e-Learning Context

A Reply to http://elearningstuff.net/2011/02/02/focus-on-the-technology-or-not/

picture of a Starbucks cup of coffeeToday I read James Clay’s recent blog post (above), but I can’t decide whether to agree with him entirely, or not.

Generally, I do agree with James when he says:

“In the context of the classroom or lecture theatre, a practitioner is facing a series of learning problems that need solving. Some of these if not all of them can be solved using traditional learning methods and processes. However some of them can be solved smarter, more efficiently (ie cheaper) or solved faster using learning technologies.”

.. and again when he goes on to suggest that focusing on the technology during training sessions can often present teachers with interventions and solutions that would help them.

However, the issue I would take is that for this to happen, the teacher/practitioner would need to welcome the use of technology and to embrace the idea that such an intervention would work. I’m just not sure that this is universally accepted yet.

Many of us embrace the use of technology for learning and welcome it in its many forms. However, we start from a place where technology’s foibles and idiosyncrasies are expected, sidestepped and/or researched, so these don’t bother us at all. The staff James is talking about (generally, not specifically) do not – and this makes it much harder for them to accept technological change or to give up their time to explore/understand those same foibles.

I know it’s an old argument, but how many teaching colleagues do you know were shown PowerPoint all those years ago (it might still happen) and still use that as their main form of a): delivery and b): use it badly? (Please replace PowerPoint with any technology of your choice).

My point? Well, I believe that a pedagogical need to should be required before a technological intervention is offered. I get James’ point about context and I suppose I just stand slightly to one side of his position, but there’s often an awful lot of background needed by the practitioner before he/she ‘gets it’.

I’m sorry if this is a ramble, I suppose it would have been better discussed over an e-Learning Stuff Podcast but …

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