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Long Live Instructor-Led Learning

By Saul Carliner / March 2009

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  • Wed, 29 Apr 2009
    Post by Saul Carliner

    Janet, Thanks for your comments. You did not need to disclose your participation in the Schneider study, but I appreciate that you did. As far as labeling the nature of the content in a blog goes: You commented "Of course at this point I''m all like, WTF? Erroneous? Opinion? It''s a blog! It''s where I learn. Gosh, I''m not an investigative journalist." On the one hand, it''s great that you share what you learn with others. The big issue is, it''s also important to label it as readers often don''t distinguish one type of content from another. It''s typical in more traditional situations. Certainly the image of the newspaper columnists comes to mind. In the North American journalistic tradition, opinion is reserved for the opinion pages and for columnists. They''re still held to the same standards of accuracy, but are allowed to add their opinion to the content. Similarly, in traditional situations, we often indicate when people are learning. For example, when someone is a student teacher, everyone knows it. (They usually introduce the person as "The student teacher.") Most concientious retailers indicate that a worker is in training with an "I''m in Training" button or something similar. So let''s label the content for what it is. Why is this important? It''s certainly not that one source is perfect and the other is crap. Admittedly, the traditional media wants to jump all over inaccuracies in the new media. Canada''s CTV network is reporting "Swine flu allows Twitter to show its power to mislead" today. The truth be told, traditional media make their share of mistakes, too. Earlier this week, the New York Times this week reported how an investigative journalist at ABC didn''t dig far enough on sources for a 2007 story on torture. What''s different are the expectations. A moderately savvy information consumer would, at the least, have realized that the Twitter information is opinion and, as a result, tak different types of standards.

  • Wed, 29 Apr 2009
    Post by Janet Clarey

    Argh. Once again the comment publishes without the original punctuation making me look less than credible. You guys need a comment-friendly platform. Although it''s friendly to others so may it''s just me...

  • Wed, 29 Apr 2009
    Post by Janet Clarey

    Dr. Sarliner Thanks for the additional information. My initial reaction (regrettably) was a rant and I agree that the salad analogy was comical. My apologies. Perhaps I can explain a bit more about my reaction if you're up for reading any more from me. I started reading your article and right away see a statement that nearly all ASTD Learning Circuits blog contributors predicted the death of the classroom by 2019. That immediately makes me think, reallyý OK, whatever, I didn't analyze them and I brace for a criticism of bloggers. You made your case against the 'death' predictions based on (1) ASTDs State of the Industry Report, and (2) past performance indicators. You predicted an acceleration of the transfer from the face-to-face classroom to the live virtual classroom. I agree. You then went on to make your case against the assertion that formal classroom learning will be replaced by informal learning (you named blogs and social computing tools as the media) based on several informal learning flaws the Learning Circuit blog contributors missed. The first flaw you mentioned was that informal learning is sporadic (leaving people to leverage knowledge in a limited way). The second flaw is that informal learning can be inaccurate (sometimes because people read inaccurately online or because the information lacks credibility (and you specifically point to blogs). At this point I?m getting a little defensive and agree with those flaws. So now the criticism of blogs starts ? erroneous content, opinion not labeled as opinion, not verifying information, lack of disclaimers, getting the right information at the right time, etc. and some of it is based on Kristina Schneider's Master's Thesis. Big disclosure here: I?m one of the five subjects she studied. Of course at this point I'm all like, WTFý Erroneousý Opinioný It?s a blog! It's where I learn. Gosh, I?m not an investigative journalist. I?m totally with you on generational stuff. And, the idea that social media is overstated may be true. I also agree that social media is not for everyone and there?s no one tool to meet every need (good heavens!). I can?t think of anyone that takes that position. The classroom is better for some things. It?s never going away IMHO. Your example from the public foundation was a wonderful example of how to use the best of f2f and the best of online learning. I guess the kicker and trigger for my rant was the last bit: why do bloggers continue to insist that its death is imminentý Of the five bloggers (Schneider) studied in depth, none had attended a day of training in the past year. Perhaps they feel that, if informal learning through blogging works for them, it works for everyone. Perhaps the training question was just poorly written. I'm a PhD student at Syracuse University certainly the 10-15 hours I spending researching and studying gives me a pass on "training." On a final note, nothing has contributed to my professional growth more than blogging. I?ve learned so much, benefited from the wisdom of others, laughed, made friends, and experienced the benefits of deep reflection. I've done that by putting my ideas and opinions "out there." I would be surprised if you didn?t find erroneous information and opinion. I don't think you can understand the power of blogging as a learning tool for some people without understanding that it?s often a platform for publishing ideas and opinions. If I wanted to publish peer reviewed content, I?d do that in a journal. I hope that further explains my position. you have a blogý

  • Sun, 12 Apr 2009
    Post by Clark Quinn

    While others have pointed out that the purported call for the death of formal doesn''t really exist, I wish to raise a different point. There clearly is a role for formal, as well as a role for informal and performance support as well. What I think this post misses, however, is an acknowledgment that most formal training is severely broken: knowledge, not skill focused; unengaging; and massed instead of distributed - in short, not very effective. Classroom instruction isn''t a particular good model of formal learning to tout! Let''s improve formal and acknowledge that we also need to incorporate informal and more. BTW, I blog *and* I have a PhD :).

  • Sun, 29 Mar 2009
    Post by Harold Jarche

    "Nearly all of the contributors predicted the death of the classroom." They did? Which ones? I''m still sifting through the +30 responses to find just one person who said that. As they say on Wikipedia, "Citation needed".

  • Sun, 29 Mar 2009
    Post by Janet Clarey

    My opinion is that your evidence is weak. Although you''ve used citations, I will assume this article is opinion since it''s an article in a non peer-reviewed online publication that accepts comments (sounds like a blog to me). I''ve done something similar in the past. I''d have to ditto the sample size issue mentioned by Mark Oehlert in response to the referenced Master thesis. It seems irresponsible to rely on such a small sample size to the extent you have. I sat on a bloggers panel with Ms. Schneider in 2008 and had the pleasure of reading her Master''s thesis (from Concordia University where you were her thesis advisor). I''ve gone on to have numerous conversations with her. But five people among tens of thousands? It made me think of the five people in my house tonight. Four of them wanted cheeseburgers and only one wanted a salad. So long live the cheeseburger. That salad thing is certainly a fad. I don''t see where you''ve mentioned blended learning - supplementing ILT with informal learning. I think there''s another layer to the story behind the ASTD numbers as it relates to ILT and informal learning support by social learning technology. One can rarely separate formal and informal channels of delivery in the current environment. It also seems to me that you''re meshing research, mass media reporting, studies of student learning, teenager''s use of social media for personal use, and adult learning. Your entire argument grows from Learning Circuits blog "Workplace Learning in 10 Years" big question of the month. I wonder where your detailed analysis of that is. It would be nice to see a detailed analysis of those working in adult corporate education along with the ASTD State of the Industry report. Lastly, I have to wonder how this article impacts your 2009 predictions published in this same magazine just two months ago. Seems you''re calling for an increase in e-learning, especially experimentation with creative approaches. As organizations try to stretch their learning budgets in hard times, e-learning will become an attractive option. For some organizations, a basic transfer of content from classroom to online will suffice. For others who are concerned that students are actually learning, experimentation with creative approaches to e-learning might occur. In addition, organizations will use the bad economy to assess the costs and benefits of their enterprise technology - and might make changes if they feel costs exceed benefits. —Saul Carliner, Graduate Program in Educational Technology, Concordia University, Canada

  • Sun, 29 Mar 2009
    Post by mark oehlert I am very much still working thru all this including Tony Karrer''s reply but I had an initial question re the number of blogs/bloggers sampled in the thesis cited. Having written a Master''s thesis myself - granted in history and not in ed tech - I would think that 5 would not be a sufficient sample size from which we could extrapolate truly accurate or relative results for a community (edubloggers)that numbers in the hundreds if not thousands.

  • Fri, 27 Mar 2009
    Post by Jenny Mason

    A very interesting article. Can we have more of the same please?

  • Wed, 27 Sep 2006
    Post by Helene Schulz

    I am doing a research paper on podcasting. It is very interesting.

  • Sun, 06 Aug 2006
    Post by Felix Ram

    This would have to be one of the best ideas I have heard in a very long while - I will certainly try it out. Thank you

  • Thu, 03 Aug 2006
    Post by Heidi Sorrell

    Excellent info, I will check this out.

  • Fri, 14 Jul 2006
    Post by Martijn de Graaf

    I''m now doing research at some company and I commute for 4 hours everyday. I listen to podcasts and they are just not at my level. Not precise enough for my field. But I need to read alot while commuting but that isnt possible so this could be a good idea... ill try it! Thanks

  • Fri, 07 Jul 2006
    Post by Gill Fenton

    Are you serious? It is one thing listenting to the Da Vinci codes while turning the M1 to grey dust in your Jag - Attempting to study (I do an 80m round journeydaily) will, I believe, ensure you arrive at work tired and stressed.

  • Wed, 28 Jun 2006
    Post by Harriett Fredson-Cole

    Definately worth the effort. I have a 90 minute round trip commute daily!!!