Monday, December 22, 2008

A Crisis of Problematic Expectations

How to deal with the Gen Y learners coming though our institutions continues to be a hot topic.

Tony Bates (who covers international developments in the eLearning space) links to a summary of thoughts on this topic from the Online Educa Berlin 2008 conference.

With the rise of the Internet age, a social and a cultural revolution is taking place right in front of us. But at the same time, a "crisis of significance" is occurring in our classrooms. Learners want to be active, just like they are in the world wide web. When surfing on the Internet, they filter, comment, rate, as well as create knowledge and thus take an active part in gathering information and knowledge. On the other hand, in our classrooms they are still forced into a passive role, merely consuming the information that is offered to them by others.

- Dr. Michael Wesch, Cultural Anthropologist, Kansas State University

This was labeled a "problematic expectation" in the summary.

In my mind, the only way this expectation is problematic is that it creates more work. Much easier to drift along using old materials and processes than it is to create new materials. Furthermore, it's easier on the instructor to just tell people what to think / do than it is to actually engage the student.

The fact that our current generation of students and new workers are no longer tolerating the "old ways" of doing things can do nothing but help the rest of us - as students and as instructional designers. Think about the amount of material that needs to be repurposed!!!!


Anonymous said...

Hi Wendy - I don't think it's a generational thing. I think it's a technology thing. Isn't it the people exposed to technology demanding change? The younger generation simply goes to technology first because that's what they know. The older generation (me) might go to technology first or might rely on something they know or have known. So, I show up at the Home Depot looking for a towel rack to replace one and (1) bring a pic on my cell phone or (2) actually bring the broken one. Or, I check my makeup (1) in my webcam or other digital picture (phone, camera) or (2)always use a mirror. Bad examples but I'm just trying to illustrate that it's not entirely about when you were born. Younger workers have grown up 'learning' in structured classrooms. They don't suddenly get to the workplace and say, this sucks. They have been demanding (and using) new ways to communicate in school and at work. And so have crusty old me.

I think where the training dept. can capitalize on the gen hype is in the budget. Companies are looking for ways to attract/train/retain young workers. That's where the money is to fund the change you seek. (HR)

I don't know if 2.0 creates more work for IDs. I think it probably creates discomfort with the need to change.

Wendy said...

Janet - I have my doubts about it being a generational thing too.

I have a feeling that where the "generational" piece comes in is with the number of people asking for change.

I get the feeling you, me, and the rest of the folks in the elearning space are outlyers for our own generation. Many of our peers (outside of education) would rather continue to let things ride.

Plus - you are right in that the "gen hype" is a great buzzword to get more money.

I do think that once this train gets rolling, 2.0 would ultimately create more work for IDs.

If the organization is going to change its fundamental assumptions about training, and if existing IDs are able to adapt, there will be a significant amount of material that will need to be repurposed to better fit the new models.

I'm personally seeing this demand now in my own job. Thus, lots of projects coming down the pike where they want to incorporate more technology and more sophisticated instructional practices (even games) into their current curricula.

Anonymous said...

And repurposed research. I feel your pain.

Anonymous said...

last thought...web 2.0 is a state of mind. last word verification to post was "loser" ... WTF?

Wendy said...

WTF indeed!!!!!

I only get meaningless strings of alpha-numeric messages. I don't get web-based aps calling me names!

That's just WRONG!