Fall 2000

 

Letter from the Editor, Marcia Conner


You’ll never believe the shocking pronouncement in my small-town paper a few weeks back. They heralded the news on the front page; “You can even sell Real Estate over the Internet.” I suspect some neighbors may be asking, “What next? Education?”

While the news that “eLearning is the next big thing” hasn’t reached my rural community, if you touch the education industry in any way, you know elearning (also referred to as online learning, technology-based training, and sometimes distance learning) has received more attention than anything this sleepy little industry has seen in a long time.

But from people who usually have so much to say, I’ve been surprised to hear so few unique things said about elearning. All I seem to hear is how much money you can make (if you’re a vendor) or how much money you can save (if you’re a training manager). Well, I’ve been a vendor and I’ve been responsible for internal (and external) education organizations. And this isn’t enough.

There is a little talk of anytime-anyplace and learning objects, but where is the discussion about learning styles, performance improvement, learning in context, or global implications? What about elearning using mobile devices, coaching online, or experience and flow? And even when we hear about 24x7 learning, why isn’t anyone talking (publicly) about how hard it is to find time to learn... and what are learning objects and learning standards exactly? We began with thinking we’d have a dozen or so articles but the more we scratched, the more questions we wanted to ask.

We call this approach “Tackling the whitespace.” You may call it “clearing the fog.” And frankly, people in my rural town don’t call it anything other than new-fangled education-speak. I like that. They keep me grounded. I hope this issue can keep our industry grounded, too.

On the road to better understanding,

Send me your comments or questions at marcia@linezine.com