Last week I visited the Online Educa in Berlin. I’m sorry to say that I’m not a big fan. When you compare it to conferences like Learning Solutions and DevLearn it really comes out bad. In Berlin I met with Christopher Benz (he is in charge of online events of the ELearning guild) and we spoke about the differences of an eLearning guild conference (like Learning Solutions and DevLearn) and the online Educa. We decided that the biggest difference is that the guild is a community of learning professionals. People have virtual contact during all the time. Thus the conferences change into a meeting place of friends and colleagues, giving it a very different atmosphere. The other big difference are the key notes and sessions. All three key notes at the Learning Solution conference gave me a new insight or at least a new perspective; food for thought. The keynotes in Berlin didn’t have that at all; I heard nothing new or exiting.
I actually deleted my first draft of this post because it was just a boring complaint about lousy keynote speakers and bad sessions. I decided to write a new blog focusing on the positive sites. So here we go:
I wrote last week on the learning scenario session I attended, that was great. During the conference they worked on the scenarios and brought them together into quadrant with four scenarios. You can read about it at the learning scenarios website. There is food for thought there and you can take part in the further development of the scenarios, so please join.
Example of a learning map, taken from IADIS proceedings from presentation by Schock, Bargel, Roller and Rauner.
The most exiting thing for me was the discovery of ‘learning maps’. I’m looking for a new metaphor for e-Learning, one that can replace the old book metaphor. We were thinking of mind maps but some people from the University of Karlsruhe and The Fraunhofer institute came up with ‘learning maps’. They use maps with roads, houses, villages, hills and more to represent e-Learning content, they have developed a didactical framework to support this. I love this idea it gives a whole new perspective on learning content using well-known paradigms from geographical maps. The only thing I don’t like about this idea is that I haven’t thought of it myself. And I have a history in mapping and routing services, I was the CEO of Locatienet/Routenet a Dutch web service like Google earth (only earlier and on a smaller scale). This idea really got me exited, we will explore this further, but I can envision what this can do for e-Learning.
I’m afraid that the other positive elements of the week are limited to the people I spoke and the great city of Berlin. The interesting discussions and some really great dinners made this week worthwhile. It is always great to walk underneath the Brandenburger Tor and see the great avenue ‘Unter den Linden’. Conclusion: mediocre conference, great city.
I’m already of to a new adventure. I’m now in the Ukraine with our development team, working on next years road map for easygenerator. I’m really looking forward to this week.