24 March 2013
24 March 2013,

Is it okay for the learner to be driving the mobilizing of education? When you read the stats that appears to be what is happening.

Five years ago, working as their student advocate, students were constantly contacting me and asking for lecture capture. “We want video lectures,” they said. I pushed back.

“Each course will need to make their lecture videos regularly so the content stays current.” I said. “These videos will range in quality, sometimes the sound will be poor, others will be badly edited, the potential for rubbish learning resources outweighs the benefit. Sorry, but unless this is a core subject with little content change and a huge cohort this is not going to happen.” Given the resources of the institution this was true.

Is it any different for the touch screen? The answer lies in the world’s response to the transformational nature of the touchscreen. Is it going to be the way we do things in the future? Is this a game changer?

Website based learning was said to be a game changer and perhaps it was – it lasted all of 20 years. Five years ago when students were crying out for what they saw as the best use of website-based learning, the institutions struggled to deliver. The touchscreen paradigm will be the same.

The resources needed to change education delivery to suit touchscreen are significant. The sector is already under financial stress. Only those with a clear vision and financial backing will succeed. Small institutions, with less website-based learning infrastructure have an advantage, as do the global giants backed by education publishing revenues.

Learners will continue to ask for what suits them. They live in the moment; their moment. The institution has a role in understanding where improvements in learner outcomes and learning processes match the institution’s capability.

In the same way it was right not to let every lecturer produce their own lecture videos because that what students demanded, it is right to say no to developing a MOOC, or mass producing touchscreen learning resources.

The institutions that come though this will have played the field. They will have produced strategically selected mobile learning resources: course introductions, and technical manuals. Their large fee-friendly online course developments will connect to strategies such as learner preparation and student success. Their infrastructure upgrades will be informed by analytics. They understand it is a long game and it will change in ways unseen.