Research Log of Web Science Students

Computer Science is not simply programming

The challenges for the future of elearning

with 2 comments

The future of elearning aims to address the needs of new findings in education. Whereas before elearning simply was a translation of the classroom experience into software, experience tells that such methods can be pretty sterile. Or from another point of view, it is not innovative enough to do justice to the state of the art technology that is already out there and that makes these pretty sterile elearning methods available. Surely things can be better than that!

Why not harness the appeal of web 2.0 software? Social networking sites are fun and everybody likes learning that is fun. Imagine a learning environment that that gives learners the ability to create, to share
ideas, to join groups, to publish their own learnings pretty much like much like one’s favorite social networking site. Now we’re talking! Imagine a learning environment that is interoperable with your favorite social networking site; where one shoutout his/her findings across social networking sites or vice versa (for instance, one can see status updates from the learning environment in his/her Facebook/plurk) .

Such are the aims of the future of elearning. And like we’ve been always saying in our presentations: PLEs have the potential to meet [a challenge like that]. Yes something like that is not yet out there but we aim to set the standard.

I finally can enumerate these challenges:

1. challenges in lifelong learning
2. challenges in informal learning
3. challenges in assesment of learning

The challenge in lifelong learning is to be able to find a support platform for learning done after formal education. I’ve finally found sense in the adage that more or less tell you that learning doesn’t stop in after you’ve graduated from college. With the rapid advances in technology, there is an increasing need to reskill to remain marketable and while I’ll tell you in a short while that more people are turning to the internet to do their reeducation, my personal opinion is that nothing still beats formal training.

Only that, there are alternatives to formal training which are also useful. “workplace learning, learning from the home, learning driven by problem solving and learning motivated by personal interest…” whatever you call them are still learning experiences only that they are not formal methods. I can add to that list based on my experience: learning driven by a program that won’t work, learning driven by a task given in my internship, learning driven by a desire to cook better food. If only we could extend learning to include learning in these situations. If only there were mechanisms in place for these types of learning. While our thesis is mainly a web app, I can’t see why a PLE can in the future be accessible from your phone. I can well imagine one day when my car tires will be flat and I’ll have to change them myself. There was no such thing as a tire changing lesson in driving school and certainly I am pretty sure that there isn’t a short course out there I could take. How convenient would it be if I could access my PLE from my phone to learn how to change a tire on the spot? The instructions could have been made into a learning object by my car manufacturer! If my friend was in similar trouble, I could refer him to that learning object!

And what about assessment? Well, I could simply take pictures of my tire changing travail from my phone and throw it to my eportfolio via my phone! At least now I can show people I know how to change a tire car!

It has been a great week in my RRLs. I’ve gotten a lot of ideas and am certainly generating some of my own. Let’s hope the developer in me doesn’t fret too much. Ideas are great as a dreamer and challenges are the ones I am looking forward to as a developer.


Written by Jose Asuncion

August 13, 2009 at 3:18 pm

2 Responses

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  1. Whatever happened to the human experience? As a parent (and tutor) I am constantly telling my kids to get off the screen. TV , Computer, this generation is forgetting how to interface with each other. Playdates turn into screen dates when imagination and conversation ends and youtube comes on.
    I think computers are a great tool to be utilized in school and the home. As supplementary use only.
    In the home for research and online tutoring, which is a super option for those who need quick immediate or an answer to a simple question.
    Keeping screentime to a minimum encourages kids to do other things.
    The sun is shining— go enjoy it. The screen isn’t going anywhere.


    August 13, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    • tutoringmatch :
      Whatever happened to the human experience? As a parent (and tutor) I am constantly telling my kids to get off the screen. TV , Computer, this generation is forgetting how to interface with each other.

      I didn’t expound on it in this blogpost but Personal Learning Environments don’t remove the human experience out of studying. In fact collaboration is one of its main goals. It enhances collaboration because it’s also a social network. But not just another social network out there. One of the things and the vision is that it allows you to connect to your friends in whatever social network you’re in Facebook, Twitter etc. You can tweet the courses you’ve made in the PLE without leaving the PLE itself. Maybe your friends who share the same interest can also pick it up. You can status message your misgivings about a topic you’re trying to learn in Facebook also within in the PLE. Maybe someone you know who sees your status message can pm you and help you out. Of course that friend of yours will pm you via facebook and you’ll see that pm both in the PLE and in your facebook account.

      tutoringmatch :
      I think computers are a great tool to be utilized in school and the home. As supplementary use only.

      I’d have to disagree with the word supplementary. For me it’s another approach especially sometimes when I don’t have a choice. Whereas I used to highlight books with a highlighter and jot down my notes on the side, sometimes I can’t get a copy of a book we’re using so I resort to downloading ebooks and highlighting and putting stickies digitally using Foxit Reader.

      Sometimes books can be intimidating when it comes to explanations so I watch videos on youtube about a topic I’m studying. It’s easier to digest that way. Of course using the computer does have its drawbacks too. So sometimes I revert to traditional ways. It’s good to be eclectic.

      Jose Asuncion

      August 17, 2009 at 8:04 pm

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