The Future of Learning needs to change

I’ve just come back from a trip to Brussels and Frankfurt, delivering Collaboration training to some Channel folks within Cisco. I had 60mins to deliver an enthusiastic, meaningful, useful presentation that the audience could take away and use with their customers. I did my best but there is only so much you can do with Power Point; especially when you are the last slot of a very long day.

I really dislike using Power Point. I usually try and follow Guy Kawasaki’s 10-20-30 rule on presenting, especially as my 60min slot usually gets squeezed down to 30mins due to other people running over.

On the way back from the Frankfurt Office to the hotel, I sat in the taxi wondering if my audience had learnt anything. Was this form of delivery the best way for people to develop knowledge? When I was at Microsoft I worked with some great Training Partners constructing a blended learning approach of part instructor led, part self learning with Video, examples and labs. This to me was a better way to learn.

From a personal experience, I started doing a Charter Institute of Marketing (CIM) Professional qualification last year based out of the University of Gloucestershire; in their Business College. I chose this route as I had assumed that the quality of lecturers and content would be the best that I could get. I had also hoped that the CIM would be a modern organisation that pushed the boundaries of education.

I was wrong on so many sides.

We had Power Point slides. Tonnes of them. We also had paper handouts stapled together. It was not a great experience and one that I had a similar experience with back in the mid 90s when I was last at University. How can nothing change in nearly 15years!?

Surely it’s time for Education Facilities to embrace Web 2.0 (or Education 2.0) and allow students to bring their own laptops, tablets, Smartphones and give them access to a course social portal. A portal that includes all the lecture notes, case studies, self learning activity and workspaces for students to engage with others to discuss the relevant topics. The Course Leader could then monitor the site, shape the discussions if required and check on the progress of the student’s self learning in-between lectures.

Young people now, are already fully skilled in collaborative working via Social Media and do not consume knowledge via the more traditional ways. They can multi task a lot better than their parents and get bored if there is only one form of media on offer.  By providing a blend of instructor led lectures and self learning you are more likely to keep them engaged and enthusiastic.

If the University of Gloucestershire implements something like that, then perhaps they wouldn’t need to cancel my CIM course due to lack of interest. Just saying..


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