Yesterday I attended an e-learning seminar organised by Adobe in Edinburgh. I'm usually a tad cynical about software vendors' e-learning promotions - I reckon they tend to develop generic information and communication tools, then look for markets for them ("Oh - e-learning! That's another market"), without stopping to think whether their tools are fit for each new purpose. The result is we get generic messages about content management or virtual meetings or whatever. Nobody's considered whether the type of content storage and retrieval need is different for learning; or, in Adobe's case, whether tutorials, lectures, training workshops, or other kinds of learning event, are different from any old virtual meetings.
Anyway, my cynicism vanished when I won a webcam and headset in the prize draw at the end of the seminar! It turned out to be a profitable afternoon after all.
There was one interesting discussion point - one of the presenters, Billy Ward, talked about the mantra of reusable learning objects being passe, and advocated instead disposable learning objects (actually his slide read "deposable" but we all knew what he meant). When challenged on this, he said his point was to emphasise how cheap and easy it now is to produce content, and therefore why store and re-use old objects when you can just create fresh ones. I tend to agree - reusability's a great theory, but how many people actually live by it?
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