I use to think that the “message” of e-learning could be sold to practitioners.
I use to think that once the “message” was sold that these practitioners would then embrace e-learning and use it to enhance and enrich their teaching and their students’ learning.
I use to think, once sold, that these practitioners would continue to use e-learning as e-learning evolved and changed over the years.
I use to think, that these practitioners would sell the “message” to others in their curriculum area and the cycle would continue.
I know others think this way.
I no longer think this way.
I no longer think this way because I have seen it tried and used in many different institutions, over many educational sectors, across varied curriculum areas and have never seen a holistic success made of this process, it does not work across a whole institution. For example, in FE we had ILT Champions who would “champion” the use of ILT in their curriculum areas.
So what do I think now?
Well I think differently.
We need to think differently if we are to make the best use of e-learning to meet the challenges (and opportunities) over the next few years.
We can’t continue to do what we have always done, just because we have always done it that way.
My methodology now, is more about changing the culture of an organisation so that when new technologies come along, we see it as an opportunity for enrichment, and not a threat to an existing practice. Learning technologies are there to provide solutions to practical, administrative and pedagogical problems, not to be a problem in their own right waiting to be solved.
Practitioners need to be wanting and able to take advantage of the opportunities and solutions that learning technologies can provide, and not see it as something that is annoying, unsuitable, inappropriate or dangerous.
We need to move away from excuses and obstacles, and move towards opportunities and solutions.
It’s not just about “not enough” staff development and training, it’s about practitioner taking responsibility for their own staff development, to seek out a community of practice, to build on their skills, share, collaborate and move forward. It isn’t enough now to rely on a single staff development day, week or event. Staff development is an activity that happens every day.
Community is important, local, regional, national and even international. Sharing practice, ideas and problems is a way of changing culture. Building communities of practice and personal learning networks should be the responsibility of every practitioner, and no they don’t all need to be based around Twitter!
We need to start thinking differently about how we do things, and not do things just because we have always done them that way. Sometimes we will continue to do it that way, but for the right reasons.
Well I think differently!