Towards a Pedagogy of Technology

This is the first in a series of ideas I’d like to share about how to position technology tools in the design and delivery of education.

Four claims for better learning design:

Claim 1: There is an ‘e’ in learning.  It is time for us to move beyond the 1990’s interpretation of technology-mediated learning design.  We still say ‘e-learning’ and that implies often (unfortunately, and understandably) a sub-standard and lonely learning experience – picture the poor soul subjected to hours of ‘click-and-learn’ under the buzzing fluorescent light of the after-hours office.

E-Learning t-shirt 2001

A t-shirt from 2001 from a very recognizable high-tech firm (who shall remain nameless).

Here’s a simple way of thinking about it: There is an ‘e’ in learning.  You may think it trite, but my contention is that as long as we continue to differentiate what is ‘electronic’ from whatever the rest of the learning is, we will continue to constrain our thinking and handicap our designs.  It is our opportunity, as learning designers, to prove this to the world.

Fortunately, that should be easy with more brainpower devoted to appropriately innovative (attention, here, as innovation needs to follow learner context rather than lead with shiny tech) uses of new technologies, the extensions of learning outside the classroom (as referenced in 70, 20, 10) and care in how we develop the designers in our businesses and our network of education providers to operate in these models.

This calls upon us to go beyond content production and to deeply examine the range of tools available to the learner participants, and assess their pedagogical value.

More on that later.

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