This Charming Man…?

March 3, 2010

It’s about the content, stupid…

Filed under: Uncategorized — ihaventgotastitchtowear @ 4:41 pm

A few years ago I worked with a guy who used to say that, ‘e-learning was a hammer, to crack a nut’. By that I think that he thought people really got obsessed with e-learning system (or more correctly back then, the Virtual Learning Environment/Learning Management System), rather than how academic staff could change practice to improve their students’ learning experience.

Nothing has changed much. Except technology has moved on and the landscape of educational tools has become more complex. When I say complex I mean completely overwhelming. The landscape isn’t just what you do on a computer, anymore either. It’s the relationship between the physical here and now and the technology interface. Between the production of content and the delivery of content.

As ever the delivery of content is the easy one – want content to your laptop, iPhone, Blackberry, iPad? Sure we have people with imagination and skills to create these platforms. What interoperability to saw all these systems up in a neat parcel for students? Sure we’ll give you IDM. Want iTunesU, branded and purring like a tiger? Sure, will get those APIs going now.

I can rattle off half a dozen wizz bang, smart, integrated system that my institution have introduced. They are truly good applications that have the potential to enhance the student experience.

The problem with educational systems that don’t mandate that their teachers to keep up to speed on their teaching practices is just that.  No amount of excellent infrastructure, interoperability, and applications amount to a heap of beans unless organisations set standards for engagement by staff. Ultimately giving someone a 1970s Ford, or a 2010 BMW doesn’t matter if it sits in the garage because the owner doesn’t know how to drive.

Content is King, but Context is Kingdom. We are getting to the point where students are demanding more in terms of their experience, it’s time to mandate teachers to be up to date with the tools of their trade.

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