E-Learning And InnovationJohn MacDonald | Adjunct Instructor, Fox Valley Technical College
Learning and innovation are not new “buzz-words”, but if you are not adapting to them the challenge you will face might really push your limits. Moreover, failure to accept change will also be a struggle moving forward.
In today’s fast moving environment there is no question that we are being faced with decisions that we might not totally accept but we need to adapt and get on board. E-learning platforms takes technology and learning and combines them into a delivery process that accelerates traditional learning while reinforcing new adaptations that allows the end user the ability to have a more comprehensive but relaxed environment when doing this type of learning. This is better known as distance or on-line learning. I know what you are thinking but keep an open mind and read forward as you might be educated on a more interactive level by the end of this process. We are in a world of scheduling, process adaptation and multi-tasking that at times leaves little open social interaction and a reduction of a skill-set that we as people thrive on and need as part of our everyday lives. This is where these new platforms have been developed and expanded to better incorporate traditional brick and mortar interface with the accessibility and social integration that develops the student’s skill-sets to prepared them for their future.
What does these new application actually accomplish? First, they are globally interactive allowing for more real time chatting; Skype, virtual meeting and conferencing provide the equivalent to what we would have in our organizational daily interactions. The learning environment also uses E-Suites that log you into a new world and grabs your attention while allows the social interaction to be a part of the process. The courses are deigned to promote interactions through team building attributes, communication, conflict management, and forming team charters that everyone can utilize as a way to interact during the process. Blackboard and E-College are two of these types of platforms that incorporate everything into one location allowing this new level of interactions. There are also residencies, seminars, and international gatherings that these applications utilize that brings social interactions, networking and also the ability to meet, greet and discuss progress with your peers, faculty and others in the industry.
Like life in general, networking is something that one would do in or out of a college platform but these relationships are not based solely on work and have the ability to give you life-long friends in the industry you have chosen to be a part of. This technique is by design developed to open your eyes to talking with others and when you return you see emails, conversation and even familiar faces in your courses as you continue. This process is actually teaching social responsibility, respect, listening, communication, interaction and collaboration because of the environment that this puts you in is a secondary learning process that—until you are completed—you do not always realize the success that you have in this cycle of learning.
These innovations just does not stop here because of technology, you can access your classes from most phones, tablets, mini-computers and wherever a computer exists and this methods allows you to take a vacation but still learn, and use the experience as part of your journey in education. Learning should never stop and with technology you have the connectivity and the tools to help make your trip a success.
Can you imagine a world without computers, iPods, tablets and technology? Acceptance is the first step and if you take computer based learning or training in your work environment this is an extension of what you can do on a larger scale. You might wonder if this new degree or education will be accepted. Will I have the same employment options, promotional opportunities with distance learning? The answer like anything else is you will learn more, understand more and have more tools available to you than ever before. It then will be up to you to utilize these assets you now possess, and in this utilization you will have the ability to have success and promotional achievements based on how you use this knowledge because even in a traditional school the end-user must apply this knowledge to the real world. E-Learning and technology just accelerates and helps the person to adapt faster and utilize this learned methodology in the real world faster with more pronounced results.
Innovation is not taking anything away from us but it does allow us to work smarter and not harder. This is a concept that we have been taught since growing up. Innovation and technology gives us the ability to get more accomplished in a shorter timeframe and without loss or waste. Taking a moment to pause and look around is understandable, but in the end using the tools available will only help you and also everyone around you as progression is only limited by those who utilize it.
Author Perspective: Educator