Chief Scientist: ‘E-Learning is Dead’

In a keynote address to an International Policy Forum on the Internet and Society at Oxford University this evening, KMi Chief Scientist Marc Eisenstadt proclaimed E-Learning to be a “quaint term we won&#39t be using when we reconvene this meeting in a few years”. In a presentation of “what works”, “what fails”, and “what&#39s next”, as part of the themed evening on The Next Level in E-Learning, Prof Eisenstadt listed E-Learning itself as a prominent item in the “fails” column.

The speech, equally dismissive of “Learning Management Systems”, “Learning Objects”, “Virtual Learning Environments”, and meta-tagging standards such as IMS, was nevertheless up-beat and forward-looking in terms of the possibilities for integrating new technologies into creative learning experiences. Items in the “what works” column included star teachers, social networking, simulations, peer-to-peer networks, certain “banned” games, and tasks that engendered creativity and content ownership directly in learners — including numerous examples cited from KMi&#39s own long experience in this arena.

The greatest challenges, argued Eisenstadt, were to “attain results at large scale, maintain a degree of warmth and humanity that is often lost in digital media, and ensure the buy-in of the highly over-stretched teaching workforce.” The Open University itself was cited as an acknowledged success in getting all these ingredients right, and a potentially valuable model for how to proceed.

The presentation kicked off an evening and next-day brainstorming session, attended by thirty leaders and practitioners in teaching, education, industry, and government, representing various e-learning perspectives.

Full details of the event, and position papers from the attendees, will be made available by the Oxford Internet Institute.

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