EdTechPost: E-Learning and Sustainability – Report by Graham Attwell


I am kind of surprised this hadn’t been posted on yet as it makes such extensive reference to ideas being promoted in ed tech blogs, but I couldn’t see any references so far. This report by Graham Attwell ‘commissioned by the University of Bremen as part of its contribution to The European Commission Socrates supported Lefo Learning folders project’ could well be considered a survey of most of the discussions I have seen unfolding both in ed tech blogs and other forums for the past 2 years, but wrapped in the context of ‘sustainability.’ Some of it won’t seem that new to those already immersed in the discussion, but taken as a whole it seems a valueable report and a bit of a summation of a seemingly widespread call to shift directions in the elearning world. – SWL”

(Via EdTechPost.)

eLearning Predictions for 2005

eLearn Magazine: Lisa Neal: “Where will e-learning take us in 2005? How will learning be impacted by the use of portable devices, blogs, and search engines? Will we better understand and have metrics for quality e-learning?”
Predictions include:

  • Deconstruction of the course with students selecting modules
  • increased use of open source, blogs and wikis
  • more widespread adoption of learning objects

A Typology of Virtual Communities: A Multi-Disciplinary Foundation for Future Research

From the Journal of Computer Mediated Communication: A Typology of Virtual Communities: A Multi-Disciplinary Foundation for Future Research

Abstract: Despite the growing popularity of virtual communities, there is no consensus among researchers regarding the appropriate definition or types of virtual communities. In this paper, a virtual community is defined as an aggregation of individuals or business partners who interact around a shared interest, where the interaction is at least partially supported and/or mediated by technology and guided by some protocols or norms. The central objective of developing this typology was to develop a classification system that would be useful to researchers from various disciplinary perspectives such that the classification system might be used as a foundation for theory construction. The proposed typology serves its intended purposes and is evaluated against criteria put forth by Hunt (1991). The proposed typology uses establishment type and relationship orientation as the key categorization variables, reconciling problems posed by other researchers who attempt to use attributes as categorization variables. It is simple, pragmatic for practitioners and useful for researchers seeking to develop an understanding of the virtual community phenomenon.

Beyond the LMS

From Parkin’s Lot: E-Learning Adventures Beyond the LMS

Initially, we failed to appreciate that the internet is a vehicle for connecting people with each other, and instead pursued a “learning supply chain” concept that had more in common with the 1970’s music industry than it did with 21st century e-business. We pursued systems that imposed bureaucratic control instead of learner empowerment. In a world hurtling toward distributed internetworking, e-learning was still based on a library-like central-repository concept.

Is it time to start thinking about different approaches to our courses?

Learning Management Systems: The wrong place to start elearning

From: elearnspace. Learning Management Systems: The wrong place to start elearning
In developing e-learning there is a temptation to start with the technology and let what it provides drive the design of courses and programs. Educationally it would be better to begin by considering the learners and what is to be learned and then select or design technological systems to support learning. George Siemens makes some strong comments along those lines:

The issue is not that an LMS is not needed for learning (though that point in itself could be argued). The real issue is that LMS vendors are attempting to position their tools as the center-point for elearning – removing control from the system’s end-users: instructors and learners.


Large, centralized, mono-culture tools limit options. Diversity in tools and choices are vital to learners and learning ecology. Over the last several years, I’ve encountered many instances where an instructor was not able to achieve what she/he wanted with course design due to the limitations of WebCT. In essence, the LMS determines what an instructor could do. It should be the other way around – instructor needs first, tool selection second.

Categories of eLearning

eLearning Categories
I picked this up from Albert Ip’s blog at Random Walk in e-Learning

One of the biggest challenges in discussing elearning arises from different understandings of the field. Most often, we attach our experiences and career to our conversations, presenting an image of elearning that reflects what we have encountered. For an instructional designer, elearning often means courses or learning materials directed at meeting an objective within the larger scope of program development. A corporate trainer may view elearning as a combination of courses and knowledge management. No one perspective is symbolic of the whole industry.