Posted by: Gillian | July 5, 2011

TELMap – future learning landscapes

Objectives of TELMap project for European technology enhanced learningWhere and how we learn is changing. Last week in Lisbon, the TELMap project group met to brainstorm the challenges that lie ahead in meeting the education and training needs of a growing, more long-lived and more mobile population. This is far from a closed discussion and the first report will be made available for comment soon but George Siemens asked why we were focusing on technology enhanced learning (TEL), was it even necessary, and at the EdMedia conference the next day two people challenged my tweets from TELMap saying that ‘real’ university education required long years on campus. As George’s blog about updating education shows, he’s heavily involved in TEL but it is not a panacea to solve all learning needs any more than are traditional university degrees.  The key to an open, democratic knowledge society is to make learning available whenever and, as far as possible wherever, individuals of any age require it. For those who fear commodification of education, yesterday’s announcement that Royal Holloway, University of London is to validate a business degree developed by leading educational publisher Pearson is an unwelcome sign yet there is no reason why modern online conferencing facilities, whiteboards, mindmaps and networking tools should not make that degree every bit as challenging, varied and knowledge-developing (as opposed to knowledge-delivering) as any single-site campus degree. Telmap project contact detailsAt TELMap the focus was less on the input knowledge chunks and more on a post-Adam Smith society where the Gordian knot of current assessment practices needs cutting, a culture of lifelong learning needs fostering and what you know and can apply at any given point in your life really is more important than where or how you learned it. That is an inherently individualistic approach to learning and to make sense of it on a global scale will require a whole raft of technological solutions. The technologies will not replace traditional  universities entirely but they will become an indispensible part of them, broadening the student base, personalising the curriculum, finding and making effective use of sources of information no matter where they may be located. Do join the conversation…



  1. If technology can be used to level the playing field such as online delivery of learning with good chat / whiteboard coupled with skype-ish facilities, it will bring great learning opportunities to those who have somehow “missed the boat” during their younger days. Thus great learning technology will also allow lifelong learning to be better achieved and sometimes at reduced costs. So the “know-how” part of the equation for higher education will be continually being made more readily available via learning technology. The key question is the other part of the equation for higher education….the “know-who”….

    Traditional on site / brick and mortar universities provides a great way for people to meet and network over a prolonged period (with contemporaries) and later networking with a few “generations” of fellow graduates via various chapters of the alumni association. This perhaps is not so easily achieved with online learning where people learning in the same course may never have any physical meetings. Human are social animal and our instinct to forge long lasting relationships centred more on face-to-face meetings. No major deals are ever done with skype alone…so I think this is the part that the traditional universities will always have an edge.

    My 2 sens worth…..

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