1Mapping the Field and Terminology

Nick Rushby and Daniel W. Surry

Constant change is here to stay (Anon)

1.1 Living with Change

We give into temptation and say that over the past 100 years, the means by which we learn has changed out of all recognition. According to the utopian view, in the developed world education has changed from being classroom-based and teacher-led, to life-long learning that is learner-focused and capable of being delivered where and when the learner wants. Training has evolved from being a one-on-one activity where an expert demonstrated his or her skills to a novice, to a flexible, packaged delivery of targeted training at the point and time of need. It is learning technology that has made this revolution possible.

There are several problems with this utopian view. First, the majority of learning technologists live in the developed world and even in the developed world most of the education system still relies on classroom-based, teacher-led learning. In developing countries, with a few notable exceptions, there has been little change in traditional educational practices. In the world of training, classroom- and workshop-based, instructor-led sessions are still the norm rather than the exception. Second (and more optimistically), this view is but a snapshot of a world in which change is accelerating. It would be naïve to assume that the point we have reached now represents the pinnacle of achievement for learning technology. Nils Bohr is quoted as saying, “Prediction ...

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