Today's (January 13, 2011) early #Lrnchat session was loosely oriented around learning technology standards. As happens during #Lrnchat sessions on Twitter, moderators post questions for participants to discuss in 140 characters or less. One of today's questions asked participants to speculate about elearning in the future. In responding to this question my good Twitter friend Dave Ferguson (@Dave_Ferguson) remarked:
"In ten years, God willing, we will get rid of the silly "E" in front of stuff. (And maybe the "I", too)"
And all of a sudden, these words flew from my fingertips: "Consider this: Maybe the "e" matters. Designing for "e" demands technical acumen AND knowledge of learning", I wrote. And in writing that, I realized that I have completely flipped my point of view on this topic. Some might even say that I have flip-flopped. But that's okay. I prefer to think about it as being "enlightened".
Because these days I DO believe that the "E "- as in, what you can to to engage learners you deploysoftware and hardware that plugs into power outlets or batteries or whatever - matters.I don't know why people who are reasonable savvy consumers of electronic entertainment get so simple when it comes to thinking about what we can and can't do with that "E" for learning facilitation and support. Or that it might actually take some time to learn how to use some of the tech tools that are so easy to talk about.
These days, we simply can't afford for theoretical expertise and expert practical knowledge to be trumped by one's lack of technical acumen. Now that I am back up to my eyeballs in online learning and learning content creation I've come to believe that maybe the "E" really does matter, after all.
(As an aside, Dave and I chatted today, and we agree far more than we disagree on this topic. Didn't want anyone to think I was snarking about Dave. Oh, no I'm not.)
With all due respect to the theoretical and avocationally passionate among us - if you can't work with the tools, then you really aren't a learning technologist. Anymore than the most techie among us, who wouldn't know a learning theory from a white paper, can be considered a true learning technologist, either.
These days working near the intersections of pedagogy, creative expression and technology, with the business chops to keep things running smoothly, requires a higher degree of technical acumen than ever before. All of which is a long way of saying that the "E" really does matter, maybe even more that we care to admit. Because if there is one thing we have all learned over the years it's that it takes more than passion, great intentions and an LMS for the "E" to work in service of learning.