E-Learning Is Not E-Teaching

I woke up this morning with a start. It was about 6:30 AM, which meant it was early enough to be almost light out, but late enough that going back to sleep was an exercise in futility. I was having a dream that I was giving a speech in front of my colleagues, the faculty of the Language Studies department. After being introduced by the dean of the department, I gave my “farewell” speech. Or at least it felt like it. Here’s what I recall of it:

I hope that my absence will not be seen as a reason to abandon e-learning, but a platform for you to take the next step. I have shown you different tools to use, now you have to use them without my aid. The shift from e-teaching to e-learning has already happened. E-learning is not e-teaching. You are no longer in control of what happens in the classroom. The students are in control. You are a guide, not a director. Show people how to learn, don’t teach them.

Clearly, all this theory work in the CCK08 course and the facilitation course are starting to sink in. Even in my unconscious state. I think though my subconscious though brought forth an interesting idea. E-learning is not e-teaching. So many people use e-learning as an e-teaching place. They use the new technology with the old rules because they don’t see the distinction, even though it’s right there on the name. E-learning. Learning, not teaching. Subtle difference I suppose, but it’s there. It’s spelling out the paradigm shift that’s already shifted (and I’d say that we’re in the process of shifting again, beyond a learner centred focus).

3 Replies to “E-Learning Is Not E-Teaching”

  1. While I work in the field, many educators and supervisors of e-learning fail to grasp the distinction you’ve identified. In fact, many e-learning courses still look very much like online textbooks.

    Until teachers see this for themselves, and begin to provide opportunities to interact with media beyond the walled-garden of their online courses, ‘e-learning’ might better be renamed e-teaching; e-instruction; online teaching…

  2. Joe LaFitte says:

    “I had a dream …..”

    A lot can be held in a word, teaching is certainly different from learning as is e-learning from e-teaching. Many are still trying to do old things with new tools be they web sites, smartboards, lms. It will take some time for people to be converted to the new paradigms of learning and conversley teaching.

  3. Hi Rodd –

    Maybe I’m hung up on semantics – which is something that I’m interested in more than something I’ve studied. I think one of the problems people face (as informed educators – informed in the sense of educational theories) is that we see the theory but haven’t envisioned the practical side of it. Until we get there, it’s frustrating. I don’t think we’ll see a jump from a behaviourist mode over constructivist to connectivism, but probably things will settle down as we all understand ‘e-learning’ better.

    Joe – Oh man, with the Obama win, and the inauguration a day after MLK’s birthday, maybe I had that in my subconscious. Certainly, I don’t want to seem that self-important! I agree that once someone figures out a better way to do things, things will start to shift quicker. Unfortunately, some of the people in charge are blissfully unaware of “a better way” and stuck in the way they are.

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