#CCK11 On e-learning, research and PLE

My response to Tony’s post on e-learning and its challenges.

My comments in italics

Hi Tony and others,

I have posted here on suggested Assumptions Theory.
Here I would like to share my views:
1.The development of a clear and coherent conceptual framework for e-learning research is hampered by the multitude of different terms that are used to describe the use of digital technologies to support teaching and learning.

If learning disregards the dynamic nature of interaction amongst learners, facilitators and artefacts, then surely a coherent conceptual framework is enough for e-learning.  Is that assumption based on a static e-learning model?

2.It is naïve and unrealistic to assume that the use of e-learning, however it is defined, in and of itself will transform students into autonomous and self-directed learners.

Can we expect the use of e-learning alone could transform students into autonomous and self-directed learners?  What assumptions have the authors made in assuming this to be the case?  Are there any one who could make such a promise?  Even with the classroom learning, there hasn’t been any transformation occurring in learning.

3.There are substantial gaps in e-learning research, particularly at the institutional and system-wide level.

There are always gaps in e-learning research.  Again another great assumption.  But what sort of research is required?

4. Both e-learning research and practice face inherent challenges. We need to fully understand the benefits and limitations of implementing e-learning, in relation to costs and learning effectiveness, and the potential impact on access and the ability to improve or worsen the digital divide.

We assumed that if we know all the costs and benefits, then we could fully implement e-learning.  This is a very difficult to achieve goal.  Why?  There are so many assumptions here, and back to (1), that we may be convinced by the self-fulfilling prophecy – that PLE is not working, that e-learning is too expensive, and that we need to invest on teacher training, that may be too costly.  And so we just wait for another decades for PLE and e-learning to be used in institution, based on those assumptions.

We need to consider the risk management approach towards all these. Do we?Thanks Tony for the sharing.


Postscript on this paper:

The benefits of using technologies should be considered in relation to their cost or added value. If they provide a distinct added value in various learning/teaching practices, their implementation might be justified, even if they are more expensive as compared to existing technologies and practices but if the findings of studies point to a “zero sum effect” compared to traditional practices, then their applications are justified only if they provide economies-of-scale. Very few studies exist currently on the costs of applying the new technologies. Technologies should not be implemented by any means just because they are considered to be innovative in nature. They should be implemented only if they prove to be better or cheaper.

What are the assumptions here in education and learning with the use of technologies?  Should technologies be implemented only if they prove to be better or cheaper?  What is the purpose of education?

How about the values of using technology in the promotion of values of education in learning with and through communities and networks?  How about the values of discourse on open education, PLE, and the use of technology in formal and informal learning with technologies in social networks, K-12, HE?  Are these values “measurable”?