Saturday, February 06, 2010

The guide to Learning Technologies had an introduction from Lord Puttnam that made a strong case for e-learning and was a solid launch for the event. However there was one theme that I would like to question. He claimed that while educational organisations have a concern to sustain the "moral" position of learning within society, there are also the commercial ambitions of the Murdochs, the Microsofts or the googles. As Chancellor of the Open University he has a proper concern with this but I think things could be more complicated. Commercial organisations make different claims for their knowledge offers. James Murdoch somehow connects media for democracy and a free market. Google claims a role in organisaing information and scanning content for public benefit. Both claims are contested but there is some sort of moral position.

Also there could be a downside for educational organisations to behave as if morality always demands a distance from commerce. I am interested in "mode two" knowledge, combining academic disciplines in practical situations. Most e-learning research could be seen as like this. I have heard tell of views on the "dark side" of mode two though I cannot find any detail or references. It might just mean that there are journal articles with critique of something like e-learning. This could count as "research2 even though there was little engagement or output that could relate to practice. Not sure about this but i would welcome some clues. It seemed to me that there were a variety of contributions to the Learning Technologies event and as it happens I was surprised how limited was the contribution from universities.