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Location: Meensel-Kiezegem, Belgium

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Plenary Session - speakers

Four speakers presented their bird's eye view on the eLearning landscape and developments during a 12 minute presentation.

*. Gabriel Ferraté (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya).

Three keywords of his presentation were: Virtual - Global - Ubiquitous.
In short, his view is that the whole world will become one campus. Important is the transition from a virtual campus to a meta (global) campus: connecting institutes all over the world.
Not revolutionary, but he stressed enormously that a virtual university is not just the online version of a conventional university. Teaching, learning, managemement, recruitment... all have to be re-thought, making the process nontrivial.
All over the world, we can witness virtual universities performing sub-standard (or worse, going broke).

*. W. Hodgins (Autodesk Inc.) (think tank)

Very passionate talk about technology, innovation and creativity. His main thought was 'do the impossible!'. We should not be afraid to try new things which seem farfetched or impossible at first. The technology moves at such an amazing pace that seemingly impossible projects can become feasible and affordable in no time.

Learning, he stated, is also so much bigger than training or education. We consistly forget informal learning or on-the-job learning in our elearning proceses or procedures.

Key words were EVERY ONE LEARNING. From 'anyone anytime anywhere' to everyone everytime everywhere. Ubiquitous learning and conectivity.
From everyone to 'the right one on the right place on the right time': one person, one context, one need, one time.

He sees a nice future for mass contribution: blogging facilitates the sharing and reusing of ideas, content, experiences... Tagging (folksonomies) are another example of the mass which contributes.

Very passionate and enthousiastic talk.

*. Hans Ulrich Maerki (IBM EMEA).

The main introductory idea of his talk was that we are not fulfilling the promises we made in 2001 (becoming the most competitive knowledge-society).
He acknowledged that also the companies (i.c. IBM) made promises on a technological level which have not been kept: user-friendliness, connectivity, interoperability... are all sub-standard, complicating even further the adoption of meaningful elearning practices.

The transformation of our education by ICT, which has been long predicted, did not occur.

He focused on four key points:
- permanent learning: strong focus on non-formal and lifelong learning
- broadband penetration is the key: countries with higher penetration, score better with regards to e-government, e-inclusion, elearning and lifelong learning.
- collaborative computing throughout the world, with technology that should be a lot better than current collaboration-software.
(this point comes back quiet often: how technological barriers (user-friendliness, usability) complicated an already nontrivial process).
- ubiquitous learning/computing/collaborating, custom tailored for every learner (formal and informal).

Innovation, he stated, should not be confused with invention. Innovation is the use of an invented technology for doing new things. Not doing the same old things in a different manner.

*. Mikko Salminen (Nokia Learning Centre Network)

The presenter promoted the use of a large variety in delivery methods: e-learning, classroom learning, m-learning, but (especially) a strong focus on on-the-job learning. 70% of the obtained skills, result from informal learning. 20% from coaching or team-learning, and only 10% from formal learning paths or courses.

Therefore, he stressed that we should focus on developing the right mindset and not on content delivery.


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