During the second day of the Online Educa I was able to go to the Going Global with E-Learning keynote in the morning and to the Battle of the Bloggers session in the afternoon. Here are some of my notes and thoughts:
The keynote started with a presentation by Christophe Binot, E-Learning Manager at Total in France. What he showed was quite shocking to me. All the things he described were classic webbased training materials. It felt like I was back in the 20th century. There was no talk of collaborating, of networks, not even of performance support. Instead he focused on the more than 1000 lessons in four languages.
Next up was Richard Straub. He is currently the Secretary General of the European Learning Industry Group (ELIG) and used to by an employee of IBM, but has gradually stepped out. ELIG has the mission to promote innovation in learning in Europe. They are trying to anticipate the 21st century.
The theme of his talk was the unstoppable move towards openness and how this will enable an education continuum.
We are making a move from a closed world to a more open world:
|Top down||Bottom up|
|Command and control||Autonomy|
We are moving from a society of relatively static organisations towards what Straub calls the “Hollywood studio approach” of dynamic teams built around a project. The knowledge workers of the second half of the 20st century will be replaced by knowledge entrepreneurs who will work on the basis of flexible contractual relationships.
Focusing on education this might mean that the traditional silos (elementary school, secondary education, tertiary education, employment) will be bridged to create an education continuum of lifelong learning.
This is definitely material which I will look into further.
He finished his talk by mentioning that the new notion of blended learning is mixing formal and informal learning (not mixing classroom and online learning), and by recommending Opening Up Education: The Collective Advancement of Education through Open Technology, Open Content, and Open Knowledge.
The last speaker of the keynote session was Laura Overton of the independent, not for profit, community interest company Towards Maturity. Her organisation does research in multinational companies with the goal of improving the impact of learning technologies at work.
According to their research the key factors hindering the implementation of innovative learning technologies are the lack of knowledge about its potential, the high reluctance to adopt and the lack of implementation skills. Interestingly 23% of the global companies also considered the overhyping of learning products by their suppliers to be a significant hindrance to implementation.
Mature companies are moving from aligning to needs to delivering impact. Towards maturity has an interesting model of factors in this process:
- Alignment to (business) needs is the most important factor for success.
- Learner context. Engage learners and listen to them, involve them in the design and the implementation.
- Work context. Connect to regional priorities, don’t fight technical infrastructures, work with local cultures to your advantage.
- Building capacity. Collaboratively author content, ensure that local training divisions are equipped using the latest tools, support and connect.
- Ensuring engagement. Equip local heroes, organise pilots, develop communication toolkits, create peer to peer communication strategies.
- Demonstrating value. Don’t be afraid to ask for value, dig deeper and communicate successes via a wide selection of media.
These strands collectively intertwine. All contribute to impact and involve stakeholders at all stages. Overton sees it like a “six-legged” race where each of these strands has to coordinate with the others to progress.
The Battle of the Bloggers session in the late afternoon was meant to be a reflective and interactive session on what had been the most relevant topics of the conference. A back channel was provided using Backnoise.
Unfortunately I only learnt two things from this session:
- Belgium has another unknown comic: session chair Bert De Coutere lead it with a great sense of humour.
- A backchannel does not add a lot of value yet. People (me included) do two things in it: they discuss the backchannel itself (“we should have this in every session”) or they make witty remarks.
The blogger panelists did not seem to be too comfortable behind their tables on the stage in front of a very large and largely empty room. We had a heckler that could only talk about how all generations have turned into sheep and a vocal audience member with the age of somebody from generation Y, but the mind of baby boomer. All in all Michael Wesch could have gotten some great cultural anthropological material for research on weird group interactions.