The eLearning Fundi

Random reflections about eLearning in Africa

In eLearning, Whose Voice Should be Heard?

We have the main players in eLearning as the researchers in online learning best practices, the technology providers, the learning material experts (in my case the lecturers), and then the recipients(learners, students).
The researchers will come with all the best practices (some tried and tested others just too theoretical or imaginative). The technology providers will come with “the best tool in the market that would do just everything you would want to do in eLearning”. The lecturers will be the source of knowledge to be transfered to the learners, and in most cases would not care how it reaches their learners as long as it is convenient for them(lecturers). There is the learner, who needs to acquire the knowledge using the most convenient means available.
While the researchers come with the ‘dos and don’ts’, hoping that the technology provider will incorporate them in the technology, the technology provider provides a product that in most cases does not reflect the dos and donts, which leaves the bulk of the work to the lecturer. The lecturer has to juggle with the technology, the research and the students’ interest. The technology provider would market the technology as “cutting edge” and will not always have the lecturer’s and students interests at heart. They all all in the game for different reasons. On the other hand, the target audience, the students, would want to have the best and like any other consumers, they would want to demand how, when, and in what state their materials is presented. This tends to insert more pressure on some of the players. Hence the question, whose voice should be heard?
For now, I would argue that the technology providers voice is the king, and we have technology as the main drivers of our eLearning initiatives. There is a gradual move towards the target audience voice but still it has a lot of influence on the technology providers and how they market their products.

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