Friday, May 18, 2007

Modern means of learning dominate - I'm not convinced

I was reading an article in People Management recently from a HR columnist entitled “Don’t rule out chalk and talk learning methods in favour of flexible approaches”. The article basically argued that due to the growth in remote home and mobile working, e-learning was now seen as the “modern means of learning” and we should not forget the importance of face to face learning. In the first few weeks outside of a corporate learning department the thing that strikes me is that this could not be more further from the truth.

The pace of change in society and in technology is incredibly rapid and with this the way how individuals learn is constantly evolving. E-learning though still seems to be a form of "black magic" for many learning professionals and they seem to view it with anything from mystical wonder to outright contempt. They seem too blinkered to recognise the benefits it offers in terms of flexibility and accessibility and the fact that for some learners they may even prefer it to face to face learning (Oh No!). Don’t get me wrong there are many organisations that are well down the road of utilising technology to help their people learn but these still seem to be in the minority.

It disappoints me to see so few learning professionals grasping the opportunities available to them, especially when you consider that learning is a process driven by the need to continually develop. When you look at last year’s National Training Award winners how many use technology? – I’d estimate it to be less than 20%. Face to face learning is incredibly important but to rely on it as the dominant choice in all circumstances is misguided, just as doing the same with e-learning is.


KH@SyberWorks said...

I completely agree with you Adrian. We are living in a time where educators are torn between the traditional methods and e-Learning. I feel even as e-Learning evolves, face to face education will always be apparent to some extent. The problem is that those who are reluctant to change are not giving a chance to a growing movement. Here at SyberWorks we offer a whole page dedicated to e-Learning. Under the Syberworks Learning Management System page there is a vast amount of infomation including current success stories with using e-Learning strategies and components. It is only beneficial to those who are reluctant to change to take a look at these real life success stories and see how effective e-Learning really is. Because like they say "knowledge is power" and learning about such a powerful movement such as e-Learning is a must.

Donald Clark said...

What genius! A revelation! Chalk and talk are here to stay. Do we really have pople like this in charge of HR these days? It makes me want to turn into a training terrorist.

The bottom line is that these magazines just recycle old stories, telling people what they want to hear. We had dozens of these magazines in the company I ran and had to regularly dump them, still in their plastic wrappers. Don't believe a word about their circulation, most lie around unread.

Quintus Joubert said...

I don't think it has to be an either or situation at all. I would agree that "Face to face learning is incredibly important but to rely on it as the dominant choice in all circumstances is misguided, just as doing the same with e-learning is."

Do you any stats to back your statement regarding the low adoption of eLearning solutions? Although I agree with you that some corporate training departments are still skeptical and view eLearning with "anything from mystical wonder to outright contempt", I don't think these views reflect the norm.

The eLearning industry is extremely diverse and the standards of eLearning products vary immensely. Therefore, I would recommend a certain air of skepticism from the side of eLearning customers. I think eLearning vendors should assume the role of educators and demystify how their solutions can solve specific business needs.

Looking forward to your comments.

Quintus Joubert
Cyber Media Creations

Scott said...

It needs to be a mix - if nothing else we all have different learning styles and there is a significant relationship between emotional state and learning. I've yet to hug my laptop - although I have to say I have come close!