I attended as an assisting organizer a conference entitled “eLearning & Corporate Competence”
at Kalastajatorppa, a Hilton hotel in Helsinki. Attendees included
high-profile people from the sector of eLearning in Finland, both
providers and customers. I was asked by Juha-Matti Arola from KONE corporation to work on the interactivity part of the conference, especially the learning buffet event.
was also interested in possibilities of corporate blogging and for that
purpose we created a blog for him. During the conference event we
posted over 10 posts, one being a podcast, right from the event. In
learning buffet we had George Siemens and Stephen Downes throwing a co-presentation about the changing nature of online learning. We used Skype for audio, S5 for slides, Dorgem for webcam, CGI::IRC for
chat (modified to receive mobile text messages) and some other
tools to carry out a very interactive and self-organizing event. Our
blog software, audio editing software, servers and everything else was
also Open Source. Next time I might try Gizmo project for audio, which relies more on open standards.
We also had teleconferences carried out with Centra where people like Jay Cross
gave presentations but my purpose was to show that all this technology
is already available for everyone who wants to be a prosumer, a creator
or a creative remixer in the networked world. The technology is cheap
(often no-cost and/or Open Source) and available for all. The
technology is able to achieve the exactly same capabilities and even
more than commercial alternatives. Online collaboration is already here
and not anymore a luxury of those who have the resources.
You can read all our blog reportages including presentations from
people like Stephen Downes, George Siemens, Jay Cross, Pirjo Ståhle,
Esko Kilpi, Bo Harald and others at Juha-Matti Arola’s blog.
I had a positive feeling at the conference. It seems a lot of people
think that platforms for online learning are dead. The approach to
design a business process for online learning, in which the learning is
only carried out in a separate learning environment and not embedded in
the work practices themselves is faulty. Information system-driven
business process thinking is dropping dramatically. Informal learning
also received a lot of attention and there was a lot of discussion how
we could support informal learning inside and outside organizations.
Our blogging effort and working as creators instead of consumers at the
conference was a living example of informal learning.
Another good thing is that many companies have moved from
technology-driven approach to competence-driven approach.
Technology is a very small part of their offering, the work always
starts from analyzing the needs, capabilities and people before
implementing any technology.
I also had a few good conversations why learning objects are dead as
well. Open Content, Open Source, consumers as creators, social software
and Web 2.0 also became familiar to people who attended the conference.