Rethinking the classroom as a tool for learning, innovation

As many organizations have come to view e-learning as a “holy grail” for employee training, traditional classroom learning has gotten shortchanged. That’s the opinion of e-learning Elliott Masie in the December issue of his Learning Decisions newsletter. In an imaginary Q&A interview with “the classroom,” Masie points out that traditional, instructor-led training, conducted in existing […]

As many organizations have come to view e-learning as a “holy grail” for employee training, traditional classroom learning has gotten shortchanged. That’s the opinion of e-learning Elliott Masie in the December issue of his Learning Decisions newsletter. In an imaginary Q&A interview with “the classroom,” Masie points out that traditional, instructor-led training, conducted in existing classrooms, still provides most organizations with the lion’s share of their employee training value today.

According to Masie, many organizations that have made significant investments in e-learning initiatives haven’t spent any time considering how to upgrade or update their existing classrooms. Through the voice of the “classroom” (his interviewee), Masie outlines a number of innovative ways that traditional classrooms could be updated now and in the future to enhance learning. Examples include investing in technology to bring in images (such as videoconferencing) and information from a variety of sources; using video cameras to record classes and map their content onto a timeline or agenda (for easy, non-linear retrieval later); using voice recognition technology to generate a transcript of the class for both hearing-impared learners and other students; and leveraging laptops and wireless connectivity to a greater extent in classrooms.

In addition, Masie recommends rethinking the role of the traditional classroom as a “knowledge and collaboration space,” which opens up these tried-and-true learning spaces up to a variety of hybrid uses. This could include adding a video camera and a chroma-key blue background, so the classroom can also be used as a knowledge capture TV studio; creating workstations where employees can engage in self-study (in addition to using the room for group instruction); and breaking up some classroom space into “smaller coaching and learning spaces.”

Why not rethink the mission of your organization’s classroom learning spaces today? And be sure to check out the Masie Center Web site, which contains a wealth of information, reports and insights into the topic of learning and technology.

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