eLearning in 2010

John Martin's picture

from: Great expectations for e-learning in 2010 by Tony Bates, on December 30th, 2009


A few comments on this article, from my perspective. Tony points to 6 things. There are more or fewer, depending on how you slice them up. In one word, they all point to the personalization of learning — a movement from education as a social administration of youth to that of a process of customized, personal and individualized learning.

  1. Bigger classes and more distance education at universities, along with cuts in services. This means we need to act ever smarter in doing the things we do, and, I'd suggest, respect a bit more what the learners can do for themselves.
  2. E-publishing. With rumors of the Apple Tablet reaching a crescendo, ideas for more interactive magazines floating around (see Sports Illustrated concept video), and the increasing costs of paper-based textbooks (along with an overall push for open source and Creative Commons), educators are looking at creating and aggregating their own course texts or looking at groups like Flatworld to provide inexpensive alternatives. We need to be ready to explore and support these trends in all their incarnations (laptop screens, tablets, mobile, etc.).
  3. Mobile. This is an area that I've been preaching for years. Let me go beyond the "anywhere, anytime learning" mantra and specify that this technology changes lives because it ushers in an era of "just-in-time" learning (how to deliver a baby via Blackberry and YouTube), and turns the world your world into a very specific and very situated learning environment. It's not just mobile; it's locative.
  4. The Cloud. Access to all our information at all times means that our favorite bird guide is in our pocket with our phone and address book, and dictionary, weather station, movies, music, other books, magazines, textbooks (see #2), class notes and papers, connections with friends (to share), etc. Mobile (#3) again.
  5. Open Content (Brazil). Brazil and India have been working on an open infrastructure that support these things (#s 2-4), so they're ahead of the curve. We should try to catch up, no?
  6. The Unknown. A few visionaries, like Kurzweil, Stephenson, and Gibson, (and heck, let's include the master), have been seeing these things for decades, but educators and institutions are slow to grab onto them. We need to limber up and start getting a bit more nimble about it.
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