Interesting piece on the web today summarising the findings of a UK study called the Adult Learning @ Home Project, funded by the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), which concluded that ICT has not increased levels of participation in adult education.
“Efforts to lure people to new educational technologies and to promote a
culture of life-long learning resemble a case of preaching to the
converted, according to a new UK study… a new study suggests that
education in the digital age largely attracts the uusual suspects?? in
the UK, at least.”
In NZ I suspect things are a little different, where we have seen a number of initiatives specifically targettiing disadvantaged groups and those where levels of participation in education have traditionally been low ( eg. KAWM and the Porirua Computers in Homesproject) – but the warning is definitely worth noting.
We cannot simply assume that high levels of internet access and a fascination with technology will automatically lead to increased levels of educational participation. This is especially the case if all the technology does is provide access to the traditional forms of instruction and courses that our face to face institutions currently offer. Throughout our education system we need to be considering the scope and nature of what it is that we are enticing our learners with, for example…
- better levels of mentoring and support
- greater ability to transfer credits from institution to institution
- more empahsis on the design for learning, with ‘chunks’ of learning designed to fit the lifestyle and abuilities of the learners
- more exploration of ‘blended’ (or ‘blurred?”) approaches
- higher level of integration of learning (curriculum) with actual work practices
- availability and use of e-portfolios, beginning at school and building from there
Just a few thoughts that come to my mind – there are bound to be others. Seems we’re still somewhere at base one at the moment with so much effort being put into some of the more fundamental issues such as which LMS to use. While important – we mustn’t lose sight of the “bigger picture”