e-Liberate! Shall we agree to lose the e?

25 Nov

eLearning.

What does it mean to you? Check out the Wikipedia definition: Clear as eMud.

At some point in my career I was certainly an eLearning (e-learning? elearning?) professional, even an evangelist. Not anymore. Not that I think there is anything wrong with what eLearning has traditionally been, per se, but just that we have moved beyond the e’s usefulness as a signifier.

As I’ve argued on several occasions, learning is our job, and we all are swimmers in the vast digital sea. Whatever eLearning means to us insiders, a large chunk of our learners and sponsors(!) imagine
e-courses to be clicked through as quickly as possible (if at all) so work can resume. The saddest bit of all is that a good portion of well-intentioned practitioners also think that way about the products we develop.

The Zombie E has had its day, but it is time we kill it.  Jawboneradio via flickr (http://bit.ly/1CbhDCq)

The Zombie E has had its day, but it is time we kill it.
Jawboneradio via flickr (http://bit.ly/1CbhDCq)

However, the shift is underway. I see it in the conferences I attend, via the PLNs I find so valuable, and in noble efforts like the Serious eLearning Manifesto. We now speak of learning experiences, and programmatic efforts to capture and share informal, ongoing, and “back-channel” learning. Through xAPI’s positive influence (more influence than practice at this point), Twitterstorms and organized peer hangouts, the means for professional growth are expanding. We are grappling—and sometimes succeeding—with how to integrate all of our training and learning events under the umbrella of learning practice.

So, what does the e mean? I really don’t know at this point. I no longer think of myself as an “eLearning” professional, but as a learning professional. Courses (tethered to an LMS or not), blended learning, live events, social media feeds, WOL/Show Your Work opportunities, PKM practice—these are all levers to be applied as the learning, professional development, and organizational goals dictate.

Digital delivery, via screens large and small (perhaps “mobile” needs to go, too?), takes the lion’s share of our work. And when live events occur, we work to integrate and amplify the strengths of the two together. So, it’s just learning, right?

Well, then: It’s time to embrace the future by losing the e.

Learning Guild? Learning Manifesto? Learning Industry? Yes, that’s what I’m suggesting. We are learning professionals, implementing learning programs.

Who’d have thunk that AOL’s “You’ve got mail!” (never email) slogan was ahead of its time?

I very much welcome your thoughts, rebuffs, and ideas on this topic. Leave a comment here, or find me at @BenCpdx.

2 Responses to “e-Liberate! Shall we agree to lose the e?”

  1. Bhav Seera November 16, 2015 at 5:57 am #

    With the advancement and blending of face to face and e-courses, I think it should be wise to blend ‘learning’ and ‘eLearning’ together, but I guess it is important to divide the two as they are still different to eachother.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. My Top 10 (and a half) Learning Tools, 2015 | In the Learning Age - July 7, 2015

    […] terms of my own professional development, the guild remains central to my activities. While I have argued publicly that they drop the “e” (The Learning Guild), the publications, events (DevLearn!), and community remain vibrant and […]

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