does not reach its potential because of a prevalent attitude among employees which says: "What is in it for me?". This means that employees will only engage in real learning when it suits them and only to a limited degree.

The next question that follows from this for any business organization hoping to carve out a place in the globally collaborative world is:

"How do we eliminate this type of attitude in the learning culture of our businesses?"

The answer to this question speaks to the idea of the ways that we reward competency within our business organizations. If the emphasis in an age of information and learning is to engage employees to be involved in the learning of the organization, then the motivators for employees need to change. We learn from business organizations that are already making the necessary changes and see that they are paying off. Again, we can take some clues from companies such as Google, Apple & Facebook.

With respect to the business organization, the goal is to create a learning culture where the intrinsic motivation of employees becomes more powerful than extrinsic motivators that might be offered. 

"In other words learning becomes like a powerful digital aphrodisiac where employees feel driven to engage, collaborate, solve complex real world problems germane to the health of the organization, and contribute to the realization of a powerful company vision."

This leads us to a very important question that CLO's and CEO's have every right to ask which is:

"How can we achieve what you are suggesting if the education system is continually mass producing both students and educators who still maintain the Industrial economy mindset?"

This brings us back to the need to take this new relationship between education and business into consideration in the design of Global E-Learning Communities.

The Global Higher Education and Teacher Mentoring Network

Global Learning Community 
 [ Note: Change Global E-Learning Hub to "Global E-Learning Portal]

 The purpose of this particular network within the Global E-Learning Community is to address the very problems outlined above. It is essential that a strong collaborative tie be established with higher education and that a mentorship relationship be established with the very university and college faculties that have the responsibility of educating and training educators. The purpose is not to take over what these faculties are tasked to do but instead to provide them the necessary resources that stress the change over from discipline knowledge silos to cross disciplinary, collaborative, globally driven problem solving. Teachers and faculties would have 24/7 access to mentoring in effective online pedagogy with important input from the Cross Disciplinary Research and Mentor Network. Educators would have the opportunity to work collaboratively with business employees and employees would have the opportunity to bring valuable skillsets back into their business organizations with the intent of helping to improve the learning culture of the business.

Potential Drawbacks:

  1. Institutional inertia with respect to universities and colleges when it comes to change that will disrupt the status quo. Universities and colleges would rather tweak their programs than give up the model and purposes they were based on. Just adding what worked in a brick and mortar classroom in an uncritical fashion to an online environment will not work. It will lead to a greater detachment by students from their learning because they may be naive about a number of things in life but they are not naive about university and college instructors who try to "pull the digital wool over their eyes" by giving them more of the same, except with a few more technological bells and whistles thrown in.
  2. Another potential drawback is having leaders in business and education realize that it is in their best interests to establish  a digital "symbiotic" and purposeful relationship. One group "calling the shots" in dealing with the other group needs to be replaced with a truly collaborative relationship in which they are united in one powerful purpose, that being, working to improve the quality of life for all within the area of their Global E-Learning Community.

Change is something to be mastered by us and not the other way around. The same is true about how we use technology and how we create pedagogy. There are clearly understood reasons why change in business organizations and educational organizations fail.

So, the question still remains: Can you handle the truth about E-Learning and its benefits in the 21st century or does Jack Nicholson still have you pegged when he states:

"Truth? You Can't Handle the Truth!"

Next... how would the establishment of Global E-Learning Communities change how teachers educate students

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