The history of e- learning roughly started in 1960s with the first computer based training program.
While, the need for teaching through storytelling has lived for at-least 400000 years before that.
Yet today were are living the ‘virtual fever’ with virtual instructors in front of a virtual white board, delivering virtual bullet points.
So have we really gone forward or backward?
The right answer is – we’re struggling to find a balance between technology and education.
The world has always been in a race between technology and education.
Technology and education, when they’re supposed to go hand in hand, Technology raised ahead of education.
When the first printing press was invented in the 15th century, when only a small part of the society actually knew how to read.It has often happened that technology has always led to socialpain, inequality and eventually affected the state of education.
There still remains an inequality between education and technology.
We moved from an age where great learning knowledge was rare to now becoming a commodity and often free to use and yet not relevant to the future we’re trying to move into.
While technology has gotten us so far, that we can now host virtual live classes of at least 700 students split into two rooms, where the professor is teaching in one room but can also be screened at and interact with the second classroom;
And education, being the most fundamental pillar of a society and and answer to many global problems like sustainability, health, economy, etc. is only evolving far away from human connection.
We have a choice of comprehensive, scalable, mobile e-leaning applications today, but the core element that really matters in education, is people and the stories they tell.
In the words of a wise ted-talker ( in keeping with today’s technology):
“Story based learning creates empathy Empathy in turn creates personal meaning; Personal meaning and not clicking creates engagement”
We know that scenario based learning and interactions help in learning complex skills like problem solving, collaboration, unconscious bias and creativity all of which are the greatest assets of today’s workforce.
Meaning if we can get back to storytelling, we can get back to educating people and empowering them.
But the story actually doesn’t end there, because as Benjamin bloom said, “It makes no sense to expect all students to take the same amount of time to achieve the same objectives”
We’re not talking about automated algorithm’s that are but the AI’s excuse for storytelling, we are talking about the experience of living, sharing and creating stories.
The classic ice berg model of education mentions that the common lecture is just the tip of the iceberg, while the actual learning, happens behind the scenes, when student delves deeper to understand the material , encounters problem sets and addresses those learning breakdowns. That’s what constitutes the bulk of learning and that’s where we need more human stories.
We are not ready for to replace the traditional degrees with online certificate courses, but we’re definitely gearing towards collectively sharing and learning from the internet.
Students no longer need a linear format of learning and where once they encounter a learning breakdown, which not addressed in traditional learning ruins their entire learning experience.
But if the professor was able to create a detour to change this experience into adaptive learning.
when all the original dependencies have been meet, they can return to the original content and hopefully understand it better this time, that’s technology helping real education.
Providing one on one experiences and addressing the learning breakdowns more efficiently is the biggest challenge for e-learning today and click fixes aren’t the real solution.
We can only solve this through massive adaptive interactive text (MAITS). The building blocks of this system of blended learning should be laid in accordance with how a student approaches the concept, not breaking it from top-down.
I mean if we have personalisation for Netflix and Spotify, then why not for education?
Back in 1492, they said the printed books will disappear and in 2012 they asked for massive open online courses (look up MOOCS) to disappear; A new way of disseminating knowledge has always been questioned throughout history.
But probably through practice, we’d able to refine e-learning just like our textbooks. There have been examples in the western digital learning environment, of crowd funded open learning where over 200 blogposts were created even before the course started. The students connected and took education to places where the professor himself couldn’t have. They became net worked learners who defied the constraints of a physical classroom.
So the question really is not why or why not, it is how.
Written by Meghana Gondi