Live from AITD – Making e-Learning Work

Well – it’s a bit of a surprise – but there is a wireles connection somewhere around here that I have managed to access – yippeee!

So – I’ll be doing live overviews as we run through the program. Currently, Shirley Alexander, Dean of the Faculty of Education at UTS (my boss!) is doing the opening address to a packed out audience – over 100 learning & development (L&D) practitioners.

Shirley has been warning the audience about e-Learning predictions and the implications for their practice and implementation in organisations. Some rather delightful comparisons to the early introduction of the telephone are serving as a timely reminder about the use of technologies and the disruptive impact (I’m thinking about social software applications here…).

The owners of telephone technology were horrified in 1909 when a survey of usage was conducted to discover that 30% of calls were "idle gossip" ! Their intention for the use of the telephone technology was focused as a broadcast tool – not a social communication tool! (Any of this sounding familiar?)

However, by the 1930s, the telephone companies realised they need to change their perspective – predictions for the use of the phone included: reducing lonliness, providing bonds for communities, and fostering world peace (of course!).

Doesn’t all of this really remind you of the hype of e-Learning implementations in the organisational context…!

Shirley believes that L&D practitioners do NOT need to be experts with the tools – that it’s about  your underpinning view of learning, which underpins your design of the learning event, and then the e-Learning strategy you deploy!

And what about the future?: We are still at the beginning of e-Learning and, so far,  we have just replicated the previous implementation of other tools (like the telephone) – it’s about specializing in what we know best – how people learn!