Thursday, October 01, 2009

Three Future Directions of e-Learning

My article, Three Future Directions of e-Learning, was just published in Learning Circuits (ASTD's webzine on e-learning). Following is an excerpt.

At the beginning of the 1990s, experts predicted two trends in food. (I promise to show the connection to e-learning in a moment.) One trend was an emphasis on healthy eating. To encourage it, lower fat versions of popular foods would be developed, like low fat ice cream and fat-free potato chips.

The response to all of this healthy eating came in the second trend. To congratulate themselves, people would indulge in new lines of premium foods (in terms of calories, that is)—ones that were even less nutritious than their 1980s counterparts, like higher-fat ice creams (think Ben & Jerry’s and gourmet potato chips (think Cape Cod Chips).

When asked about the trends in e-learning, the contributors to the E-Learning Handbook: Past Promises, Present Challenges, saw a similar dichotomy. On the one hand, almost everyone thought the quality of e-learning would improve and become more responsive to learners. On the other hand, nearly everyone saw the emergence of less expensive, less thoughtful e-learning. In addition, the contributors saw one other trend that might help to reconcile this dichotomy: e-learning as a way of life. The following describe their insights.

(To continue reading, visit

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