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Elearning Course
and now, for something completely different...

August 27, 2002

The "non-course" Course

I'm often surprised (and frustrated) when proponents of a new concept use the very techniques they oppose to communicate their ideas. For example, several years ago I attended a presentation where the speaker predicted the "death of lectures" as a means of communicating information. How was the information communicated?...in lecture format.

Lately I've been yipping about the need for a shifted perspective on who provides content in the learning experience - the instructor, student, or both. In an information society, the concept of one person (i.e. the instructor) playing the sole role of information provision, seems antiquated. Things change...fast! The teacher is the student is the teacher.

While an exploratory, community-created knowledge building process (spiraling knowledge - I present a concept, you tweak it and improve it, next person improves on that, etc.) is not suitable for all areas, it certainly seems like a great way to explore the emerging field of elearning.

The proposal:

A non-traditional course on online learning. Instead of having an instructor provide the content, a facilitator provides a topic topic for the group to debate and disseminate. Essentially, the content is one sentence...i.e. "What is the effectiveness of elearning when compared with traditional classroom delivery." That's it. From there, the group dissects the issue. Learners (and the facilitator is a learner in this process) present viewpoints, provide links to articles, resources, and theories.

At the conclusion of the week, the discussions will be summarized and presented as a paper on elearnspace.

The following are proposed weekly topics:

  1. Elearning vs. classroom
  2. Instructional Design
  3. Interaction
  4. Student preparation
  5. Facilitation
  6. Elearning marketing and adoption
  7. Work/learning integration
  8. Trends
  9. Return on investment/measuring
  10. Enterprise application integration
  11. Media and elearning – games/streaming
  12. Models for designing elearning


  • Each class will consist of a maximum of 15 people. By participating in the course, learners agree to have comments aggregated and published on elearnspace (not for profit or sale).
  • To ensure effective discussion and evaluation of each topic, all participants should be prepared to contribute on a daily basis (or even through out the day).
  • The course will be hosted on Yahoo Groups - but the discussion will be private. Only the comments (without identities listed) will be posted publicly.


Cost: None - just your time
Start date: mid-September
Registration: Email me

If you are interested in a more formal course in elearning, Gene Semchych, Steve Yurkiw, and I are currently developing a course on "Teaching Online" for Red River College's Distance Education Department. This course should be available by the end of September. I will keep you informed via elearnspace blog.

Finally, this concept of informal learning through mailing list was inspired by Jane Knight from the e-Learning Centre.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License