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January 12, 2010

Rethinking Traditional Constructs with New Media

In this age of "new media" new approaches to old constructs need to be developed. 

One example is that the classroom experience...or some part of it has moved online as a virtual classroom. Another example is that texting has now replaced voice mail messages as the number one use for cell phones. As learning and development professionals, our goal should be to leverage technologies available to create new and enhanced experiences for our learners.

For example, it is possible to teach an online course using a Facebook page as the central location for posting information and ideas.

Yet, another, more recent example is that of a virtual book tour replacing a physical book tour. In a virtual book tour, the stops are on different blogs instead of different cities. 

In the elearning blogosphere, Tony O'Driscoll and I are conducting a virtual blog book tour for the launch of our new book about a new technology for learning and collaboration. The idea is  to build a discussion around the topic of virtual worlds for learning and to get feedback on the topic and subject through the tour. You can learn about the Blog Book Tour here. The idea of a blog book tour could be extended to a virtual book club in which members share information about the book via a Facebook page or a series of blogs. 

As an example, we've created a Facebook Fan page for Learning in 3D where readers can exchange ideas and information about their impressions of the book. Imagine the value of having employees within a large company read a business book and connect for a monthly book club meeting virtually...perhaps even in a 3D virtual world.

The real benefit of newer technologies is that they can enhance and contribute to the learning we provide our colleagues if we use them in new and innovative ways. For example, use Twitter to engage learners in discussions about specific topics mentioned in class. Use a hashtag so that learners can search on the results of the conversation after it is over. Again, as an example, we are using the hashtag #lrn3d to aggregate the discussions around the book "Learning in 3D" you can view the results by going into Twitter and searching on the #lrn3d hashtag. 

This simple examples of rethinking traditional learning and developing constructs with new media provide a rich toolkit from which we learning and development professionals can provide our learners with the right knowledge at the right time.

Karl Kapp is the Assistant Director of Bloomsburg University’s Institute for Interactive Technologies and a professor ofSignature2  instructional technology. See his own blog, Kapp Notes for information on the convergence of learning and technology. He is the author of the book Learning in 3D: Adding a New Dimension to Enterprise Learning and Collaboration. 


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Technology in education can be great if it's used properly, but it can be a real hindrance if it is not done properly, and teachers and students have to be more worried about the tech than their actual course material. Some proper IT service can really be helpful in those situations and well worth the price.

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Impressive post. My colleagues and I were just discussing this the other day. Also your page looks great on my old blackberry. Now thats uncommon. Nice work.

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