Thursday, January 04, 2007

Have we Fallen to the Traps of Technology Vendors in our eLearning Match

Sometimes in the journey to the promised land - where eLearning or teaching and learning with technology will be the in-thing, we need to climb atop a mountain so that we can have a clearer view of where we are coming from and where we might be going. We need to find out what is a fact, and what is a hype in the elearning campaigns of latter-days. Does the flexibility - anytime, anywhere learning imply improved learning? Is there research that has been done - other than by the vendors - to support that notion that a class with a computer is superior to a class without? Or are we preparing our Nations' workforce for a future with working with technology, computing technology - meaning even the nannies will be babysitting using a computer? Is there tangible research to show that eLearning leads to an eased or reduced workload for the academic staff?
My opinion is, in most of the promises of eLearning that have been well articulated, we have fallen to the traps of the innovative vendors and their marketers who have discovered a rich and wide market for their products. I am yet to see a research - done by by a non-aligned force to show that: a) there is improved learning in the use of computers in the classroom; b) in future, all the work will be done using the technology and hence there is need to incorporate computer training in the classroom; c) there is in fact, a reduction in the workload of an academician when using technology of teaching and learning; and d) the cost of eLearning investment subside over time.
The aim here is not to trash or discredit what has been achieved already using eLearning, but rather to ensure that people are making the right decision with the right kind of information - backed by credible research not marketing slogans. At the top of the mountain, we need to look at where we are going, and project and predict the future based on facts.

No comments: