ElNet Workplace E-learning Congress 2011

Last week I attended ElNet’s Workplace E-learning Congress in Sydney.

As per my tradition, I will share my 1-line takeaways with you here, and I am more than happy to discuss them further. Simply add a comment!

Please note my 1-liners don’t necessarily reflect a synopsis of each presentation. Instead, they represent something specific that I found particularly worthwhile.

ElNet 2011

Tom Kuhlman knows that learners won’t complain about a lack of interactivity if the content is relevant.

Aside: Tom’s insight reminds me of one of my earliest blog posts, Text ain’t half bad, and aligns with thoughts I’m having currently about mobile learning. Stay tuned… ;o)

Lisa Vincent – well actually, Lisa’s guest – claimed the responsible investment approach predicted something bad was going to happen to BP.

Aside: His claim reminds me of another blog post, Noise pollution, in which I argue real environmental management is in the hands of corporations and individuals, not governments.

Ruth McElhone assigns points to her students for their contributions to an internal social media platform, and they require 1000 points to pass the course.

Aside: This one surprised me because the motivation is extrinsic rather than the universally admired intrinsic. Ruth also explained that she pre-approves all the contributions for relevance and substance. I see it as a Catch 22: If you drop the points system, will anyone bother participating? If you relieve yourself of the burden of pre-approval, will superficial junk ensue?

Mark Samuels shared success stories in the corporate sector that demonstrate m-learning works if you align it to your purpose.

Aside: This one seems obvious until you consider all the time and energy that’s wasted on hot trends and buzzwords that end up going nowhere. While m-learning is not a flash in the pan, you should harness it carefully as a means of achieving your desired outcome (whatever that may be). Don’t do it just because everyone else is.

Alison Bickford demonstrated content-rich VLEs on the Confluence platform.

Aside: Alison’s VLEs are wonderful examples of Informal Learning Environments (ILEs) as per How to revamp your learning model.

Erin McCuskey recommends treating your training video like a mini Hollywood production – with character development, a storyline and emotional connection – which makes it so much more engaging.

Aside: With the advent of the Flip camera, anyone can create authentic video clips. All you need is a dash of creativity.

Clinton Smith contrasted the main varieties of e-learning in the VET sector in 2004 – self-paced learning (online courses), online distance learning and web in class – against those in 2008 – which now include live online learning (virtual classes), knowledge sharing (social networking) and virtual worlds, simulations and games.

Aside: I see a similar trend in the corporate sector in terms of increasing use of virtual classes and social platforms. Will these, coupled with Alison’s VLEs, kill the online course? Apparently not according to Clint’s comment below, or perhaps it depends on the sector…?

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6 Comments on “ElNet Workplace E-learning Congress 2011”

  1. Clint Smith Says:

    Thanks for the thoughtful probes from the ElNet Congress – really good to have wee barbs of questions to stir the juices.
    Have to say I couldn’t disagree less about online course dying. Sorry if I misled, but my whole point was that there are new varieties of e-learning which supplement the basic set – there is a bigger repertoire, so providers and organisations need to scan the options, horse for courses. Data suggest online course are doing just fine (they grew 29% in Australia in 2009, $4bill industry, according to IBISworld). They are accommodating new tools, but not disappearing. Bit of wishful thinking around the traps re the impact of the social networking revolution on structured learning :-)

  2. Ryan Tracey Says:

    Thanks for clarifying, Clint – I’ll update immediately.

  3. Hello Ryan
    Thanks so much for your Twitter stream and synopsis (I got a bit overheated/claustrophbic in the room, so I gave up my tweeting). Thank you for getting the congress key discussions ‘out there’. Thanks also for your intelligent questions and observations.
    I really value your deep thinking on the subject of technologies for learning. I think organisational learning is a unique context in many ways – different to educational institutions. Your contributions will help our org L&D colleagues develop their sophistication in technology approaches for learning (I note your Learning Solutions Magazine article). Thanks again, Alison

  4. Ryan Tracey Says:

    Thanks Alison.

    Yes, clearly the higher ed sector is in the business of “courses” whereas 70-20-10 dominates the corporate sector, so we need to think about learning a little differently.

    Please keep me posted re your doctoral thesis!

  5. Hi Ryan. I’ve been thinking about your term “Informal learning environments”. I have had trouble naming the environments being represented in my thesis. I started with Program Learning Spaces, Virtual Learning Spaces, and decided on Virtual Learning Environments as this is the usual keyword term in published literatuure. However, VLEs are associated with platforms such as Blackboard, WebCT etc. Are you okay if I adjust my thesis term in the body of the work to “Informal Virtual Learning Environments”? This makes much more sense. I appreciate the prompt you have given me. Alison

  6. Ryan Tracey Says:

    I would be honoured.

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