ACM Logo  An ACM Publication  |  CONTRIBUTE  |  FOLLOW    

Is it live or is it Memorex?

By Lisa Neal, Saul Carliner / September 2005

TYPE: OPINION
Print Email
Comments Instapaper

One of the most touted benefits of synchronous learning technologies is the convenience of joining a "live" online session regardless of where participants are located. That a session can be archived for replay is stated as another distinct advantage of these technologies. Recorded seminars are now hyped as if they deliver the same experience as the live sessions---or, in some cases better, since they can be viewed at any time.

While live sessions may be viewed as less convenient, we believe they deliver significant benefits not found in recorded sessions.

Live sessions are compelling in three ways. First is that a live speaker is far more engaging---the inevitable "ums," "ahs," and pauses notwithstanding. A recorded session can be edited to remove flaws, but a live session offers authenticity. Second is that other people have joined the session and generally participants can see who else is there. Finally, participants can interact with the presenter and with each other. Even though many people don't avail themselves of this opportunity, the fact that the possibility exists shapes the learning experience.

Authenticity, presence, and interaction are not often touted as pedagogically necessary for learning and retention. However, with technology-mediated learning, these attributes, individually or collectively, often make the difference between a learner who is engaged and one who is half-listening while doing something else.

Visiting a museum to see original artwork is less convenient than viewing a reproduction, but the experience of being in a gallery with others viewing an authentic work of art is compelling and memorable in its own way. A play or concert may be improvised or flawed in contrast to a movie or audio recording, but the authenticity can make these uniquely potent experiences stay with an audience for years. A textbook can impart clear and concise wisdom, but the lack of engagement is what drives people to take courses with professors who can discuss and illuminate course readings.

This reminds us of the old advertisement for audio tape which asked: Is it live or is it Memorex? As regards online learning, it doesn't really matter whether Ella Fitzgerald's recorded voice can break a glass like the real thing. What is important are the conditions under which people learn best and retain the most.



Comments

  • There are no comments at this time.

ADDITIONAL READING

    Saul Carliner
  1. Designing and developing e-learning projects
  2. Long Live Instructor-Led Learning
  3. Lisa Neal
  4. "Deep" thoughts
  5. 5 questions... for Richard E. Mayer
  6. Designing usable, self-paced e-learning courses
  7. Want better courses?
  8. Just "DO IT"
  9. Five questions...
  10. Formative evaluation
  11. Senior service
  12. Blogging to learn and learning to blog
  13. My life as a Wikipedian
  14. Five questions...for Elliott Masie
  15. The stripper and the bogus online degree
  16. Five questions...for Lynn Johnston
  17. Five questions...for Tom Carey
  18. Not all the world's a stage
  19. Five questions...for Karl M. Kapp
  20. Five questions...for Larry Prusack
  21. Five questions...for Seb Schmoller
  22. Do distance and location matter in e-learning?
  23. Why do our K-12 schools remain technology-free?
  24. Music lessons
  25. Learn to apologize for fun and profit
  26. Of web hits and Britney Spears
  27. Advertising or education?
  28. Five questions…for Matt DuPlessie
  29. Back to the future
  30. Serious games for serious topics
  31. Five (or six) questions...for Irene McAra-McWilliam
  32. Learner on the Orient Express
  33. Predictions For 2003
  34. "Spot Learning"
  35. Q&A with Saul Carliner
  36. When will e-learning reach a tipping point?
  37. Online learning and fun
  38. In search of simplicity
  39. eLearning and fun
  40. Everything in moderation
  41. The basics of e-learning
  42. The Value of Voice
  43. Predictions for 2006
  44. Five Questions...for Christopher Dede
  45. Five Questions... for John Seely Brown
  46. Five questions...for Shigeru Miyagawi
  47. Degrees by mail
  48. Predictions for 2004
  49. How to get students to show up and learn
  50. Q&A
  51. Blended conferences
  52. Predictions for 2002
  53. Learning from e-learning
  54. Storytelling at a distance
  55. Q&A with Don Norman
  56. Talk to me
  57. Q&A with Diana Laurillard
  58. Do it yourself