Four years ago my two day visit and re-visit was inspiration as I embarked on the Open University’s Master of Arts in Open and Distance Education (MAODE) today I managed one visit for a few hours feeling more like a plastic surgeon – I was fascinated, though ready to go in with a knife to see how it could be improved, or applied to formal education – certainly to higher and postgraduate education. Four years of postgraduate studies with the Open University, an MA in Open & Distance Education and further similar modules that will build towards an MSc in Management Development and increasingly I think of myself as a well-informed observer. I find myself asking ‘on which learning theories is all of this based?’ and ‘where is the evidenced based research to show what does and what does not work?’ There is too much marketing sold as research. A seminar on the role neuroscience plays in eLearning turned out to be a clever seminar title with no sound connection to neuroscience at all, but this is no academic circuit.
The stands and many of the seminars blurred into one – so many were saying and selling the same thing – ‘learning solutions’, that product that ‘onboarding graduates’ must gargle to turn them into true believers. Thankfully when it comes to human learning nothing is so simple.
I get a sense of the organisations that have seen expand over the last four years – Towards Maturity for example offers a wise, professional and market leading ingsight into the state of elearning by sector and organisation. Brightwave gets bigger, Line bigger still, Epic hangs in there while City & Guilds Kineo are global. One organisation is still in the business that I began in three decades ago – Video Arts. No Harvard Education. There was ‘Fuse’ – and getting bigger. The quietest stwnds with the bit players – L&D durectors don’t want a bauble, they want a box of decorations for their learning tree.