I just completed a survey for the Amateur Swimming Assocaition on the use of e-learning in swim teaching and coaching, something I have banged on at them about for the last five years as I did their Level 3 Coaching Course and the Open University’s Masters in Open and Distance Education. Asked to sum up where we would be in five years time this is what I wrote (where I will be with the swimmers I teach and coach even if the ASA is lagging behind)
‘Like the belt that holds up your trousers, an earing, watch, ear-piece. Universally the ‘university or universe’ in your pocket. Tablets in all sizes: I want one at least the size of a kicker float that can get wet or project video clips and lesson plans onto the swimming pool roof, or activate pace lights along the bottom of the pool! So waterproof.
An earpiece to swimmers so that individual swimmers can take coaching in situ without deviation or hesitation, a catalogue of programmes on the electronic whiteboard, all the detail I need on a swimmer at the tip of my electronic tongue (currently in FileMakerPro data files).
E-learning in 2012 is where Ford was (a hundred years ago at a guess) when he turned to mass production of motor-vehicles – e-learning is becoming a product that can be mass produced replacing books and linear video, while supporting facilitated classes, lecturers or tutorials. ‘Blended learning’ is the best way forward, some human interaction, face-to-face as well as online, always a key part of attracting and retaining students (and educators who want to see their craft skills working in practice).