aLearning Blog

Online Learning for Trade Associations

Something e-Old, Something e-New

Posted by Ellen on March 20, 2010

Sounds sort of stinky, doesn’t it?

Well, according to the results of a broad-reaching survey done by Allison Rossett, professor emerita of educational technology at San Diego State University, and James Marshall, consultant and educational technology faculty member at SDSU, current elearning is a combination of old and new — but mostly old.

The research is “broad-reaching” because five groups invited members to participate in the survey — groups that include a range of learning (and elearning) professionals:

  • ASTD
  • The eLearning Guild
  • The International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI)
  • PINOT (Performance Improvement Non-Training Solutions)

Rossett and Marshall focused on determining what we’re all *actually doing* when we say we’re doing elearning. Are we doing…

Online collaboration?

Mobile delivery?

Asynchronous programs with visuals and audio?

Training in virtual worlds?

Blogs and wikis? Twitter? YouTube?

Thanks to the authors’ willingness to share just their results even more broadly, you can catch a full article about it in the January 2010 issue of T+D from ASTD, listen to a podcast of the article , and/or you can view a recording of a Webinar she did to discuss the results. [Note that Elluminate requires a Java download that will launch automatically when you complete the registration form.]

I opted for the Webinar recording, “eLearning is Not What You Think It Is,” and highly recommend you choose at least one of the ways to see this report. The results will give you an idea of where your association’s elearning sits right now compared to where it is in other organizations.

Here’s a teaser:

Their carefully crafted “snapshots” uncovered these five most frequently occurring elearning practices:

1. Online testing.

2. Use of computers as part of classroom instruction.

3. “Our programs present content and opportunities to practice and receive feedback. Employees work on these tutorials at a time of their own choosing.” (I’d call this asynchronous, stand-alone learning with embedded learning checkpoints and feedback.)

4. “Our programs use visuals with an audio track. Employees watch and listen at a time of their choosing.” (I’d call this asynchronous learning, including archived Webinars, without embedded learning checkpoints.)

5. “Our programs are based on realistic scenarios that press employees to make choices and learn from the results of those choices.” (I’d call this using branching scenarios.)

With all the buzz lately about incorporating social learning into the mix, are you as surprised as I am to see it missing from the top 5?

And the “least frequently occurring elearning practice”? Mobile learning, with training in virtual worlds in next-to-last place.

“Personalized learning” topped the wish list and lack of funding was the primary elearning constraint.

As Rossett notes, “Old favorites dominated our study. eLearning today appears to be mostly about delivering assessments and designs, testing, personalization, scenarios, and tutorials. All these are familiar, and they all have deep roots in the training and development community.”

She also points out that “Those who reported themselves to be leaders reported more of everything than did practitioners.”

Those of us who are “doing” know the constraints we face everyday, despite our wish list, despite nodding our heads in agreement with the bloggers and consultants who tell us we need to be doing more A, B, or C.

Yes, we should be doing some things differently. But the reality is that we are on huge ships that are hard enough to turn when you’re at the helm. And when you’re not the captain, it’s that much more difficult to change direction.

What can help make the difference? A well-formulated elearning strategy of course 🙂

One Response to “Something e-Old, Something e-New”

  1. […] Link Categories: eLearning Tags: Ed Tech, Educational Technology, eLearning, Social Media in Educatin Comments (0) Trackbacks (0) Leave a comment Trackback […]

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