Re-Humanizing EdTech Narratives

Paolo Lenotti Sep 24, 2015

Today I'd like to share my views on the never-ending scepticism that surrounds online learning. And please don't get me wrong, sceptics are good for our industry. Actually any industry. Especially when they're knowledgeable and help stir a debate.

The latest article on the matter is by George Siemens (Is Education Technology Losing Its Humanity?), who reminds us to focus on the learner, the human. George believes that in EdTech at the moment there's too much focus on clicking, not enough on learning. He talks about sit and clicknano-robo-certificates,technosolutionism in a simple, effective way. I see where he's coming from and at first sight it's hard to disagree. However, on the whole I feel optimistic and I'd like to challenge Siemens' j'accuse – in particular this thought: “Instead of improving teaching and learning, today’s technology re-writes teaching and learning to function according to a very narrow spectrum of single, de-contextualized skills.”

It's the single, de-contextualized skills I disagree with. For example, at Filtered we're tackling this issue by creating short, personalized courses that make sense for each user. We do that by asking learners questions at the outset, taking their feedback on board as they go along, providing them with live metrics to track their progress, to pace themselves and to better understand their (online) learning experience. This ultra-focus puts the learner in control, contextualizes training, makes sure the skills developed are not standalone but instead part of a wider development programme.

Mr. Siemens is hopeful for the future, and so am I. But to quote him one more time, I prefer to refer to the phase we live in as re-humanizing EdTech narratives, not de-humanizing.

I'd love to hear your views on the subject, please do get in touch.


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