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The Race to Develop the Future of E-Learning

This article is a continuation of Part I which dealt with the need for a renewed vision for e-learning. In Part II, we take a step into the future, and the focus is on the need to innovate. One of the greatest challenges we have as e-learning communities is that we are tied to formulaic ways of developing learning experiences, to the point that the formula is the only way to advance new learning experiences. For example, consider the state of learning in higher education. Despite the advancement into a more powerful realm of globally connected learning, we still see the professor at the front of the room, using the Socratic method of instruction, and the students using their laptops to take notes in the Socratic style.

The loss of engagement is due to the realization that the students know that in their connected world there are more exciting and innovative ways to learn and explore, and so when they see their profs still teaching the same way and pretending to implement the use of technology, they feel cheated and disengaged. It has been found in university classes where laptops are used that many students admit that they are not on task and are instead using social media such as Facebook, TikTok, X/Twitter, and other popular social media platforms.

Who really loses here?

If the drivers to develop global e-learning communities are no longer the ones that were tied to the industrial economy mindset, then we are faced with the question:

What should the new drivers be for such a new vision, and does this mean that education and business no longer have a viable stake in this enterprise?

To answer these questions, we need to think in terms of a new paradigm that says that the main driver should be the quest for a new level and form of education that is dedicated to the enrichment of the quality of life for all societies, regardless of their socioeconomic status. Given the state of the world, we cannot afford to be protectionists in our viewpoint and look out for number one. History is filled with descriptions of assaults on fortresses and, more importantly, what drove these assaults. Global needs must be the new drivers for change. Right now, global societies need:

  • Citizens who have been educated with the goal of becoming effective agents of change within their own region of the world.
  • Citizens who are effective problem solvers when confronted with the complex, real-world problems that impact every facet of human life on the planet.
  • Citizens who know how to collaborate with others in the world on a global scale when tasked with a problem.
  • Citizens who are creative, entrepreneurial innovators who can create new knowledge and skillsets to the benefit of all people.
  • Citizens who have the mindset of putting “WE” before “ME” in their dedication to enriching the quality of life for those they relate to and work with.

If business organizations were to look at the above list, would they not concur that the values they see would also be important core values for them to adopt for their own learning cultures within their businesses? The new paradigm changes the relationship of business to education from the decades-old viewpoint that business defines and dictates what outcomes should be the end results of education to a new viewpoint that is more symbiotic in nature. Businesses need to see that the ROI is far greater in a forged symbiotic relationship with education because this age of knowledge and learning really sees healthy progress in the promotion of systemic life-long learning for all citizens, especially those who will lead and work in the new global businesses of the 21st century. Far from businesses being left out, their role needs transformation to reflect a new relationship that is more in sync with this age. 

What we are faced with is the perfect storm when it comes to the advancement of learning!

The arrival of technological advancements such as AI, global e-learning, and the exponential increase of information across multiple disciplines suggests that we need to truly develop global e-learning communities.

Building Global E-Learning Communities

Since we are talking about global e-learning communities, we need to make sure that we lay a solid foundation for implementation. If these communities are completely online, this means that we would have to define what we could use to host them. Our choices range between using the cloud or creating VPNs (Virtual Private Networks). Here is one area where business finds its opportunities because, regardless of whether you use the “cloud” or a “VPN,” a subscription to the service would be required. My choice would be to go with a business that can host the creation of VPNs, because what I would suggest is better security. When working in an online environment, security should be a number one priority.

Establishment of Global E-Learning Portals

When we understand that it is the global communities we want to reach, we know that we need to establish global e-learning portals set to serve six defined regions in the world.

What I am about to suggest comes with a number of disclaimers:

  • This is conceptual, and its purpose is to get you to become involved in useful conversations as you consider the possibilities. It is not my intent to suggest that these are THE configurations and the only ones to consider. These concepts are the product of my thoughtful engagement with e-learning.
  • The titling of these portals again is open to revision, but I think you will also discern my thinking behind their choice.
  • The composition of the families of countries is again not something that I intend to dictate, but I would welcome the thoughts of others as to other pertinent criteria to be considered in the choice of participants in each global e-learning portal.

Portal #1: The Northern Hemisphere Pacific Portal
Portal #2: The Southern Hemisphere Pacific Portal
Portal #3: The Northern Hemisphere Atlantic Portal
Portal #4: The Southern Hemisphere Atlantic Portal
Portal #5: The Mediterranean & Central EU Portal
Portal #6: The Indian Ocean & Middle East Portal

With respect to the first four portals, the equator is a determining factor. Also, I am not so naïve as to not recognize that the selection of which countries belong to what e-learning portal will require cultural, political, historical, and economical relationships among them to be considered. This requires a great desire to really try to understand the world from each other’s point of view and be comfortable enough to discuss it to develop strong ties in developing a unified vision for e-learning.

A typical portal would be akin to a lobby with a number of doors similar in concept to the drawing below.

Credit: www.on24.com


To avoid the new malady of “cognitive overload,” which I have mixed emotions about, I will focus more on the new global e-learning portals and the importance of a new symbiotic relationship between business and education in the next article. Let me leave you with this question in regard to e-learning communities:

 What does the Starlink Satellite network (Elon Musk), Generative A.I., and quantum computer farms all have in common?

Ken Turner
Ken Turner
I am an explorer and innovator at heart who would like to see the continued advancement of virtual education for all ages. I have been employed in the e-learning area as a course designer and an online instructor for 22yrs (Oct. 2001 to 2024) for www.virtualhighschool.com. Before and during that time, I was also a brick-and-mortar classroom educator for elementary and senior high school levels of education. I have university degrees of B.A., B.Ed., and M.Ed. with an emphasis on curriculum design. I believe that we are on the cusp of the creation of a culture of innovation that will break us free from a tired and out of sync industrial model of education which not only holds learners back but also stifles innovation in the business sector.

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