There is a discussion in the ELearning Professionals group on LinkedIn, “Does E-Learning have limitations? Can someone learn anything via E-Learning?…”

One of the responses is from Tony Bates, a name synonymous with e-learning and technologies. I loved one of the paragraphs he wrote and want to share it. So, with Tony’s approval, here it is:

“I think we have matured enough now in online learning that we should be willing to recognize situations where online learning is not the best solution. What we lack though are well-tested theories that identify the factors that facilitate or inhibit its appropriate application. Indeed, for me that is now probably the most important design decision to be made: should I teach this program/topic fully online, should it be blended (and if so what should go online and what done face-to-face) or should it be all face-to-face?”

As we have matured, we are more likely to recognise the limitations of e-learning and technologies. In some cases, these limitations can be addressed, but that may mean more money than is available. I’m thinking specifically of the limitations of a lot of the videoconferencing I see versus a full videoconference room setup. Sometimes, however, while not the best solution, it is the only reasonable solution.

I do still like the approach of considering what can be done with a technology, such as a virtual world, that cannot be done well in other ways. That is one great opportunity with online learning in addition to providing access where education and training would otherwise not be available.

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