I started writing this as a comment to a post on the Silence and Voice blog. That post is about where are all these users who are supposedly chomping at the bit to use Web 2.0 in educational settings? My comment was getting so long I decided to turn it into a blog post.
I want to add a technical slant as well as an instructional design slant to this discussion. Just because we have the “L 2.0” tools doesn’t mean that learners will automagically use them. Similarly, just having the new tools doesn’t mean those tools are the best ones for every instructional situation. These technologies are still just that – tools. To me, this means the use of the tools will require design work.
We have started discussing how we will use these tools where I work (developing and delivering technical training). There is a great potential to use the tools to solve all sorts of problems our audiences face. However, for the transition to be effective and smooth there is also alot of design work that will have to happen up front.
One thing I think is being left out of the conversation is the cost of these new tools. There is a human resource cost: instructors and developers must be taught about the tools, how and when to use them effectively, etc. The audiences must also be retrained, I think especially in a fast-paced corporate setting. For years and years and years they have been taught to come to class, get info dumped into their head, and take a test to prove that taking time off to go to training was well spent. After years of this conditioning, we are expecting them to just suddenly act completely the opposite: Be open, be collaborative, feel free to make mistakes, etc. In some industries, undoing that culture of control is going to be a challenge.
There is also a cost for machines, for bandwidth, for software. Is it really any wonder that E2.0 made it look like this change will happen tomorrow? All of the vendors presenting there (including my company) are selling the physical tools that will make this new world happen.
I am working hard to help my organization start to think about how we can use these tools. I’m always surprised at the objections I hear. Some are very valid from a systems point of view, and are things I hadn’t thought about. The things I am learning in my class this semester are helping me to think of ways to overcome the objections, but there is still alot of work to do.