Elliott Masie spoke via video-conference to the LearnNB – CSTD gathering in Fredericton yesterday. There was not much new for anyone who is closely following the learning field, but that’s not Elliott’s audience anyway. I see Elliott as someone who is there just as new methods and technologies cross the chasm, explaining them for the majority, not the innovators. Here are some of the points that I noted from his presentation on extreme learning:
- Velocity is increasing in the learning field. This means that production (such as e-learning development) has to get quicker as the pace of technology, business and cultural change increase due to our interconnectivity.
- Personalisation is being demanded for just-in-time learning (even staggered over time instead of a one-time intervention) that is aligned with learner motivation (just-for-me).
- The mobile device is becoming the learning platform of choice, especially outside of North America.
- Content is becoming democratised, as evidenced by the growth of blogs and wikis.
Being absorbed in this field, you sometimes forget that not everyone is a blogger or uses wikis for collaborative work and learning. Listening to Elliott is a good indicator of where customers/clients/users are in terms of willingness to try something new. I enjoyed Elliott’s anecdotes the most, as he’s a great storyteller.
Two other points that he made, which are not new but worth repeating, are that we need to create “sandboxes” for people to experiment and fail in a safe environment and that “War Games” can be good practice environments for the real world. Few work environments seem to have sandboxes to fool around with. At Mancomm, we have always created a sandbox (bac Ã sable) for ourselves and clients, before and during the implementation of a learning or collaboration environment. They work well, and with open source software, they’re cheap.
During my +20 years in the military I was involved in many war games, from ones inside a building with only a map, papers and a few radios to large scale operations with thousands of soldiers. A lot can learned from these “simulations”, which can be quite low-tech. We even had a popular technique called an “in-box exercise”, where you pretended to be in your office and were given an in-box of notes and memos that you had to sort and deal with. The instructors played the roles of various people whom you needed to talk to. Such an exercise could take all day but was a much better learning environment than sitting in a lecture.
The main lesson for me is that we have a lot of techniques and methodologies that can enhance learning. The trick is in matching the right one for the context.