Tuesday 26 June 2012

eLearning Experiments and A New Strategic Canvas For the HVA

eLearning is all the rage now in education. Yesterday I participated in a 4 hour session with other teachers/lecturers from the HVA [University of Applied Sciences] about "Learning Tomorrow". But I think we are missing the point by getting so caught up in technology and ICT.

I have been trialing a few little experiments [the non scientific type] to see what works best with students in terms of eLearning i.e. what makes them more "active" = thinking = learning. These experiments include; creating knowledge clips [10 minute videos with theory], asking students to create videos instead of written reports as assignments, using Facebook to communicate with students, using a Facebook group to start discussions, polling students via FB for exam questions and using online articles instead of books.

I am not seeing the difference! There has not been more participation, but there has been more complaining unfortunately. But certainly not more giving their opinion about a topic or article related to the subject.

Students suggest teachers should get with the programme and use more up-to-date ICT methods. However, when, in one of my innovation classes, I tested my strategy canvas for a new value curve for the University, the majority of students didn't like the idea of not having face-to-face lectures. 

I have noticed that while doing these eLearning experiments, the moment that I get the students thinking the most, is when they are physically taking part in a relevant [subject related] discussion among themselves and with me in class. Remember that Chinese proverb: “Tell me and I'll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I'll understand” ... hmmm a relevant proverb for marketers & teachers alike!

I presented to them the following changes to the HVA, using the creation of a new value curve on a Strategy Canvas [Blue Ocean theory]:

  1. Less physical lectures - more virtual web colleges.
  2. Less physical half days at Uni - replaced by one full intensive day at Uni - with intensive small workshops - with lots of interaction. [Less physical days at school also means students can better combine work/study/own business].
  3. Less exams at end of year - more test moments when the student wants at different moments during the course  [digitally is an option of course].
  4. Less feeling like a number at Uni - more intensive coaching one-on-one face-to-face or via skype video.
  5. Less abstract/virtual assignments - more REAL external assignments with companies [possibly paid -  like the HVA & Pepperminds assignment]

Well the students were very enthusiastic about some of the new value curve, but seriously worried about loosing physical contact. This was reinforced again yesterday when the two students present in the eLearning meeting, suggested that "ICT is all good and well, but there needs to be a balance of physical, face-to-face contact combined with the online stuff".

Yep ... balance. We need to be sure we don't swing like a pendulum to over digitalize our education and loose the all so necessary contact and coaching moments. This balance is in the Strategy Canvas above, and at the same time this new value curve sets HVA apart from its competition [or the average competition] and could create a sustainable competitive advantage.

No comments: