An informal history of eLearning

I’ve just finished reading ‘An Informal History of eLearning‘ by Jay Cross, and can’t believe I didn’t find and read this sooner. I’ve only found it available as a paper in the eJournal ‘On the Horizon’ via Emerald Insight, and even then I can only get access to it on campus.

For those who don’t, or can’t, access it Jay outlines his own journey through various industries to 2004 (when it was written) as well as explaining what was going on around him and the ever changing world of ‘learning’.

What has prompted me to write here is that there are a few choice quotes I’d like to share with you, that struck a chord or nerve with me, from my own approach to learning and eLearning;

“Learning happens outside one’s comfort zone. Exposed to new things. Incorporating them into one’s experience. Taking life’s lessons and adapting them to make the world a better place, and to lead a happier life. Challenge yourself and your brain gets heavier with new neurons.”

“I’m always ready to learn but there are many times I don’t want to be trained. Training is something someone does to me; learning is what I do for myself.”

“(when talking about vendors at the 1999 ASTD Int. Conference) … the most tenuous connection to the Internet was defined as eLearning. Some vendors sent email notifications to people taking CD-based training and called it eLearning. Others offered a simple discussion board, called it mentoring, and stuck on the eLearning label.”

“Many of those who did register (for compulsory eLearning) dropped out early on. eLearning left a bas taste in their mouths. it was boring. Many people have told me, ‘I tried eLearning, I didn’t like it.’ They’re assuming that all eLearning is the same. This makes no more sense than if I’d said ‘I read a book once, I didn’t like it. I don’t intend to read any others.”

I hope you can see why these passages jumped out of the page/screen (I had it loaded to the Sony Reader and sat in the garden with a beer and read it) ¬†at me. It made me realise that, as someone who aids the development of eLearning materials for academic students, we mustn’t overlook the actual intended ‘people’ on the other end of the line; those who are relying on us to perform our job to the best of ‘their’ ability.