Thursday, October 1

elearningdebate – but what are we learning?

I spent several very fun hours at the Oxford Union last night, enjoying a (non)debate on the whether e-learning is up for the challenge of preparing learners for tomorrow.


The good and the great of e-learning were there. Entertaining arguments were put forth both for and against. It was very enjoyable, and a great brand-positioning event for the sponsors.

But the frustrating thing is that there WAS no REAL debate! Both sides seemed in total agreement that:

  • right now, there is some great e-learning, and some rubbish e-learning
  • we should all strive to make it better / more inclusive / richer / more collaborative
  • the term “e-learning” is sometimes shackled unfairly to the driest-end of the page-turning (“paper behind glass”) spectrum, when really we all know that it should embrace all digital modes and media
  • e-learning is never the sole solution for all students. But it is a growing part of the solution for many students (including some who would never have studied without it!)


So – ermmm – not too much of a debate then!


Maybe I missed something. The twitter universe seems more positive. it just felt to me that much of the argument ended up around semantics and word definitions. Both sides effectively willing us to vote for them if we wanted e-learning to get better. In the end the NOs got more votes than the AYEs, but only by all asking us all to vote on the same thing!

That said – the speakers were fantastic fun, with some great quotes, we all enjoyed it.


The saddest bit for me was that there was hardly ANY mention of mobile learning, and mobile connectivity. It seems that for most of the speakers “e-learning” is still stuck on a big-screen multimedia PC connected to the web with a high speed cable.

Doh! get with it guys!


The real benefit of Learning with Technology is all about reach. Getting to learners where they are, when they need it, on their own terms. if you can’t do that with your e-learning you are missing the best bits of the experience!


thanks again to all involved

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