The major cause of fatalities among online learning operations, internal and commercial, is not technical failure or pedagogical failure, it is process failure flowing from a failure in vision. Short-sightedness, tunnel vision, and technology focus can leave you very exposed.
So how do you find your way through the techno-hype to make sound strategic e-learning decisions? The first step is to understand that your e-learning strategy is part your learning strategy, and is not something separate. Like the rest of your learning strategy, your e-learning strategy is designed to support the achievement of your business objectives. What makes it complicated is the fact that your e-learning activities may require quite different operational resources, business processes, and infrastructures than your classroom activities.
As most companies have found out by now, providing learning online involves more than simply authoring courses and attaching them to an LMS. The major processes you will have to design and deploy are:
* Design your learning experiences (the word “courses” is too limiting).
* Code those experiences for web, mobile or other access.
* Deploy them in a dynamic learning environment.
* Host the learning experiences and any related learning ecosystems.
* Build resources, both people and technology.
* Administer the learning activity from enrolment to disengagement, and perhaps to application.
* Support learners, instructors, and other customers.
* Upgrade technology, design, and content over time.
* Market your learning programs.
Whatever you do, don’t simply jump into action. Your first step is not to select an LMS and the technology for creating your courses. Before you even think about technology, get a good grasp of your corporate business goals. Define the vision, business and operational strategy for the learning group. Then, making use of whatever tools you may have, define learning objectives by curriculum and individual learning experience. Decide the optimal modes and media for each, having already established a clear picture of your available technology resources and your target learner platform. Next, examine your existing business processes, and decide how they need to change to support your vision.
for the vast majority of weblogs in the world the core over-arching principle is that of personhood. The weblog becomes and extension of yourself. A suit you wear, if you will. It's like you're controlling a whole prosthetic version of yourself. The tone of voice will be personal. The individual benefits from feeling a part of a community. That community will often have connections and overlaps with their real-life community. And that an individual will care about what they care about and nothing more.
This means that whatever you're planning to use weblogs for, then you'll fid them most naturally useful if you keep the individual at the heart of the enterprise. That means if you're interested in knowledge management, or in community generation or in using them for publishing or whatever, then you should keep that idea of an individual voice at the centre of your thinking.
I have posted some more of my interview notes from my visit to the Cabot School District. This visit was with Danita Bitely and Bethany Hill, academic coaches at Cabot Middle School North and Southside Elementary. As a part of the interview Bethany related this story, "The parent came in. It was over a weekend. He came in that Monday and said, "You are not going to believe this. I said, What? He said, Johnathan came home and dug my Palm out, I don't remember what kind it was, a Sony. It was a different brand than what we had been using in the classrooms. We had been using the IIIc's. He dug it out and he charged it. He showed me how to set the date. He showed me how to use Graffiti and how to write on it and how to put my dates on it and everything. He said I'm going to use it now because of that. He said, I just thought it was a waste of time!" I thought that was the biggest accomplishment with his kids having no fear of technology. They see it all the time, they are surrounded by it, but adults do! They're generally afraid to see new things with technology, so, I thought that was a big thing. He taught him how to hot sync and everything. Because we had Palms ourselves. We have Zire71s at the time. My kids would see me hot sync. We explained what that was and what it meant that the information could be traded back and forth between computer and Palm. That was the big reason why he never wanted to use it because he had heard they crashed all the time. He said "I'm not going to put all this stuff on there and have it go away." He never realized he could back it up. So, that was my biggest accomplishment." Read more here
The Edutrain is alive and well in Cabot! Here is a sample quote... "(T) We are moving toward academies at the secondary level. I would love to
see an academy take the initiative and say, you know "all of our
children are going to have their own Palm." We are going to write a
grant, we are going to do what it takes to fund this. Every child in a
learning community carried the Palm and it became a part of the
conversation, used in classes, used in everyday life, as an
organizational tool, for assessment. To be able to pass information
back and forth... The things that are out there right now with the
Margi. I love to see the kids comfortable with this. I've had
kindergarten kids flip open that and ready to go. This is the key to
engaging students in thinking, problem solving. It's their world. My
own son, he's 16 now, any way we can connect technology is how we hook
them. It's their world. They know no fear. They are not afraid of
punching buttons and exploring. When I get stuck here I call him when
we can't figure it out. Last night we worked up here for a while after
I left on a problem. (P) That's all they know. For us to get them
engaged in the classroom, technology is the key and this is the least
expensive way to do it. (T) No wires, no cords... Just have it and
go. We used to look up vocabulary words and write things down. That is
obsolete! Copy->Paste! They know all the tricks. They know how to
get the information We, as educators, have not kept up with that
realization that what we have been teaching and how we have been
teaching is gone. Thats right now where I see a disconnect with my own
son. You know, vocabulary words and questions, that's mindless,
brainless, useless. What he does is he puts up the two documents, he
goes, he knows how to copy and paste, I don't even know if he is
reading! Now, if we really understand that as educators, how are we
going to stop that? That's where we are going to have to move to
project based learning. That's where we are going to have to move to
solving problems and thinking. Because if we keep on with the worksheet
mentality, even the electronic, they've got it beat!"