Nobody believes more than I do in the idea of delivering "Teacher-Designed" information content, in a top-down way for the benefit of learners. This Mahara View page is, in essence trying to do just that. I am conveying information to you, I am expecting you to read it and process it and I expect you will. BUT.... any good learning psychologists will tell you that "presenting content" to someone is not enough.
Instead, in order for you to make this knowledge "yours" you will need to process it in some way. Learning is not a "jug and mug" process, rather it is an active process of identifying and self-activating the knowledge and skills YOU know you need and want to develop.
We can encourage lots more learning to take place if:
- We present learning to people "just-in-time" i.e. AT THE PRECISE MOMENT in which they actually want to learn it and also
- The learner gets to APPLY what they learn to their OWN practical working contexts.
For these very two reasons, Work-Based Vocational Learning is, I believe, a better option than college-based vocational learning.
Well-delivered WBL can get people to apply their learning to their REAL situations. The WBL model is a REAL process for the delivery and assessment of real CONTEXTUALISED learning.
It might be unwise for a WBL Training Provider to invest too much time, money and energy into professionally produced content for a Virtual Learning Environment. Depersonalised, pre-prepared learning objects - no matter how flashy and beautiful they are - can actually be quite ineffective as stand-alone learning tools.
- People prefer to communicate with other people rather than simply communicate with the machines themselves..... BUT we can now communicate through the machine!!
- It is expensive to produce knowledge presentation materials and these materials can too quickly "date" and lose their relevance. Instead, we can have a real-life trainer take their real-life learners through online group work and pair work activities - activities which lead them towards actual learning objectives.
The wisest approach for a WBL provider to deliver distance e-learning content is to train up some of your in-house training "experts" to socially interact with your learners online ....in order to help the individual learners get better at what they actually have to do in their own working context.
Nobody is saying that an e-learning course can be delivered without some structure and without some "presentation" of information - but if you want your learners to keep coming back - and if you want new learners to come from other locations further afield... your organisation will start to need to offer learners "The (Wo)Man in the Machine" - and not just offer them the Machine.
Using your Managed Learning Environments as media for Socially Constructed, e-moderated learning experiences is a way for a training provider to engage real work-based learning experiences while spending less money on oil.