Wednesday, December 13, 2006

I have been looking at the 'Technology Enhanced Learning' project that is now part of Teaching and Learning Research. They have started some seminars and two of them are available online.

My opinion is that 'learning' is an adequate word even if used casually without formal agreement on what it means. I think the web is now widely accepted so even adding an "e" serves no great purpose. coming up with the term "technology enhanced learning" seems to be making it more complicated just to invent a subject. I recently found a tape of a Douglas Adams talk on Radio 4 where he explains that "technology" is a word used about something that is not working yet. So electricity is not technology. Nor is the web a lot of the time.

The EU seems to be the source of this new term so I have looked on Google and found a Cordis page explaining a bit more.

"With the shift towards the knowledge society, the change of working conditions and the high-speed evolution of information and communication technologies, peoples' knowledge and skills need continuous up-dating. Learning, based on collaborative working, creativity, multidisciplinarity, adaptiveness, intercultural communication and problem solving, has taken on an important role in everyday life. The learning process is becoming pervasive, both for individuals and organisations, in formal education, in the professional context and as part of leisure activities. Learning should be accessible to every citizen, independent of age, education, social status and tailored to his/her individual needs.

To meet these social challenges is a leading issue of European research on the use of technology to support learning in the 6th EU Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (2002-2006)."

Why not just accept that the web is part of this and stay with this as a description of 'learning'?

The seminars seem to be looking at research for designing learning environments. There is a lot happening on the web already, some of which can be described as informal learning. I think that engaging with the web in general could be a useful form of 'research'. There was mention on the video of 'the educational blogosphere' but I got the impression that the printed journals were the centre of the discussion and that 'technology enhanced learning' is on the way towards becoming another defined subject.