Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Industry and school

George's white paper seems to have generated a lot of talk. The thing that worries me a little is that there seem to be two different responses. Those of us involved in work-based learning seem to be making one set of assumptions, while those involved in the education sector seem to be making another, and of course this informs our responses. I guess it's a paradigm thing (how come that word keeps coming up these days?). I can accept that there must be some difference between the compulsory and post-compulsory phases of the learning life, but I would expect that the line between post-compulsory learning in formal/higher learning institutions and the workplace would become ever more blurred. Not necessarily in terms of content, although that is also a possibility, but particularly in terms of delivery of material and access to knowledge.

Recently I heard mention on a BBC news broadcast that a university professor had begun to use podcasts for his lectures. My initial (most uncharitable) response was a very sarcastic, "Whoop-de-do! Welcome to 21st century, mate!". Fortunately, I was alone in my car, and no-one heard me. Except I've now just gone and blown my cover, haven't I? Anyway, after a few moments' reflection I thought, actually, if it gets people thinking about alternative delivery methods, I'm in favour.

Because the audience at further/higher learning institutions will increasingly tend to comprise digital natives and because of the scope for collaborated projects in these environments, I would almost look to these (traditionally formal) institutions to get learners into the habit of social media, so that when they move into my realm, it's already a given. Perhaps I'm just looking for the easy life :-)

I think Jay Cross captures my situation neatly with this paragraph taken from a post about unworkshops:

The work environment has changed. Networks promote teamwork and two-way relationships with customers and suppliers. The internet makes communication instantaneous and information available to all. The world of work is adopting internet values and practices — collaboration, authenticity, transparency, always on, loosely coupled, experimental, and often, too much information. Work itself has changed. Everyone's work is knowledge work. Personal judgment is replacing company rules. Workers are challenged to make their own decisions, on the fly. And no one has time for workshops and courses.
There are, of course, things that are always likely to be taught by means of workshops, even if those workshops have to go virtual to make that viable (mind you, does a real time workshop still get called virtual just because it happens via webcam?). But I find that I have to keep the last three sentences of that quote in the forefront of my mind as I design learning these days.
I also find that my learning material is beginning to look more like a knowledge portal, which brings us back to "Everyone's work is knowledge work."

2 comments:

Mark Berthelemy said...

Hi Karyn,

You've just written the post that I wanted to...

Karyn Romeis said...

Wahey! Write it anyway.