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Tuesday, November 09, 2004

CIT – Carole Twigg 

Carole Twigg’s keynote speech Improving Learning and Reducing Costs: New Models for Online Learning certainly grabbed my attention as doing better and more with less is essentially what everybody is trying to do with IT in education.

Carole first started by refuting some common assumptions about technology, which I found very appropriate as I deal with a lot of people who have those beliefs:
· Improving quality does not necessarily equals increasing costs
· IT does not necessarily increase costs
· Technology-delivered learning does not necessarily threaten quality

Then Carole stated that the biggest obstacle to innovation is thinking that it can be done the old way. She cited the famous example of the Pony Express that reacted to the invention of the telegraph by hiring better riders and buying better horses while their business model had in fact been rendered obsolete by technology. Another example she gave is the ATM, which was initially used in… banks. The real revolution came when ATM were put in malls, bars and other public buildings.

So, following Carole’s idea, the real gains of IT will be reached when we stop doing things the old-fashioned way with it. Not a new message but always a relevant one. Here’s what she proposes:
· Redesign the course, not the class
· Replace single-mode instruction with differentiated personnel
· Rely heavily on existing software; independently or in teams
· Create small within large (customization)
· Use a CMS for monitoring
· Assess all the time
· Emphasize active learning
· Provide 24X7 access to resources
· Increase on-demand, individualized assistance
· Automate what can benefit from it

Her redesign models:
· Supplemental (soft change)
· Replacement (blended learning)
· Emporium (move all classes to a lab setting)
· Fully online
· Buffet (customization of learning, refers a lot to O’Banion’s Learning College)

Not bad stuff. However, to talk about redesigning courses and programs seems a lot like putting ATM in banks to me…

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