One of the most interesting topics at DevLearn was ‘Curation’ and the question attached to it was: “Will e-Learning (developers) become obsolete?”. I took some time to reflect on this and my answer is: “Yes curation is an important development” and: “No, the e-Learning developer will not become obsolete. I believe that the role of e-Learning and e-Learning developers will become even more important in the near future.” In this post I will explain why.
There is now software available that gathers information (based on RSS feeds), republishes it and stores it.The great thing about it that if you find an expert on a certain field that does this, you can tap in to his selection of content. Tony Karrer with his elearninglearning site is someone who does this for e-Learning. And it really is a valuable source of information for me. He selects and filters information about e-Learning. But can this phenomenon replace (e-)Learning?
No, it can’t. Curation filters the information and it will help you to manage the information overload. But you will have still a huge amount of information. Leaving you with two problems. Too much information and no learning experience. Curation is not a new thing at all. Decades ago people where creating publications with clippings from newspapers and magazines and they made them available to others by copying them. The only difference with the modern form of curation is that we have more information and it is digital.
The conclusion must be (as always): There is not one simple solution to a complex problem. Curation is part of the solution. So the question is what else do we need?
In order to help me manage the information overload I need someone who processes that curated information and gives meaning to it: A moderator. Somebody who discovers trends, makes cross connections, summarizes this and makes it available to me. I want more than tapping into a persons network, I want to tap into his knowledge and experience. I do believe that there is an important role here for learning departments en developers because it is not about the technology, it’s about the content and knowledge.
But we are not there yet. learning is more than the transfer of knowledge. Learning is about acquiring knowledge, skills and new behavior. Learning is about change. In order to make that happen you don’t need information, no matter how well curated or moderated it might be. You need lessons and a teacher, you need learning experiences. That is one of the reasons I believe e-Learning will never replace face-to-face teaching completely. And the same goes for curated and moderated content. I do believe that E-Learning courses will become a bigger part of the formal learning that is offered to the learners. For me the difference between information and learning content are didactics, e-Learning developers, instructional designers and teachers.
My conclusion is that e-Learning will become even more important than it is now and for e-Learning developers there is a whole new role as a moderator. I foresee that e-Learning courses in the future could become the carrier of curated and moderated content. Of course with a didactical approach.