By Eric Mowbray
eLearning and Digital Cultures
• University of Edinburgh MOOC
• This edcmooc digital artefact:
– Describes an original, innovative and
practical idea (“learning bytes”) for
eLearning in the workplace
– References themes explored in the
– Tests the concept against the themes
New concept for eLearning
Replace a traditional, structured, beginning-to-end course
in the workplace:
Intro Topic 1 Topic 2 Topic 3 Topic 4 Assessment
With a collection of learning objects:
Can be “pushed” to learners via PC or mobile device
so they can be accessed at any time
and receive the material in bite-sized chunks.
What is a Learning Byte?
Deeply interrogates the
Question learner’s understanding
• The learning object can be a question or quiz with
supporting content available to be provided only if the
learner fails to pass the question.
• Can use video or audio to achieve Hersh’s “Human
Presence Learning Environment”1
To be used for new supermarket checkout staff:
Question Match the name with the photo:
• If the staff member gets this wrong, they must
complete the tropical fruit topic
The sequence of objects
The period and regularity
of sending out objects can
be configured – for
example, staff could be
sent an object per week or
Suits today’s learning style :
• staccato blasts of information - phone, texts, emails,
chats, tweets vie for attention
• learners are jaded by traditional elearning courses
• have a significant capacity for processing multiple,
• people are time-poor and impatient
• digital natives and immigrants2
Dystopia - Master or slave?
• Could our way of thinking change?
• Perhaps we will weaken our ability to absorb larger
amounts of material?
• Responsibility for initiating the training is delegated to the
• But the learner still chooses when to learn
• Are we giving too much responsibility to technology?
• Is the machine the master?
• Are we the slave?
“We shape our tools and then our tools shape us” Marshall McLuhan4
Traditional eLearning model
• Course structure in modules with multiple topics;
• Objectives are stated followed by content, learning
activities, “check-your-knowledge” checks, a
summary and finally assessment;
• Within a learning management system, it is
accessible, trackable, uses rich media, deployable
• However, now considered too long, too boring, not
flexible, not adaptable.
The future of eLearning
• Is it time to re-consider the conventional linear
teacher -> student structure of a training course?
• New technology has created new opportunities
• But it has also lead to new ways of thinking
• Using online social interaction to increase and
enhance engagement, comfort and, eventually,
• What will eLearning
look like in the future?
Notas do Editor
The Human Element, Steve Kolowichhttp://www.insidehighered.com/news/2010/03/29/lms
2. Distinction originally conceived by Marc Prensky3. Image from EDCMOOC video Productivity Future Vision (Microsoft)
John Bourne, Sloan Consortium Image provided by video EDCMOOC “A day made of Glass 2” Corning
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