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The problem with a lot of “e-learning” resources

I’ve been reviewing a lot of so called e-learning resources recently and trying to work out my my gut reaction to them tends to be so negative. Recently, I had a lightbulb moment.

The problem is that the authors have tried to create something that replaced the teacher. The result is slides or animations with too much text for use as a whole class resources, but that can’t be used by many schools which simply don’t have 1:1 a or 1:2 computer access.

I suspect that the key is that less is more. Rather than having all the information on screen, it would be better if the creators had used the notes section of ppt or provide a teacher briefing paper to go along side the resources. It might stop them being used as a last minute lesson filler, but would make their educational value much greater by empowering teachers rather than publishers to be the ones responsible for how they can be used to the best effect with a particular group of learners.

What are the best examples of ‘off the shelf’ e-learning resources that you’ve seen, either commercially or online? What makes them so good in your view?

Dave Stacey

5 Comments

  1. Off the shelf (and I assume, subject specific) educational resources have often disappointed me.

    To me best best online resources are those which allow teachers and, crucially, students to be creative regardless of their subject.

    The internet os full of information. Allowing the students – under our guidance and facilitation – to find that information to then use it in creating a unique piece of work ticks all the sound pedagogy boxes in my opinion.

  2. Not all e-learning resources can be tarred with this brush Dave. All of the activities we create are for the teacher to use at the front of the class – and we are conscious never to make the resource the teacher…so I hope we aren’t included in your feelings of negativity? 🙁

  3. Hi Mel,

    Actually I worry that they are all tarred by the same brush, but I certainly don’t mean to attack the work you and organisations like you do.

    I’ve had another at explaining what I mean here

  4. As someone who has created e-learning resources, you are normally given a brief and have to stick to it because that is what the publisher wants (unless you manage to convince them). What I really think needs to be considered is why use them? I notice that you mentioned that it could be used as a last minute lesson filler – the resources are only as good as the person using them. If the resources are not up to the job, they should be disregarded but that is a decision that can only be made by thinking about what you are trying to teach and what you want the student to learn. Technology allows us to extend our abilities but they key issue is really the user and their ability to discern whether it is useful or not.

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