Thursday, March 20, 2008

Designing eLearning 2.0 interventions


To be or not to be?

Do we have a choice? I mean, most of us are already avid users of Web 2.0 and the generation next has embarked upon this frontier in their teens! So, what are the learning designers waiting for? It is fatal if we don’t know eLearning 2.0, it is ominous if we are not thinking seriously about designing interventions using Web 2.0 and could be a lost opportunity if we, the leaders in Training and Education, do not come up with a ‘First Implemented Model’ to demonstrate what it can achieve.

Rest is a pseudo talk (Gupshup) in cafeteria and good meat for blog sites. All we need to do is to pick up a preferably a net savvy, eLearning friendly client and think through the design solution to create an experience that ingrains appropriate components of Web 2.0. Begin small, albeit, a ride along component to our premium solution, ‘Courses’. But, don’t stop here; follow it up with a substantial measure of how people learnt using these informal ways. Create a case study and convince some other clients how it is here to stay. We are lacking an example to showcase that Web 2.0 is here and how.

About Web 2.0 enabled learning

Transmission based learning is intensive on the power of written or spoken text, whereas communication based learning focuses on interaction, inquisitiveness, discovery and exploration. From this aspect, Web 2.0, is multi-dimensional and caters to wider learning styles. As a designer of Web 2.0 enabled learning, I’ll be careful about these issues.

Impact of Participation vis-à-vis Results and Benefits
I’ll be watchful to track if learning goes beyond the glamour and frill of mere participation. I’ll keep an eye on what one draws out of this experience. Does it help more than just an exchange of scraps, views, feelings and posts? Some thinking will go into defining a moderator role and the timely support and admin to keep the activities focused. Like a gardener, you need an experienced hand to nurse its growth, save it from pests, prune it, and provide appropriate nutrients for its healthy growth. Content and views need to be initiated, filtered, closed and deleted as required. If it is reduced merely to a venting channel, the serious users will wean away.

To derive some benefits from these interventions, I’ll pose some questions to myself. The answers will help design the expected outcomes.

  • How can a blog keep me well informed in my domain knowledge and trends in industry?
  • How can I ask for help now and here to fix a problem?
  • How does it give control to me to decide when, how and what I should learn?
  • Who will judge my actions?
  • How can some effective U-tube video show me how to do things better?
  • How can I take on some ‘Second Life’ avatars of my real life managers and customers to deal with high pressure situations?
  • Where can I quickly check the latest update on a topic, before my presentation?
  • How can I get the latest feed before I present my paper?
  • How do I greet my global customers today?

Human Face
Even with a very advanced the technology, it requires a face to authenticate a view, opinion, decision or a question. In a serious learning framework, the Designer will have to create that role. Technology coupled with an authentic interaction will compliment the learning experience, which otherwise may become a lonely planet.

Sustainable and Replicable

Web 2.0 is not a magic wand that will change the way people learn, but it surely has a potential to expedite and socialize the teaching learning process in a net savvy population. To make web 2.0 components sustainable and replicable, the designer has a great challenge to make it relevant, updated, customized and usable.

The Challenges are quite different. Think about these.

  • Design the form of Informal learning
  • Provide recognition, certification, accreditation and ROI of informal learning
  • Ownership of content in Web 2.0
  • Track the participation
  • Orchestrate various components of learning
  • Capture the expertise

Web 2.0 and Instructional Design are not mutually exclusive by any means. Both are here to stay. The challenge is with the designers and producers of eLearning by actually soiling hands to get the feel and real prowess of Web 2.0 and then convince the consumers of eLerning for paying for the benefits.

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