UOC organised a face-to-face and online research seminar on The future of e-learning on 16 September 2016, presented by Dr Terry Anderson. These are my notes from the seminar:
Part A: Future of eLearning
- There are many predictions of the future of elearning, but we wanted to look at the implications for future learning.
- Definition: E-learning is a combination of methods, structures and networked electronic tools orchestrated into systems that bring about, or are intended to bring about, learning.
- E-learning will be in ascendancy in the next decade.
- For traditional universities moving into e-learning, most of the takers are current students, not distance students.
- There is growth in investments in elearning.
- Number of MOOCs have kept increasing, and more are being offered as self-paced.
- eLearning is not only institutional, almost everything online is an opportunity for learning, either deliberately (Wikipedia, Youtube) or as a side-effect (email, Facebook).
- Online, almost everyone can be a teacher and a learner.
Reviewing the Edinburgh Scenarios
The Edinburgh Scenarios (Bell & Stewart, 2004)
- Virtually vanilla – move online, but institutions and pedagogies do not change. Examples: blended learning, LMS, recorded lectures, MOOCs.
- Back to the future – rejection of elearning, and return to face-to-face. Examples: ban of mobile devices.
- Web of confidence – expand and enhance opportunities for formal and informal learning. Examples: Wikipedia, Learning analytics
- U Choose – move beyond schools and universities, focus on own learning. Examples: DIY learning, makerspaces, Youtube, open badges.
Part B: Generations of Distance Education Pedagogy
Three Generations of Distance Education
- Cognitive-behaviourial (instructivist)
- Social constructivist
The Fourth Generation of Distance Education
- Learning analytics – traces of learning activity to help teachers and students
- Collective technologies – the crowd e.g. social media
- Artificial intelligence – mimic aspects of human learning
- Disaggregated tools – move away from LMS to multiple tools
- Mobility and device diversity
- Internet of Things
- Virtual and augmented reality – mobile apps
- 3D printing
Elements and characteristics of the next generation
- Focussed heavily on the individual learning
- Distributed: technically, socially and organisationally
- Crowd-driven and emergent
- Integrated, just-in-time and authentic
- Courses will play a less significant role
- Learning will be divorced from accreditation
Threats from the Future
- Open vs closed – open access, OERs
- Loss of mind, the loss of soul – affected by technologies
- Lack of adoption by formal education
- Challenging times for open universities – focus on research on teaching and learning within disciplines, not disciplinary research
- The future will be something like the past – low adoption rates by instructional education
- Adjacent possibilities of new ideas and technologies always bring unanticipated and emergent opportunities and challenges
- However, institutions may provide the stability necessary for human scale adaptation to technology induced hyper-change