E-Learning is dead (already)!

When Andreas Wittke, founder of one of the major MOOC platforms in Europe, says “E-learning is dead”, you need to follow this up a bit.

His main points are:

Nowadays, e-Learnings are just a virtual image of an analogue thing- books turned into e-books. Analogous, an LMS is just a virtual image of a school with temporal and spatial barriers. More so, LMS often have very low usability as they were designed by teachers having methodology in mind, not usability. Therefore, e-Learnings and LMS do not change any structures or behaviours.

As long as E-learnings are designed to serve as virtual content in the context of the traditional image of school, they are way too expensive and ineffective.

In allen, wirklich in allen Wirtschaftsbereichen vermindert die Digitalisierung die Gesamtkosten, nur in der Bildung werden sie erhöht.

Only when digital education is detached from the current perception of schools and learning, which means detached from a closed group of enrolled students to whoever-wants-to-learn-this (upscaled and available large-area) and detached from temporal restrictions like hours or semesters, a real value will arise.

Taken together, he states that all the thousands of mini-e-learnings designed in companies and schools have a horrible cost-value ration. He might be right. I think he is.

But there’s another point in his article I do not agree. He states that the MOOCs are the first digital education baby, but still are restricted by their time limits- they have a starting and an end date. He wishes them to be available on demand. But then they aren’t MOOCs anymore! A major motivation in a MOOC is to attend a course together, although virtually, and to discuss content. To meet people, to comment, to support and to peer-review (which I still think is one of the best things in xMOOCs). I recently attended a MOOC with approx. 15-20 Persons. It was awful.

So maybe it’s just a thing of terminology. He wants to have lectures/resources ready for on demand (and possibly binge-like) learning with support from mechanical turks. This is not a bad idea. Still I am not sure if most people don’t prefer learning in a community of some kind, which will always restrict the anywhere-anytime.

And all the thousands of mini-e-learnings? In a perfect world, people would share them, allowing the generation of a huge content base that then supports this vision of self-directed independent learning.

2 comments on “E-Learning is dead (already)!

  1. Andreas Wittke

    Dear Monika, thank you for your lovely answer to my Blogpost. Your critics are absolutely right. We all don’t know, what will happen, if MOOCs will be permantly with no starting date. But this concept would be new and we have to test and evaluate it. At this point, we don’t call this on demand courses MOOCs because, there could not be massive and their need another didactic concept. In my mind, this will be more a fork https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fork_(software_development) then another MOOC concept. In the future there will be more different concepts, on demand and MOOCs and probably something for real money 😉

    Best wishes from the baltic sea

    1. mcschlatter Post author

      Dear Andreas,
      thanks so much for your comments. As a recipient of your newsletter I got aware that you are using the term MOOC less and less, which I appreciate. C. is offering some courses every 2-3 weeks and still calls them MOOCs. You have a low number of participants, very low interaction among the few participants and no interaction at all with the lecturers. I even enrolled in one “MOOC” that started with the message that for this course, the forum is closed (I immediately un-enrolled)!

      So there need to be new terms, new concepts, new offers. Money? Maybe 😉
      Greetings to the very lovely Baltic Sea!

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