Course about technology-enhanced learning at workplace – reflection

This term had I new problem-based course with the IT-management master students about technology-enhanced learning at the workplace. Students in that course work mainly in public institutions – ministries as a IT managers.

The initial idea of the course was to  to support the enhancement of the knowledge and skills of the students to plan, implement and evaluate the technology-enhanced informal learning in the organization. Technologies that would support the workplace learning were planned to be technologies developed in Learning Layers.

Following phases were planned for the course: a) Students conduct the survey for finding out what kind of technology-enhanced learning practices can be identified in their organization, what could be changed and what kind of challenges can be faced with the focus on implementing technology for supporting learning; b) Students  design the technology-based learning activities and possible scenarios with the technological prototypes in the organization; c) Students evaluate the technology-enhanced learning scenarios with the technological prototypes.

The reality was a bit different, mainly of two reasons: the planned technologies were not in the state as initially planned and secondly, the institutions, where students are coming from, are quite restricted, so planning any new technologies is like.. impossible. I was encouraging them to imagine and dream that if it could be possible, how would you do then..

Most of them chose the technologies that the organization is already using, but not purposely. Most of the employees in their organizations are knowledge consumers who read newsletters, follow intranet or e-mails and never contribute to the organizational level knowledge. So they designed their scenarios with the focus on knowledge sharing and documenting the professional practices. As a result it turned out to be really interesting. Some of the evaluations of the scenarios with their colleagues turned out to be really successful, because they took the scenarios into real plan for the near future.

In the end of the course we had short reflection about the course. The main thing what they said was that next iteration of the course should not be about designing and evaluating so much, because it is more “managers’ issue” and less “IT-issue”. But they are more “IT-persons”. They would like to hear more about concrete technologies that are used in different SMEs, larger organizations for supporting learning, knowledge sharing. Based on the different research results, I could introduce the learning and knowledge sharing practices that work in different organizations. So, lets see.

For myself the course was extremely pleasant experience. I’ve never had such a group of learners and I’m glad I had a chance to teach them and to learn from them.

Update – I wrote short description of the course to Learning Layers Open Design Library as well, can be found here.