Well after taking two days to recover from the three day IMCL 2008 conference, I would like to talk about my experience there.
The conference was really small in size not the bigger one I anticipated it to be, though i was part disappointed at first then became to appreciate the intimacy of smaller conferences, the chance to meet and talk to many people as well as to attend more sessions!
Our presentation attracted several good discussions with other attendees/presenters (some good ego boost ;-)) several people were very excited about the site and appreciative of what we are trying to do in an attempt to encourage and capture informal learning while few were suspicious of the real value community websites could bring to “deep” learning.
The general talk at the conference was concentrated into 2 main topics, the need for platforms that could connect informal learning to formal learning, the second was the non-existence real change eLearning has made to traditional learning environments. Some experts were talking about eLearning serving to be yet another content delivery channel with content being the same traditional content that was delivered in class.
Some participants shared experiences they had at the class room, like ability for students to send questions by sms to the instructor while in class, another one ability for students to send geology field trip photos by MMS to the class’s blackboard eLearning system.
In general, I believe many educational systems are confusing new technologies as a goal instead of a mean for better teaching and largely ignoring the power of informal learning. And eLearning vendors are supplying tools to enable accessibility of content instead of new ways to teach and learn. Focus is always on the teacher and what he/she needs with little attention being given to the learners and what they need.
All in all it was a great learning experience for me, to see what different people in the Learning “industry” are talking about!