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THE DESIGN AND BEAUTY OF E-LEARNING

Conversations – Marco Amicucci interviews Pier Giuseppe Rossi from the Macerata University M. A .: I would like to talk about the subject of the e-learning design and beauty what comes to mind? P. G. R.: When I think about design, I think about development and everything that is behind the e-learning process, also from an academic point of view, where beauty is something that concerns the structure and how the devices are synchronised. For me, the beauty of e-learning is in this capacity of the devices to come to life. What does come to life mean? When they are initially developed they are almost empty boxes with materials when people begin to populate them, they become self-propagating structures through with assistance and additional materials provided by the teachers, and the cognitive and affective participation of those involved. M. A .: Design, therefore, as a process of creation and production of an e-learning programme? P. G. R.: Like the production of an e-learning programme that takes place as the course goes on. Conversely, if we think of classroom based courses we see that they are already structured an e-learning course is enriched and nourished as it progresses. It develops after it has started. We very often see e-learning as a chance to perform training when we have the availability of space and time when, for example, people are distant, or when they do not have the time to travel. I think we should promote e-learning for what it does and what classroom training cannot do. Currently, the subject of e-learning skills training allows us to understand what we cannot do with classroom training, thanks to a dialectic focused on the importance of the connection between the experiences of those involved. This is what I mean by beauty as a specificity of e-learning. M. A .: This is all very interesting, because, traditionally, in companies, e-learning was introduced as a solution for reducing costs. I believe that this is only one aspect (obviously a valid one), but e-learning is only really enhanced if its training potential is understood, an aspect that cannot be found in other tools. Can you provide an example in this regard? P. G. R.: I agree. When we compare e-learning to classroom training, we lose a lot. There are examples in training in which the participants become the focal point, because they sustain and enhance the programme. We delivered a training course in the medical field, and added value was not just provided by the intervention of the teachers, but also from the experiences that were explained by the participants. With classroom training, not everyone can speak (there is no time to do this) with e-learning, there are numerous areas of intervention, such as forums and chat. Anyone can participate and bring their expertise. At this point, the work consists in understanding these experiences and being able to extract a common sense, trying to construct a theory. In classroom sessions the participants transmit know-how, whereas here it’s about developing it, or rather, making know-how rooted in the experience of the participants emerge. M. A .: Tell us about the new frontiers of e-learning. P. G. R.: There are two basic factors. The first factor concerns the fact that currently e-learning allows the economic benefits of space and time. It enables the involvement of people who are in very distant places at different times. The second factor is that we can think of programmes in packages delivered through interventions that only last for a few minutes (5-10). Sometimes, learning is more effective in daily five minute slots than three continuous hours the attention span, due to tiredness, [can decrease]. The other advantage, which I would also like to see fully enhanced by companies, is when the training covers skills that have already been acquired by those who are invited to participate in the training in this case the programme serves to standardise the levels, propagate and disseminate them, and reach agreement on certain respects. E-learning has formats that enable and facilitate this contact between experience and innovation, because it works if people feel it is based on personal experience. An innovation that is seen as being too distant is unlikely to be perceived. If, instead, the link between the present and the future is understood, innovation quickly becomes a daily practice. I think that in relation to these economic advantages, due to the possibility of spreading training over time, and the possibility of working on skills, e-learning has something extra that classroom based training does not. M. A .: Help us to give a broader overview on e-learning from an academic point of view. How does it fit in? Is it a matter of learning science or is it more about computers? P. G. R.: If we think e-learning in the last thirty years, it has changed a lot: we have progressed from email, to videos, to special formats. True e-learning was developed with computers, when they became our traveling companion. But in the early days we tried to insert what we did in classroom sessions into e-learning. Subsequently, since 2005, when web 2.0 became routine, a series of sharing tools have become standard practices for e-learning. Staff skilla

Scritto da: Staff skilla

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