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And the Survey Finds: E-Learning Hasn’t E-Volved

And the Survey Finds: E-Learning Hasn’t E-Volved

Wondering if e-learning has evolved to live up to its buzz? San Diego State University’s education technology professor, Allison Rossett did. She and a faculty member, James Marshall, asked people from academia, government agencies, and business about their current e-learning practices in mid-2009 and revealed the results of 968 respondents in the January 2010 edition of the American Society for Training and Development’s electronic magazine.

Tallying the responses gave Rossett and Marshall a look at today’s current e-learning practices, with results covering current practices, e-learning barriers, knowledge and skills testing, and the future objectives. Among their findings, were:

  • The familiar is comfortable. Scenarios, tutorials, and other commonly used instructional practices remain the most common
  • One of the most common practices involves testing of knowledge and skills while one of the least common practices involves the Web
  • Other uncommon e-learning practices include e-coaching, mobile computing, and online discussions
  • An exception to the use of Web 2.0 activities appeared with academia using it far more than other industries
  • Constraints to e-learning include price, resistance to change, concerns about technology, and a partiality for classroom training
  • Lawyers, classroom incentives, and employee learning and technical abilities as well as their resistance to technology were proved not to be the constraints that they were expected to be by the authors of the study
  • Respondents did not share a common aspiration for e-learning in the future with the top responses listing: mobile learning and support, personalized learning, performance support, employee-generated content, problem solving and knowledge construction, authentic and immersive experiences, online networks and collaboration, assessments pointing people to relevant programs, and scenario-based e-learning, and measurement for program improvement as future aspirations

The original survey was later modified and posted online so that the business community can evaluate their current and future e-learning practices. The modified survey features 26 “snapshots” and 25 e-learning barriers. Survey participants go through each scenario and chose one of several choices describing their thoughts. For example, two choices are listed for each snapshot covering current practices and the snapshot’s importance. The three choices offered for the list of potential barriers cover whether the barrier is a major or minor constraint or not a constraint at all.

The authors of the study conclude that e-learning leans on the standard, more comfortable practices of the past and hasn’t yet moved beyond the familiar scenarios, assessments, tutorials, personalization, and testing to the widely hyped but not yet widely adopted Web 2.0 practices such as blended learning, user generated content, virtual classrooms, and collaborative learning.

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