The 'H' in eLearning

Imagen de Donal Thompson

It's going to come in a like a wrecking ball but we are too busy money grubbing to see it. Some online institutions think that pointing a video camera at a teacher is enough. If they can schedule an Adobe Connect synchronous class, they think that they are in the vanguard of some technological revolution. It doesn't matter if there are so many attendees that questions and detailed answers are impossible. It doesn't matter that the quality of the teaching is lamentable or that the students can jump around the material like deranged rabbits with no real follow-up or guidance, with no real checks and balances built into the learning process.

These things don't matter because they are after-sales issues. Getting the cash register to ka-ching is the be all and end all. Marketers know more about what is happening than teaching staff in some online organisations. Some organisations market to people's wallets with little care about the experience of the student or the genuine learning outcome.This creates a bubble and a false economy. Further down the road this will lead to disappointment and institutional reputations will suffer. Online education will have been brought into disrepute, jobs will be lost and certifications devalued..We need to put the 'h' into distance learning and eLearning. 'H' for human. We are blinded by, often poorly applied, science and forget that we are working with flesh and blood people. The relationship between the teachers and students should be scaled to a human dimension and not suffocated in overcrowded online classrooms just because we can.

Decision makers should also put an 'h' into management. 'H' for hearing. And to do that, you need to listen. Perhaps those, like myself, who have been educating online for over a decade might have something of value to say to the Johnny-Come-Latelys.

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