Reflections from Learning Technology conference 2015: Day 1

Technology may facilitate great learning, but it’s not the end in itself. What makes great learning is simple: make it great. Understand how people learn: design the learning to match that. Work with how we learn, don’t make us learn how to use the learning. We are highly plastic and fluid in our ability to learn, but that’s no excuse to make it hard.

Learning Technologies

The best learning? Purposeful, clear, includes both knowledge frameworks and the ability to weave a story around them. Learning is about creating frames and populating them. Sometimes we populate them with external knowledge, sometimes we ‘sense make‘ what goes in them, sometimes we share our experience back to the community and help them through the same process.

But what it means to you will differ from what it means to me.

Social Collaborative Technology

We need the right mindset around the technology: it’s about experience, curation, sharing and the co-creation of meaning.

In the Social Age, the ways we learn have changed. Why? Because our ecosystem has evolved. The nature of work is not what it was: the notion of ‘career‘ is dead. Collaborative technology is everywhere our communities exist outside the organisation. The very things that used to be hard to find and complex are now simple and at our fingertips: the democratisation of technology, creativity and publishing. The rise of social authority and it’s ability to subvert formal hierarchy.

Technology facilitates all this, but doesn’t guarantee it: the thing you need most of all? Great learning design: a rigorous methodology.

I enjoy the Learning Technologies Conference: it brings together a wealth of things. Ideas, people, gadgets and systems. Many of them are great (in all four categories). The topics reflect the trends in our industry: ‘wearable‘, ‘cloud‘, ‘neuro‘, ‘game‘, ‘social‘, ‘story‘, ‘video‘, ‘mobile‘ and so on. But the answer does not lie in the individual sessions. Nor does it lie on the exhibition floor.

The solution to the challenge of how to create great learning lies in the mindset of those of us that visit, of those of us that work in this space. Because the best technology in the world will not guarantee great learning. The best story might.

It’s about agility: prototyping, creating space for experimentation, creating opportunities to fail, to practice, rehearse and learn. And that’s just for those of us designing the learning.

No one methodology, solution, supplier or team will solve the problems, will make the learning great. But one mindset will: the mindset of curiosity. The constantly questioning approach: why are we doing it this way? What can we do better?

Uninhibited curiosity

So much as i’ve enjoyed the conversations, the technologies, the insights and designs, the most important thing for me will be to see how it’s translated into change. How our practice evolves and, somehow, becomes more aligned to the real world. Because for too long, learning has lived in a bubble: abstract, stratified, divorced from notions of excellence in the real world. And that gap is closing as the walls between ‘formal‘ and ‘social‘ erode, as the walls of the office collapse.

Excellent is excellent, wherever we find it, and excellence is what we should strive for.

Learning Technology Map 2015

My map of Learning Technology in 2015

About julianstodd

Author, Artist, Researcher, and Founder of Sea Salt Learning. My work explores the context of the Social Age and the intersection of formal and social systems.
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6 Responses to Reflections from Learning Technology conference 2015: Day 1

  1. Evelyn So says:

    It is almost impossible to imagine how we used to rely on books and, gasp, microfiche, as a research tool. Ironically to learn about technology no less (my Master’s is in Human-Computer-Interaction). What I appreciate the most is how technology has allowed people to learn in the way that suit them, at the right time. A good example is our family visit to a Picasso exhibition a few years ago. During pre-museum lunch, I found a short online movie about Picasso, our kids watched it on iPad, and lo and behold the experience – their first art visit BTW – was so much more enriched. Our older son, about 8 at that time, could even tell us which period of Picasso’s work we were looking at. A far cry from the days when there was one way to learn…and likely boring for 50% of the population!

  2. Pingback: Reflections from Learning Technology conference 2015: Day 2 | Julian Stodd's Learning Blog

  3. Pingback: Reflections from Learning Technology conference...

  4. nice,i like the way u think

  5. Pingback: The Inexorable March in the Quantification of Me | Julian Stodd's Learning Blog

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