January 17, 2006

Welcome to the Megatrends blog

This blog is used by the project members to post information and updates related to the Megatrends project. You are welcome to post comments, which may be accepted by the blog moderator.


dei said...

E-learning, in english, is an abbreviation for 'electronic learning' and e-learning should therefore be defined as 'The provision of education and training electronically, that ia via the Internet or the World Wide Web.
There is another definition 'The use of new multimedia technologies and the Internet to improve the quality of learning by facilitating access to resources and services as well as remote exchanges and collobaration'. I do not believe that a technology can 'improve the quality of learning' but it is the vagueness in the definition of 'the use of new multimedia technologies' that I wish to discuss here. It is said that this definition is supported by the European Commission.
Any face to face lecture in a conventional university I have attended in the last 5-10 years was heavily dependent on technology. The professor stood beside the technology, the overhead projector, and either wrote on it, or drew designs on it or showed pre-prepared slides on it. So dependent was he on the technology that is was switched on before the students entered the lecture theatre and was not switched off until they left.
In the same way the se of multimedia technologies has been standard for decades in childrens' classrooms in schools, where audiotapes, videotapes, overhead projectors and multimedia kits are standard equipment.
Thus the European Commission can be shown to be defining e-learning as exactly the same as face-to-face, conventional teaching in school classrooms or university lecture halls. This is ridiculous.
To maintain the difference between face-to-face education and electronic learning (e-learning) on emust insist on the inclusion of electronic technologies in the definition of e-learning, as the new multimedia technologies are central to face-to-face lecturing or school teaching.

megatrend said...

Yes. I agree. Wage definition do not help much. It is made to be able to reach an easy target. However Definition makers themselves do not belive that this kind of definition works, as in the evaluation and benchmarking documents we have a much darker picture on Europe's e-learning.

On the other hand our sub-society of education is also in constant change. Different cultures of corporate trainging and face to face education and distance education are converging. Or at least are using tools that was originally used by other segments of the market.

There are emerging trends like team-work and peer-group support or collaborative learning are challenging both face to face and traditional distance education theorists, as both systems were basicly built on individual perception and learning outcomes: mostly with no student interaction either in classrooms or in distance courses.

So it is not easy to find the best definition to e-learning which is: stable in time for at least 10 years, handels all variations and modifications of this form of learning, and serving also to distinguish traditional education where learning is mostly instructed by Human from other forms where learning is done mosty by self-instruction.

simon said...

Dear Megatrend,

I like your definition of elearning = 'The use of new multimedia technologies and the Internet to improve the quality of learning by facilitating access to resources and services as well as remote exchanges and collobaration'.

So I suggest that your Megatrend approach is eteaching, and not elearning at all. The assumption in eteaching is, as dei suggests, simply a continuaton of the old. It looks at what the old institutions do and now, as they use www stuff, compares the success of their 'delivery'. It is the old paradigm of a manufacturing age.

You can see how backward the institutional practictioners are by viewing this page, http://www.nettskolen.com/in_english/megatrends/workpackage1.html and noticing they have neither recorded nor share their audio conferences, as any progressive institution would using www technology = internet radio/ web streaming.

Another example, from the "most successful" institution, shows how the basic components of a global course, once built, are usually loaded on an institutional site, even though the costs of its production could be amortized between a thousand global institutions instead of just national one.

Let me share with you a principle of the change in elearning which helps my perception. "Media is changing from one-way media built around National institutions to two-way media coalescing around subject specific global working groups, who attract communities of interest". One example would be this domain where one can find around 2000 people interested in web design buzzing around 24/7. http://www.sitepoint.com/forums/

There are no secrets why domains like this rank in Alexa's top 500 and are growing fast. They measure no. of posts and page views, and help get a question answered, while the old institutions measure no of courses and students, and help keep a teacher employed, regardless of how backward is their multimedia.

Gilly said...

I've received copies of my 'megatrends' boooks and am absorbing them - thanks to the authors and contributors, they're really valuable for me. Gilly Salmon