Learning as Ecosystem: Are we asking the right question

Today I am attending the annual Conference of the E-Learning Industry Group in Berlin, listeing to speakers confronting the theme of “The Digital Turn”.

One thing which stroke me is a comment from Chris Dede from the Harvard Graduate School for Education. He emphasized that actually we are talking to much about searching for the right model to use and imolement technology for learning. BUT that in fact education and learning is not a question of the (technology or scaling) model and that every model actually has its restrictions. And that we risk to exchange one model with its restrictions against another model with other restructions and loose sight to see that actuall education and learning is rather to be understood as an ecosystem. In this ecosystem the different learners have different needs for their learning. I found this a wonderful comment because it refocusses the entire debate on education again. It seems to me: The (learning)technology debate needs revamping in the direction to support providing flexibility and make the different flexible solutions relevant for the institutions in which learning takes place.

For me the following questions came to mind immediatelly: Do we actually ask the right qestion when thinking about technology solutions – or is the underpinning issue not rather the way we organise education in our eductaional institutions, which does not value the concept of one approach to learning for each individual but rather values one approach for learning for all.

Wonderful inspiring – a good meeting.


About Ulf-Daniel Ehlers

Prof. Dr. phil. habil. Ulf-Daniel Ehlers is Vicepresident for Quality and Academic Affairs at the Baden Wurttemberg-State University in Stuttgart, Germany. He has been appointed Professor for Educational Management and Lifelong Learning at the same university. Before he has held positions as Associate Professor in the University Duisburg-Essen (Germany), Professor for Technology Enhanced Learning in the University Augsburg (Germany) and Associate Professor of the Graduate School for Management and Technology of the University of Maryland University College (USA). Ulf is an educational scientist and holds degrees in English Language, Social Sciences and Educational Sciences from the University of Bielefeld, where he finished his Ph.D. with honors in the field of Technology Enhanced Learning in 2003, and was awarded his habilitation in 2008 from the University of Duisburg-Essen. He has created many international, European and national projects and was involved in founding the European Foundation for Quality in E-Learning, in which he served as Vicepresident and President for several terms. He has also served as President and Vicepresident of the of the largest german speaking e-learning Association, the Society for Media in Science (GMW e.V.) as well as serving on advisory boards to several professional associations in the field. Before his career in academia he has been a successful and award winning entrepreneur in the field of webbased IT Technologies and founder of several companies.
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