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Looking Both Ways: The eLearning Guild After Five Years

时间:2011-06-17 10:32来源:知行网www.zhixing123.cn 编辑:麦田守望者

Looking Both Ways: The eLearning Guild After Five Years

"There has been a tremendous amount of learning going on within the Guild membership. Members have learned and shared what really works in facilitating learning. This has been, and continues to be, the most important dividend of Guild membership. This is closely followed by what we’ve all learned about the technology."

It’s always a good idea to stop once in a while, take time to celebrate our progress, and try to anticipate what comes next. Five years ago, The eLearning Guild began as a community of practice, a new idea then, and as a community you have been busy!

First, there is the growth you have created. The eLearning Guild has always been an organization “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” Because you have referred your colleagues to The Guild, you’ve grown incredibly in numbers. There are now well over 23,000 of you, in 139 countries around the world. You’ve grown in experience, in depth of skills, and in organizational diversity. For example:

  • Almost half of you have over six years of experience (and at the same time, one out of five members is brand new to the e-Learning field, and we welcome you!)
  • While many of you call yourselves designers, you are actually expert in a variety of development, production, and management skills.
  • You work in a tremendous variety of industries, private enterprise, government, and non-government organizations. (See Figure 1)
  • Almost half of you work in organizations of 1000 or fewer, making e-Learning a true support for the economic powerhouse of small business.
  • One out of four of you is a manager, one out of three is an individual contributor, and one out of seven is a consultant.

Figure 1 Guild members work in an amazing variety of organizations.

 

Taken together, you have grown The eLearning Guild into the largest and most influential group of e-Learning design, development, and management professionals in the world.

And you have freely shared your abundant experience in articles, in conferences and online events, and in your response to Guild Research:

  • Learning Solutions eMagazine and its predecessor, The eLearning Developers’ Journal, have published 203 issues (to date), filled with articles or columns written by 158 members.
  • Over 800 of you have presented sessions at 14 “face-to-face” conferences and 43 online events.
  • Thousands of you have responded to Guild surveys and polls, resulting in 53 Research Reports and four e-Books, providing accurate, unbiased information about best practices.
  • Over 5,000 members so far have contributed valuable information to The Guild’s new live, interactive Research. Specific salary information has come from over 2,800 individuals, 1,700 members have told about their use of the various teaching and learning modalities (including the traditional classroom), and 3,500 members have offered information about their use of and satisfaction with specific tools, products, and services. More information comes into the database every day, including individual experience with e-Learning projects. This is all information that you cannot obtain anywhere else.

Through these five years, it has been the privilege of a small group — usually fewer than ten — to support your efforts. You may like to know that we, like you, are also e-Learning professionals. Some of us go back to the days 40 years ago when the state of the art in e-Learning was stick figures and character graphics on a Control Data Corporation mainframe. Others came to the field 20 to 25 years back with the personal computer revolution, and still others arrived with HTML and the World Wide Web. We reflect and complement your experience.

To go back to listing what you’ve accomplished — there has been a tremendous amount of learning going on within the Guild membership. Members have learned and shared what really works in facilitating learning. This has been, and continues to be, the most important dividend of Guild membership. This is closely followed by what we’ve all learned about the technology. When we started, XML and LMS were two emerging acronyms. What everyone was concerned about was HTML. The tools available to us have grown in capability and complexity. Keeping up with them (and with changes in ownership and company and product names) has become an almost daily preoccupation. The Guild contributes to your support through our Announcements, Events, Guild Matters, and eLearning Insider emails and newsletters, as well as our other publications and services. Many Guild members have also discovered how to tap into the collective wisdom through the Community Connections board on The eLearning Guild’s Web site.

We can’t sit back comfortably on these accomplishments, however. The e-Learning world continues to evolve, and we must move along with those developments. While some things are staying the same (the reliance of so many designers and developers on the oft-disparaged PowerPoint, for one), many things are in motion.

  • Distinctions and “silos” are going away as we continuously re-define what e-Learning is. Where we once carefully differentiated between e-Learning, performance support, and knowledge management, we are re-discovering that these are only positions on a continuum of learning and performance. Along with this, we are also (perhaps) finding out more about how training, learning, and education relate and merge into one another.
  • Some segments of what we have been calling e-Learning are growing, and, surprisingly, not necessarily at the expense of the other segments. For example, a growing number of organizations are using synchronous e-Learning, the “same time, any place” medium, to avoid travel costs and to maintain currency of skills and knowledge among the workforce. At the same time, there is not a wholesale abandonment of the traditional classroom. As The Guild’s Live Research grows, it is easier to follow these trends, in real time, and to follow them by industry and organization size. This was not possible previously.
  • New modalities appear as technology supports a diversity of ways to communicate interactively. One of the most exciting areas involves simulation and immersion, although this is probably not going to see widespread adoption for several more years. The “always connected” world has moved beyond merely supporting the ability to send and receive email while waiting for a flight. Learners can now make use of weblogs, wikis, and online learning resources while on the move, using devices ranging from laptops and PDAs to cell phones. “Social software,” tagging, photosharing, and other resources make their appearance in e-Learning applications as designers and developers discover how to use them to solve skill and knowledge problems faced by learners on the job.

As all of these changes progress, The eLearning Guild will progress along with them. What will you — in the tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands — be doing in another five years? It’s not possible to say, but The Guild, through your membership and participation in this community, will be there to support your efforts. Thanks for all that you do!

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