e-Learning 2.0 with Stephen Downes (IIL07)

Stephen is addressing the conference with his opening keynote this morning. I’m sitting way back in the audience of about 500 people:


This conference is an excellent mix of presenters, vendors and participants. I’ve found the level of conversation more in-depth than larger conferences I’ve attended. Stephen has set up a back channel with an ad hoc chat he’s set up on his web site. We’re starting to get several comments coming up on the dual screens. I think that the back channel is very new to many in the audience and there’s some confusion with multiple sensory inputs. Of course, it’s normal for anyone doing collaborative learning on the web.

Life in Beta and learning as flow, are my own recurring themes here. Stephen is talking about connectivism and network learning (as well as unworkshops, unconferences, messiness, etc.). Good themes to launch this conference.

3 Responses to “e-Learning 2.0 with Stephen Downes (IIL07)”

  1. Christine Martell

    Nice to meet you at the opening reception.

    As to the back channel at Stephens presentation, I was surprised at how many people seemed to feel the need to broadcast things that didn’t add to the conversation.

    I think it also would have been interesting if the comments just went to Stephen.

    Did the back channel add any value for you?

  2. Harold

    Remember when people first got an e-mail account and they sent jokes to everyone they knew? I found the comments today were like kids playing with a new toy. In time, people will settle down with a new technology. Most online fora have a “bit” more serious back channel because everyone is used to it.

  3. IIL07FirstTimer

    The back channel actually deceased the value of the talk, people were either trying to outdue previous comments or try to read them and stopped listening to the presentaiton. Harold, your comment counteracts a key concept of learning,people can’t read and listen at the same time, they have to make a choice. Maybe people are used to it (like multitasking) but the effectiveness in which they do multiple things is very poor. Did you notice the difference during the final key note given by jay cross…simply asking users to login caused the comments to cease (with one exception) So while the new toy concept may hold true, people like to be anonymous more than they lead on and it really showed that the back-channel concept had zero value. And this is a human thing, it has nothing to do with learning…prepare a class to go along the same lines and it’s effectiveness will be zero. Not great when people pay 16-30k for an hour of custom elearning content creation. No ROI, means no repeat business..
    On a larger note, the presenters tried to be TOO cutting edge and ended up alienating a large chunk of participats. While Jay may have blogged that 99% received value, I would argue that by the time that question was asked the audience was 1/2 so really, less than 50% of the users thought they got their money’s worth, or stayed long enough to voice an opinion either way..


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