So, I’m looking for a job – each day I log in to several different job searching sites, and every week I go to each of the area post-secondary institutions and scour the job postings for appropriate things that might fit with where I’m at. I have about a decade’s worth of work in e-learning development, mostly in the training side of things, but even with that level of experience, I’m not getting a ton of bites without a degree. It’s thin all around and I think we’re seeing the beginning of the economic hurt that everyone else has felt the last few years in education right now. I can think of five or six other people who are laid off, or had their contracts dropped in the last seven or eight months.
So with things in the education sector looking soft, I’ve been looking at business based opportunities. Of course, lots of training goes on in business, and a lot of that training is going web-based, or has gone web-based already. It seems to me that there’s obviously a fit there, but the one thing that all the business e-learning jobs don’t seem to use the same technology as what the post-secondary institutions use. Why? Surely Blackboard would want those contracts? Why haven’t they moved into the training realm? Or maybe they are there and I just am not seeing it. And why wouldn’t businesses use Blackboard, Wimba and Elluminate (now Blackboard Connect)? Why are they using Cisco and WebEx? Is it because that those are the market that Cisco has gone after? Switching to a new system is never hard for me – it’s just a matter of getting the muscle memory to switch to new actions and learning some new terminology. I can’t wait to start on something new.
I’ve been thinking about the resources we provide for the continued migration of faculty at work from whatever system they’re using (there’s FirstClass, WebCT, Blackboard CE 6, maybe one or two Moodle, several proprietary web-based creations and CourseTools – so a total of 6 different systems) to Desire2Learn. The department has offered over a hundred training sessions over the last year and a bit. We’ve pushed out thirteen multi-page documents in addition to Desire2Learn’s documentation. We have a dozen training videos, and have published all our workshop documentation. We’ve seen probably a hundred or more faculty members walk through our doors for one on one help.
Are we doing too much?
Is there too much information, or are people turned off by the sheer amount of resources and contact we’ve provided? Or maybe is it not enough? Our rough estimates guess that we’ve maybe seen one third of the faculty. Will another two hundred sessions get everyone? What about the part timers? No one pays them to attend workshops, no one pays them to develop resources, but it’s in their best interest to do so (keeping it for themselves and reusing it again or elsewhere).
I think that maybe we’re stifling people’s curiosity – people might explore and innovate with online learning if they had the curiosity to do so. Maybe too much is too much and we’re creating a real version of information overload. If this is the case then we need better ways to manage the information, or to teach these skills to people (which we do not). Maybe we’re killing people’s sense of play by telling them what they should do. I don’t have any answers really, just questions, which if you’ve read my blog at all, you should come to expect.