The future of learning (Fofo?)

I’ve attended a few project review meetings recently and am disappointed, to say the least, with what the future might hold for learners. Although the changes might affect me and the work I do, I’m trying to write this objectively with real concern for teachers and trainers and their ongoing eCPD.

First of all, the projects I’m taking about have all been successful, both quantitatively and (especially) qualitatively. In each case those who have attended the courses, all of which this year have had a blended learning approach, have been enthused and have begun the process of cascading their enthusiasm to colleagues.

But the job isn’t over. Although there are bright, committed, even innovative colleagues out there in the wider F.E. sector (e.g. http://mindmug.wordpress.com/2010/03/10/reasons-to-be-cheerful-part-iii/) there are many more that haven’t yet ‘seen the light’.

This is recognised by the fact that funding has been discussed for post-March 2010. But funding which has been reduced so much that only online activities can be supported. Purely online: no element of face to face. Fofo – find out for oneself (or similar!)

Now, we all know that hard times are in front of us and we all understand why funding is being cut (we don’t get the chance to agree with it but there you go) but it’s how the cuts are being implemented that I question.

I’ve yet to read any research which suggests that online learning is better than face to face or blended learning. Learners faced with online (purely online, no support, no guidance) need to be motivated, committed and driven – things we often don’t have time to be, especially at times like this where teaching hours are being increased and colleagues are being made redundant. Learners need learners. Human beings need human contact. Blended learning works – it’s as simple as that.

Even the OU recognise this and they are dealing with highly motivated learners [see first comment].

It would be a travesty to put ANY of the courses I am talking about online and to give them the name they currently hold. It would demean the work and commitment previous learners have shown to the courses. Put them online by all means – but give them a different name, because THEY ARE different. And don’t expect miracles.

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One Response to “The future of learning (Fofo?)”

  1. colhawksworth Says:

    Excellent blog David! 🙂 Thanks for the compliment and name check.

    I’ve completed many OU courses and can confirm that they still hold tutorials, have tutor contact time, hold summer schools, regional support days, etc. The OU is not 100% distance learning on your own – you certainly have to be highly motivated and committed to study with the OU, it’s no mean feat if you’re also working.

    Blended Learning is about as far as you can reasonably move away from traditional F2F… as you say, learners need learners – they also need a recognised ‘teacher’.


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