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Learning Bytes A newapproach for workplace eLearning By Eric Mowbray
eLearning and Digital Cultures • University of Edinburgh MOOC • This edcmooc digital artefact: – Describes an original, innovative and practical idea (“learning bytes”) for eLearning in the workplace – References themes explored in the edcmooc – Tests the concept against the themes
New concept for eLearning Replace a traditional, structured, beginning-to-end course in the workplace:Intro Topic 1 Topic 2 Topic 3 Topic 4 Assessment With a collection of learning objects: Can be “pushed” to learners via PC or mobile device so they can be accessed at any time and receive the material in bite-sized chunks.
What is a Learning Byte? Object Deeply interrogates the Question learner’s understanding Content• The learning object can be a question or quiz with supporting content available to be provided only if the learner fails to pass the question.• Can use video or audio to achieve Hersh’s “Human Presence Learning Environment”1
ExampleTo be used for new supermarket checkout staff: Question Match the name with the photo: mangosteen rambutan custard apple feijoa• If the staff member gets this wrong, they must complete the tropical fruit topic
The sequence of objects The period and regularity of sending out objects can be configured – for example, staff could be sent an object per week or per month.
Utopia?Suits today’s learning style :• staccato blasts of information - phone, texts, emails, chats, tweets vie for attention• learners are jaded by traditional elearning courses• have a significant capacity for processing multiple, non-contextualised streams• mobility• people are time-poor and impatient• digital natives and immigrants2
Dystopia - Master or slave?• Could our way of thinking change?• Perhaps we will weaken our ability to absorb larger amounts of material?• Responsibility for initiating the training is delegated to the technology• But the learner still chooses when to learn• Are we giving too much responsibility to technology?• Is the machine the master?• Are we the slave?“We shape our tools and then our tools shape us” Marshall McLuhan4
Traditional eLearning model • Course structure in modules with multiple topics; • Objectives are stated followed by content, learning activities, “check-your-knowledge” checks, a summary and finally assessment; • Within a learning management system, it is accessible, trackable, uses rich media, deployable with ease; • However, now considered too long, too boring, not flexible, not adaptable.
The future of eLearning• Is it time to re-consider the conventional linear teacher -> student structure of a training course?• New technology has created new opportunities• But it has also lead to new ways of thinking• Using online social interaction to increase and enhance engagement, comfort and, eventually, retention5• What will eLearning look like in the future?