In my many reflections, I have found myself looking back. In the looking back, am always very inquisitive. Asking the sort of questions that am unlikely to get answers, and even where I get the answers, am not sure of what to do with the answers. But, with time, I have learnt the most important part of reflections is moving foward. From the point where one possed to do the reflections, moving into the future.
Reflections in daily living always come when something have gone wrong. Rarely do we, as human beings, stop and reflect if everything moves smoothly or we expect it to. And therefore, as usual, my reflections is of two eLearning projects that I have worked on this year that to me have failed. I will report on one that has bothered me todate. It was on eLearning facilitation.
The eLearning course was for participants in Africa - working mainly in NGOs. It was only offered online. The reasons I documented for its failure are (with the actual feedback I got from some of the participants):
Lack of sufficient IT Skills
- “I have been trying to open and watch the video on xxx in Module 2. I have been trying for along time it cannot open”
- “I am sorry that I have not progressed very well in the course. I had changed the password as advised. I found that I could not login with the new password. Yesterday I spent a lot of time trying to rectify this problem. I have finally been given another password by the administrator. I tried to login with the new given password I still cannot login.”
Lack of Internet Connectivity
- “Thank you James for the follow up I have had problems with our internet for the past week”
- “Indeed one rested well, however I am having challenges in getting thru, you can skype [me] on xxxxxx”
Lack of time to commit to the course
- “Thank you James for the follow up I have had problems with our internet for the past week but before that week I was doing training for the rest of the days otherwise am back to the office”.
- “Thanks for the message and the new option for the next chat. It is of great dismay to reveal that I will not be available for both chat sessions as per your proposal. I will be facilitating in a cooperative meeting in one of the rural communities here in [my country]”.
- “Dear James ...I am well, but busy with outreach courses that I teach. I will come to the office and finish all my pending assignments”.
- One of the participants’ email addresses always had an “out of office” auto-responder.
My reflection questions were, what if all the participants in the course had the skills and access to resources required, would it have had an impact? What if they did not have the time but had all the resources and skills? What is a best match of skills and other requirements for an online learner?