Learning in the Digital Age

Michael Grant, Conference Board of Canada, Oct 14, 2016
Commentary by Stephen Downes

This report from the Conference Board of Canada "explores the potential of e-learning in the Canadian setting." Most Conference Board reports are expensive (like this excellent Learning and Development Outlook from last year) but this one is free. Most readers of this newsletter will find the report very superficial, dated and quaint. It's not clear there was actually a literature review, as claimed - many of the (sparse) resources in the bibliography link to error pages on the Conference Board website (the references have other errors, including a '2003' article on MOOCs). The main points of discussion - whether e-learning should be employed, the quality of faculty-created courses, the nature of the LMS - would have been appropriate in 2004. Aside from a short discussion of MOOCs, there is nothing about modern e-learning: social networks, simulations and virtual reality, gamification, workplace support (indeed, workplace learning is all but ignored). The report contains three recommendations: reduce economic barriers, tackle institutional constraints, and adopt excellent practices. Well sure; we'll get right on that, once we get past this Y2K bug thing.

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