Can You Create A Community In A Virtual World?

When you think of online training, you often think about one-on-one interactions. The professor to the student. But now, many virtual environments are creating more collaborative and interactive portals. These E-Learning hubs are becoming the place for individuals from around the world to talk and share problems and solutions. 

In part one of our interview, with the Morino Institute's Mario Morino and Katie Paris, we talked about the hype surrounding E-Learning. The myths and misconceptions. In part two of the interview with Chris Dorobek, Morino and Paris shared how blended learning is creating a community of learning. 

"We were really impressed by was something called the Stanford Online High School. They are doing high school with advanced students totally online, using the best of how you can interact online and draw out the best of students. But, they still meet together for graduation every year. It is so important to have that human contact. That is where we are going to continue to realize the whole experience, when you can couple online learning with human interactions," said Paris. 

  • Key Insight: "The original mooks, were not reaching tens of thousands of students, but they were doing many of the things that people now are learning and realizing to improve mooks to engage students so they actually complete courses. We are seeing very low completion rates now. Those original mooks did have engagements. We all started hearing about them, when some mooks out of Stanford literally attracted over 100,000 students. Now that re-think is occurring. We are going to see that evolution. It is exciting to watch," said Paris.

Are there places where E-Learning doesn't work well?

"It is not as simple as saying if it is not a math or science course it doesn’t work for eLearning, what we are seeing it is very possible to do authentic relationship building online. You can learn not just basic skills, but have robust deeper conversations that include a whole diverse range, potentially globally of people in those conversations. But there are some things like dance, sure that is not going to work digitally," said Paris.

  • Key Insight: "You also have to look at the experience of the learning itself, for example, we do a lot with children who learn differently, kids with dyslexia, ADHD. Some of the eLearning can benefit them greatly, but they still need structured learning with a human involved in that process. You are not going to replace that," said Morino.

Innovative E-Learning ideas are coming from outsiders?

"I ran a software company and we lived this issue. Because what happens is as a provider or an institution you have a product line, a series of offerings, overtime that becomes somewhat calcified. You tend to innovate within that concept, you see everything from that lens. Your ability to see outside of that world is very difficult. Very few firms ever have sustainable innovation. What you do see is the individual that is no longer bound by the learning liability. They don’t know any better so they come up with totally out of the blue. Innovation comes from the periphery not the core. A person can’t be limited in their way of thinking and still be innovative," said Morino. 

What should people be watching for?

"Keep in mind how much of learning takes places on the job. The day to day interactions we learn about how to do work. It is not formal training, but studies have shown 70-80% of the funds that organizations spend on training goes to formal training, in classrooms. Whereas 70-80% of the learning actually takes place is on the job. One of the reasons we are so excited about the potential future of just-in-time learning is really integrating some of the learning that happens in the everyday environment. What do I need to learn right now that is going to make me better, faster and more effective at my job right now. There is so much out there so it is going to take a lot of tailoring to individual needs. We are going to need a learning concierge, that person within an organization that can help individuals navigate and find the materials that are  just in time resources to help them do their job better," said Paris.

  • Key Insight: "The important thing is to just do it. The way you will get an appreciation of this is to just jump in and try it. It doesn’t have to be in a formal education. We are seeing people have these aha moments once they try one of the courses," said Morino. "Turn to the kids. Turn to the millennials. Ask them for advice. They are doing these things naturally."

In Part One: Morino and Paris will told us more about the myths of E-Learning.  

Other Virtual Training Resources:

Interested in standing up a virtual internship program at your agency? I'd encourage you to reach out to GovLoop's Director of Training and Development, Andrew Krzmarzick, who can help you with the process. Email ([email protected]) or call (202-352-1806) him and he'd be happy to talk more. 





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