The best part about this article is where Tom Kuhlmann cites "thousands of other examples outside of e-learning" against those "many of you who will trot out the cognitive load arguments." As well he should; yes, music can split our attention, but a lot of the time it doesn't matter, and the rest of the time we just want a break from the endless drone of content content content. In fact, I'm listening to music now as I write this. Anyhow. The are many reasons to use audio, writes Kuhlmann: to establish some context, to cover background noise, to set a tone, to influence your viewer. Learning is more than cognitive processing, and that's what the widespread use of audio in media teaches us.
One of the major differences between public enterprise and private enterprise is accountability. Public enterprise has accountability at two levels: at the top, where CEOs report ultimately to elected leaders; and at the bottom, where in most cases a union or professional association protects employees. With private enterprise, there is no accountability to elected officials except through regulation, the effectiveness of which is variable, or through some internal process, such as an ombudsperson or ethics commissioner. And the most sure sign that internal accountability has failed is when that person is summarily fired. That's what happened at Google this week, and that should be concerning to the entire community.
I've never really had much time for blended learning because it has to me always meant a mixture of in-person instructor-led training (ILT) and some digital resource. And to me, the in-person component meant that it was really our of reach to most people, since you have to be local to attend in person. The 'old' version of blended learning presented here requires only "a mix of delivery modalities to achieve a learning program’s goal," which may include ILT but might not. The objection to the 'old' version is that it is like a salad, with each element a discrete resource, as opposed to the 'new' version, which is more like a smoothie, whether everything is combined to form "a whole experience that is more than a sum of its parts." If you look at the example of "a digital blended learning journey", though, it still looks like a series of parts. According to Matt Donovan, "What’s critical is how the components come together to create a truly integrated and engaging experience." Maybe. But I prefer salad. More choice; more variety.
Justin Reich has been getting a lot of press lately. I'm sure he's making some good points, though as usual this review will have to suffice until an open-access version of his book comes out (some people have budgets for books like this; I don't). For now I will just ask whether I am the only one to notice the incongruity of some MIT professor publishing at Harvard University Press (reviewed by Stanford Social Innovation Review) lecturing us about inequality. One wonders whether it's this perspective that allows "slow and steady incremental change" to be sufficient; certainly people at the other end of the inequity scale would prefer to see something more immediate (like say, what MOOCs and OERs and other edtech actually did by putting a lot of learning into the hands of the disadvantaged now rather than some undetermined time in the future).
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