Challenges and Opportunities

A question posed:
What challenges and opportunities do you see for the realization of your philosophy of education in the evolution of eLearning as we know it?


Challenges:
– Instructors need to be taught the new ways of learning & remembering. There isn’t always funding for this
– Building a sense of community in each class. In Adult Education, each course is so short, 12 – 13 weeks.
– Teaching the Learning Management System (LMS). Each student has taken a different path to my course. Each course I have to teach how to use the LMS to achieve a basic competency.

Opportunities:
– World Wide Learning Communities
– Able to access knowledge anywhere, anytime
– Control! Students can control their own learning

Thoughts:
We are so very fortunate to be at the starting wave of an educational revolution. Education has been locked in to the same way of learning since the industrial revolution. Knowledge was given from instructors, learners had to memorize facts so they could be recalled quickly when needed. Now we can create LMS to capture multiple styles of learning and connect with people, experts & students, from all over the world. We can connect and learn any time that we want! It is not so important that we memorize facts, but rather that we can access the information in our network. Ultimately Students can control their learning in a way that was either not possible or very difficult before.
Being at the start of anything new is tricky. We are still at what Simon Sinek calls the “early adapter” stage of online learning. Thus we are responsible for showing the advantages of using LMS and need to be mentors for those who wish to try eLearning. Funding, time for training can be a problem. One solution is to connect with a group of like-minded instructors. I have found my group through the OLTD program at Vancouver Island University. Interestingly, by experiencing this community I am learning ways to promote community in my own classroom. Promoting community can be difficult in adult education as there is not continuity of classes, each is on their own path. I have the same problem with the LMS I use. Every semester I have to reteach it. There are many who come to my class who have not used computers to any capacity before.
Although there are challenges, I believe it is ultimately worth perusing online education. Eventually I think we will get to the point where we can’t conceive of NOT having a digital component to the classroom.

References:

E-learning 2.0 By Stephen Downes / October 2005 in E-learning magazine
How great leaders inspire action. TED talks. Simon Sinek

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