Sunday, 13 February 2011

Discussing true innovation in elearning

This first week's course forum discussions have had a view to moving closer to an understanding of the concept of innovation in elearning. There have been many interesting points raised and questioning of whether something is or is not innovative. This post tries to draw together a few threads from our discussions which seem to identify criteria or elements of what members of my tutor group considers to be true innovation in elearning.
  • ‘innovation’ in the context of e-learning involves a sense that something may be achieved using that technology that otherwise would not or that the outcome is materially improved using e-technology
  • one of the great benefits is the opportunity for interactivity - innovation in elearning appears not to be static and monolithic
  • innovation by definition in Wikipedia is :"the process that renews something that exists and not, as is commonly assumed, the introduction of something new."
  • it's really important that elearning innovation delivers measurable benefits
  • there is a question of whether the technology made the difference or whether having the technology facilitated the use of different methods. Innovation is the realisation of the idea, and technology could support that
  • innovations in e-learning seem to have shifted the pattern of learning from centralised class room activity to a collaborative yet de-centralised nature
  • innovation in elearning is enabling something different or materially better to occur that cannot happen using existing methods
  •  innovation can be equated with progress, improvement, and with something that is new (in either revolutionary or evolutionary ways). 
  • innovation has the potential to change things for the better, although this may not always be achieved
  • innovation does not necessarily mean something completely new, often it refers to a new use or outcome from an existing (but differently used) method or technology
Colin King found an article on technology for technology's sake, and suggested that its conclusion may be a clue as to how we should approach technology in learning. I think it's a perfect way to sum up this discussion:
"The truth of the matter is that technology is neither the problem nor the solution, it cannot be blamed for what we do with it. It is the way we actively choose to apply it that matters."
Small print:
This post draws heavily on the contributions of tutor group members to our discussion forum. However, as that is a private student-only area I have not added names to suggestions above, but have attempted to paraphrase and draw together themes on which there was agreement across participants. Full credit and references will of course be given in any course assignments.

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