Exploring Innovation in E-learning

– Does an innovation have to be useful?
– Is it always disruptive?
– Does it lead to far-reaching changes in practice?
– How does innovation come about?

From my experience of innovation in elearning, I do think it needs to be useful, otherwise it serves no real purpose – innovation has to do something that helps the process of learning somehow. Innovation does not need always to be disruptive, as it may well complement and bolster existing practice, it can be disruptive whereby former practice becomes obsolete. An example being pigeonholes and student communication. All student correspondence is handled by email and the VLE; paper-based timetables pinned on faculty noticeboards simply don’t exist in many institutions. Technology and student expectations has been the driver for this change and institutions, once able to meet this demand, can go on to deliver a far more holistic teaching experience.

Innovation in elearning comes about by using technology in new ways. Currently there is a host of elarning tools that have intended purpose, but by exploring and approaching concepts from different perspectives and practices, new formulas emerge that can produce unintended results in both good and bad ways.

Many cloud based tools that scatter the Internet hold great potential for new uses. Twitter and Facebook have demonstrated uses that go beyond the creator’s wildest dreams, social media, Arab Spring, London riots all come to mind. But these are not exhaustive as new combinations of traditional methods being re-interpreted into digital settings provide unknown dimensions of potential learning.

From my own learning stance, opportunities need to exist that allow time and exploration ‘to become acquainted’ with new technologies. This paves a way that best suits my own learning journey which may not be innovative to others, but the process becomes innovative in the sense that I am encountering a unique path of my own learning which brings about an interpretation that is significant to this digital footprint.

Innovation in the sense of new technology (iPads, iPhones, Whiteboards, etc) can be far reaching in terms of how they are used from a personal perspective. In terms of new teaching innovations in using this technology the variables are infinite as each student group brings along a new dynamic with socio-economics and geographical factors not withstanding.

Does Video Conferencing work – depends on the facilitator.

My experience of video conferencing has been very mixed and it is normally down to the way it has been planned and manner delivered. In my own experience people are far happier using the text box to communicate their opinions over speaking into the microphone. Interestingly and speaking from experience, the more important the attendee, the less likely they are to talk openly in the forum. From a learner’s perspective I prefer the nature of asynchronous dialogue as it allows time for reflection and considered response.

Here’s some real innovation:


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