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The future of online learning


OLL has had limited applications to date, but the opportunities from just-in-time training to in-depth study are great. I’m looking for thoughts on how we can open up OLL as a major training resource for soft skills as well as hard across the patch. I’d add to that Tim Pickles’ query: how can/should OLL sites replicate what we know about adult learning processes e.g. how do you include all four elements of Kolb's cycle of learning into OLL technology? and how do you accommodate all four Honey and Mumford learning styles in OLL? These are real limits at present - and real challenges to be overcome.

I am asking this as part of the research for a book on finding new approaches to training for Kogan Page. The more detail you can give me, the better. Any contributions will be acknowledged (unless you want to remain anonymous) in the book.

Brian Clegg

Brian Clegg

4 Responses

  1. On Line Learning Issues
    From working in an environment where the line managers and above have very little IT experience or knowledge, the first stage in OLL may be more than just looking at Kolb and Honey and Mumford. It could be as simple as overcoming the ingrained fear and distrust of computerised learning of any kind. A possible way forward could include a hybrid of OLL and trainer led workshops which could open up the world of OLL as well as provide the face to face contact and support. This could not only help to overcome the IT phobia but also set learners in the right frame of mind to continue to learn in this way.

    I know this would be the only workable solution in my working environment at this time. I don’t believe that all companies have yet bought into the revolution in training with initiatives such as OLL and this will be an uphill struggle.

    I agree that it will be difficult as well to include the different learning styles in an OLL environment when this can be difficult to achieve in some training sessions!

  2. Online learning – the how ?
    I agree with Julie’s comments and would like to add that people need to be able to see that their is something for the on computer learning or indeed computer anything ! Courses in intriguing people about their own use of computers I feel is essential. For instances playing games, going shopping on the Internet, basically giving someone a WIIFM (What’s in it for me). Once they have this they are off !! All computer learning then becomes interesting 🙂

  3. High Tech – High Touch
    The holy grail in establishing online learning in something as challenging as leadership development seems to be to use the on line with experiential inputs. The on-line could be used in small groups or as part of the glue in Action learning communities.
    Look at the trends of technolgy. sells one of the oldest tech products – books from a high tech point of sale. The key to leverage online is to combine high tech with high touch. We will still need cool consultants!

  4. Some flavours of the future we’re interested in!
    I started off with 3000 characters of response; so this is the short taster edition – some flavours of the stuff that’s emerging out of our partnership work with a University department in applied OLL, making us both rethink assumptions and experts on what doesn’t work!

    (i) people learn from conversations; evidence from listserver traffic suggests that sustainable dialogues have to be managed
    (ii) managing dialogue seems best applied to conversations between people who know each other ie where online communication extends the reach of face-to-face
    (iii) a new clutch of facilitated online processes need developing eg getting large-scale dialogue through idea-polling
    (iv) various dialogue models need developing; debate alone is too either/or and gender-specific
    (v) learning communities need tools to create their specialised collections using search mechanisms that employ their language and parameters;
    We’re doing large and small-scale collaborative action-research on this and more( online HRD, trainer-training etc) with the finance sector and UK government and advising EU Commission, and very open to swapping ideas ([email protected]).


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