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The ASAE online e-learning conference is underway and Elliot Masie, among others, is offering up his thoughts on e-learning trends as part of the content. I have not yet viewed Masie’s presentation, but thought I throw in my own two cents before doing so. I’m calling these projections rather than predictions or trends because they project my own biases and beliefs as much as anything else.
- Forward thinking associations will discover the open educational resource (OER) movement and engage. I’ve written about it briefly here and will write more soon. Associations generally represent large communities of subject matter experts in a given field. It seems inevitable that members will generate content that is valuable for sharing for educational purposes. Associations need to facilitate this process.
- Which leads to the second point, forward thinking associations will start acting more like networks than groups in how they think about education (and, for that matter, other services). This is a reference to Stephen Downes’ views on how groups think (unity, coherence, focus of voice) as opposed to how networks think (diversity, openness, interaction). (See, for instance, Downes’ E-learning 2.0 in Development presentation or the brief exchange here). It also brings to mind Fisher’s conception of teacher as network administrator and Siemens idea of teacher as curator.
- All of which suggests that the role of the learner is also changing and the importance of personal learning environments (PLE) will increase. I see a significant number of health and medical-oriented associations (with Medbiquitous in a leadership role) focused on personal portfolio management. This is a natural in the association world, and it will significantly impact the role of traditional learning management systems (LMS).
- Also related to the move to (OER) and network thinking, the role of collaboration in association educational initiatives will increase (though I certainly don’t expect this to happen overnight). A while back Dave Sabol pointed out the RxWiki initiative that grew out of a collaboration among the National Community Pharmacists Association, the American Pharmacists Association, and the National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations. Take a look. There are intimations of the future here.
- Aside from demonstrating collaboration, the RxWiki initiative also offers an example of associations leveraging their expertise—and more specifically, their members’ expertise to educate the broader public. Call it public education, consumer education, or whatever you like, but I think more of this is coming. I offer this last one as a “half” projection however, as I realize that this sort of broader educational focus may not be a fit for all types of associations.
Inspired or insane? Let me know your thoughts. Now I’ll go see what Elliot Masie has to say.
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Jeff – Your projections make a lot of sense, but according to a colleague who attended Masie’s conference said she heard a lot of talk at that conference about these avenues of exploration, but not many organizations were actually using them to provide education, training, networking or related services.
It seems to me we still have a lot of ground to cover in association learning before we’ll be ready for some of the opportunities out there, at least based on my impressions of the eLearning Conference issues and challenges (see my blog entry at: http://alearning.wordpress.com/2007/11/03/view-from-the-outside-in/). For example, since it costs real money to rent space and accomplish the programming needed to create a training space (much less the content) in Second Life, my projection is that it will take us in associations some time to get there.
Jeff Cobb says
Ellen–Thanks for the comment and for the ASAE follow up posting on your blog. I agree these projections won’t come about over night. “In our lifetime” might be a better–and even then, optimistic– measuring stick. To be clear though, other than perhaps the item about PLEs, I’m more concerned about mindsets here than about specific technologies or platforms such as Second Life. (And even PLEs, to me, are more about mindset than platform.) To the extent that some of the points above are relevant to the corporate community, the mindset challenge certainly exists there as well. (If OER was even mentioned at Masie’s conference, however, I will take that as a encouraging sign!) –Jeff