MSC TECHNOLOGY AND LEARNING: the revolution will not be live streamed

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I’ll be 49 in 2020.

That means I’ll probably have a good 10-15 years of working life ahead of me and will have to continually adapt to new working methods or communities of learning.

So what will my classroom look like on the fringe of my quarter century? How will I deliver learning? And how could engaging with e-learning benefit both my learners and me personally in the future?

Writing in Educause in 2003, Warren Wilson detailed his recommendations for good practice with regards to technology in learning.

He espoused the way technology lends itself to a more learner-centred approach and encouraged institutions to embrace change, calling upon them to give staff more time to develop evolved courses and reward staff for their increased contribution.

He says: “This new learning paradigm puts the student in the centre of the learning environment as an active participant.”

“Faculty can more easily mold learning modules to the needs of the individual student by utilising technology.”

What strikes me is, while this utopian vision has much appeal, the pace of change is much slower than Wilson would have expected.

A recent report by the Observatory on Borderless Higher Education suggests that the revolution will be more about stepping stones than tearing down the barricades.

Report author William Lawton says: “Technology does not have a free hand in driving change.”

“Change is driven (and held back) by people, institutions and countries with real political and economic interests.”

In other words, people put barriers to change. Yet, to me, there are major benefits to moving towards an e-learning model of delivery. These include:

  • More consideration of the individual needs of each learner
  • The community of collaborative learning leads to wider expertise via shared resources
  • Leveraging the strengths of new technology provides a more even playing field for all types of learners
  • Greater flexibility for learners and tutors to work outside of straightjacket hours
  • An opportunity to ‘unbundle’ courses, blending my particular expertise with tutors from other institutions in exchange for credits

So how will my classroom look in 2020?

Will the ever-accelerated pace of change finally lead us to Wilson’s utopian future? Or will box-ticking, budget-squeezing management lethargy ensure it looks much like it does today with tokenistic nods to e-learning and lip-service platitudes regarding the needs of individual students?

I fear more of the latter but I can’t be sure.

For that I’d need 2020 vision.

What do others think? Join the conversation below.

Further reading: 

 

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