Future Learning – Some Questions

George Siemens in his post The Future of Institution in a Digital Age   cited Future of Learning.  I found the paper a very interesting read.  There are a lot of educational ideals there.

“We advocate institutional change because we believe our current formal educational institutions are not taking enough advantage of the modes of digital and participatory learning available to students today”

Participatory learning, collaborative learning, interactive technologies all sound familiar.  They are happening right now, not the future.

How far will formal institutions recognise all these?

What are changes in the infrastructure – from CEO/Directors to teachers and staff required to transform education?

Would the critical questions be – Why would we change? What changes are necessary? Who decides the changes?  How are these changes achieved?  Would these changes be transformational?

In most institutions, are these decided by the vision and mission statements, by the CEO?  So, what are the implications? What are the tensions amongst all stakeholders, communities, networks, education providers and educators?  What are the impacts of these on learners?

1. Which is the top agenda in an educational institution? The vision and mission statement or learning?
2. How about the financial aspects – return on investments, budgets and resources allocation? (especially the private providers and the public universities) which are highly supported by the governments – user choice concept.
3. How would informal learning (like what we are having in social networking) be “counted” and appreciated by formal structure especially in such complex online environment? Would all institutions be viewing time spent outside “work” be of equal value to “on the job”?
4. What would be the emphasis in higher education? Research? Teaching? Learning? Social Networking? Second Life? ….. How would “learning” be evaluated from such perspectives? 
5. What are the roles of educators? This important point has not been addressed in the report…. Self learning is great…so where would the educators go?  What support would be offered to educators?

 6. How would we resolve the tensions between private and public providers- the competition for learners, for resources, for government support?
7. How about the accreditation of courses, curriculum? ISO and Quality Training Frameworks and compliance audits?  How could one assure quality in learning?  What approaches should be used?  What changes are necessary to support the 21st century  literacies and skills ?
8. Remember the Quality journey.. how would we ensure a quality learning and education – to meet and exceed the stakeholders and learners needs and expectations?
9. How about the equity issues, the access to technology, the digital divide (just touching the surface) and the language, cultural barriers that exist locally, nationally, and internationally?
10. Have the report (writers) made many assumptions that sound to reflect reality?

If they were to interview any CEO or principals in an education institution, they would have found out most of what I have asked above, and that is not as simple as the report sounds.   Wouldn’t it?