January 28, 2008

Changing learning culture

On Friday, January 25th, 2008, I participated in E-learning Campus Zurich, an inspiring event about e-learning. After reflecting on what I heard, saw, and talked to people about this day, I’d like to point out these 3 aspects of what I learned:

# 1: Learners will get a more important, active, and independent role in their own education
Interactive and collaborative tools / web 2.0 tools / social software like, for example, blogs, wikis, chat, and video conferences will become an even more integrated part of education. A couple of advantages using these tools in education are that they enable people to work/learn anytime and anywhere, i.e. to become more independent learners. These tools generate even more advantages: For example, learners can proactively bring onto blogs real life challenges/problems/experiences from the companies, they work for – for example just as the problems occur during work. Doing this, they encourage other blog participants to help them find solutions to their working challenges. In addition, learners can, in the companies they work for, continuously try out new knowledge / successful experiences that other people have communicated.
Doing these things, learners make education an even more natural/integrated part of their jobs – benefiting businesses, customers of the companies, and learners themselves.

# 2: Assessment will become a more natural part of education and something that HELPS learners to learn better
Not only will assessment increasingly move to the Internet. E-assessment software will also become easier to use and will be used throughout the learning process in order to help the individual learner and the teacher/trainer/coach improve learning together. As e-assessment and feedback (including learner to learner feedback) will become a more natural part of education - compared to the current situation in many schools, where students are primarily tested at the end of the semester/year - the pressure/fear of taking tests might be reduced for many. As mentioned in this blog post, there’s at least one more advantage of not only testing at the end of the semester/year but all the way through the period: More people will make a larger effort to learn throughout the period.

# 3: Learners do not need to sit down in order to learn effectively
As part of the interesting and efficient event E-learning Campus Zurich, during which I met several people with much knowledge, 3 parallel running workshop sessions were organized in the afternoon. I had the pleasure of taking part in an interactive poster session focusing on new ways of e-learning. During this workshop, I experienced, for example, that learners must not sit down to work effectively. In fact, talking to other people while standing by an interesting and challenging poster can be a really good way to acquire new knowledge.
Also worth mentioning here is the working lunch that the organizers had successfully set up: Food was served on tall tables in the middle of an exhibition. In other words: While eating lunch, participants could stand/walk around and talk to a number of people, who presented various e-learning products. What a splendid idea to promote interaction/collaboration between people – and use the time effectively.
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