The eLearning Fundi

Random reflections about eLearning in Africa

Locomotives and coaches in elearning

I remember sometimes listening to a radio interview, a person who had quit a high paying job to start his own business. In the interview, he said he wanted to find out if he is was locomotive or a couch. The idea being, if he is a locomotive, he will just look for coaches to attach to his business idea and off it goes. If however, he was a coach, he was just to halt. For sometimes, I have been thinking of the coach and locomotive idiom presented here as used in the adoption of elearning. But in my case is a situation where some coaches of a fast moving locomotive got detached along the way but due to Newton’s Law of Inertia (simply: An object in motion will remain in motion unless acted upon by an external and unbalanced force) they are moving as though they are still attached. The locomotive captain on the other hand is too concerned about the speed (of getting there) and testing the limits of the new machine in total disregard of the signals that are being displayed showing that some of the coaches might be left or roll back.

It is reality though that a well powered locomotive can pull several coaches. This is the story of the champions or leaders in the whole adoption and diffusion of innovations process. In all the cases considered this are people who are willing to test the “limits of the new machines” and also move fast. They are people, who are willing to bear some risk to determine if they are locomotives or coaches. These risk takers, because of their tendancies, they entice a good following (coaches). Most of these followers do not live a life of transformation into locomotives, and due to the speed of their engine, the risk being left behind.

Can you find an association with the locomotive and the coaches in your environment?

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