Friday, September 21, 2007

E-Learning Mythbusters #1

I'm putting together a presentation titled "e-Learning Myth-busters." The goal is to explore and explode a dozen or more myths about e-Learning.

Here is an example: "E-Learning is anytime, anywhere learning."

Here's one quote: "AAL – Potentially the single most significant educational initiative in decades"

No hype there. It's also nice that it has an acronym: AAL, although some people call it anyone, anytime, anywhere learning which must be AAAL.

Busting the myth: it's a nice catch phrase, but it really isn't true when you consider the individual student experience. If you work 45 hours per week, have two kids, and all the other normal demands on your time and attention - you can't just engage in your learning anytime and anywhere. You may have a 3-hour window on Friday nights (oops, the library with their wireless access is closed? - so much for anywhere) and another large window on Sunday afternoons when your spouse is watching football. If that is the case, then the most essential aspect of your e-learning experience is flexibility.

I've seen far too many faculty who say that they are being flexible by having a four-hour window of opportunity for students to take an online exam (or other assessment). You can take that exam ANYTIME you want between 4:00 & 8:00 PM on Thursday. That is definitely not anytime, anywhere to the student who works at her second job on Thursday nights. Finding the right mix of allowing time flexibility and giving a time line to keep students on task is a difficult balancing act. I've seen more examples of a rigid time line for an online course than I have of great time flexibility.

Update: looks like this topic has been debated quite a bit already. I don't particularly have much to add to all of that. Maybe I'll just reference their work in the keynote.

CC photo credit: advisorymatters

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