Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Reflections, Challenges, Predictions


Response to LCB’s Big Question for December

Reflections

• E-learning is going through an identity crisis. So is instructional design. Glorified PowerPoint presentations masquerading as e-learning exist side by side with Harvard on Second Life.
• 2.0 platforms have made the Web richer and more participative. But has it made learning richer? I don’t know.
• The term “communities of practice” has become more meaningful. The Learning Circuits Blog is a fine example.
• User-generated content has toppled the expert/amateur divide, which is good in one sense. However, we must remember that expertise comes at the cost of years of hard work and experimenting with possibilities in a specialized area (in conversation with other disciplines).
• Simulations and games continue to be buzz words. When I play a simulation, I don’t play to win. I play it to figure things out. But in games, you either win or lose (or improve your own score). So, can games teach? Or, does it only help you practice what you already “kind of” know?

Challenges

• What role does an instructional designer play in the 2.0 scheme of things?
• Dave Lee’s post “can we get a bit more precise?” set me thinking. How precise can we get? Does this field lend itself to mathematical precision? If it doesn’t, then does it mean we can only discuss “imprecisions”?
• What’s the truth of learning? Each time we try to define something, we are trying to get to the truth, but paradoxically, every definition ends up masking the truth. So, what’s the truth? Maybe there’s none.

Predictions

• “Click next to continue” e-learning tutorials will continue to be developed in 2007.
• LMSs, unless they reinvent themselves, are on their way out.
• Informal learning will continue to be a favorite topic.
• Expect a lot of mediocrity: it’s a natural consequence of too much social networking on the Web.
• “Learning professionals” will read and write (and respond to) more blog posts than standard articles on teaching and learning.
Second Life will become more and more attractive (and addictive) to those who don’t have a first life.

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