Technological Inroads in e- Learning : A Theoretical Standpoint
The objective of adoption of technology in learning is to create an attractive as well a meaningful Individual learning experience. Where-ever a critical mass of learners are involved, technology in learning enables high degree customization of learning based on learning objectives and learners profile i.e. preferences and styles.
Very often e - learning technology is not backed by an adequate level of e- learning support, as has been seen in various organization- wide surveys.
Therefore, e-learning technology needs to revolve around creation of e- learning community of learners integrated through social media and social collaboration platforms.
As per Blooms Taxonomy, the younger learners in the workforce may have a quest for knowledge based learning at initial stages of their career, therefore the level and depth of learning is likely to be more cognitive. The younger workforce are unlikely to ask the “Why Questions” as there is no definite time frame for application of the learning. In contrast the older learners in the workforce would appreciate real world scenarios and examples for immediate application of the learning. They would need to have a compelling reason on “why” the learning must be undertaken. Their interest, involvement and participation can grow if continuous feedback is taken from them on their Individual learning experiences through surveys and personal interactions. Trial and error and opportunities to fail in projects and assignment post the e- learning can re-enforce the learning provided.
As per Malcolm Knowles, adult learners prefer to absorb rather than memorize and prefer learning by doing. In contrast younger learners store information for long term memory through repetition and experiences.
This requires a deep understanding of learning demographics. Further it would call for understanding who is an “Adult Learner” in the context of application of Technology in Learning. The yardstick of classification of Workforce demographics need not be the same for categorization of Learner demographics. Further does the understanding of who is an “adult learning” vary in Corporates vis a vis Educational sector.
In a recent in – company survey by a large manufacturing organization, it was found that the usage of e- learning was higher amongst the older employees than the newer ones. Also the uptake of e- learning modules is Independent of level / position in the Organizational hierarchy. In fact, the senior leadership visited the e- learning courses more often than the middle and junior levels.
It may be interesting to explore the occurrence of the phenomena from a Learning theory perspective.
Like Bloom, Merrill propounded the Component Design Theory based on Instructional Design strategies residing in the cognitive domain. In order to enhance the learners experience, Merrill indicates two domains namely Content and Performance. The program content may be either fact, concepts, procedures or principles related. The contents could be either Expository or Inquisitory. Generally contents relating to rules and examples are expository and recall and Practices related are Inquisitory. In order to enhance performance through remembrance, usage or Find, different memory structures come into play. For Learners requiring remembrance, especially of Rules and Examples, we need Algorithmic Learning ( schemas), whereas for Recall and Practices, we need Associative Learning.
Conclusion : Application of Technology needs to be based on Learning objectives, demographic profiles, learner profiles that are well integrated with the aforesaid 3 theories of Bloom, Knowles and Merrill.