On May 3, 2021, the online eLearning Inside resource listed several virtual learning education technology trends for 2021.
From the start, the resource told us that in 2020, “classroom education was swiftly replaced by virtual learning platforms…schools and colleges were forced to shut down and operate on virtual platforms. In fact, even after entering another year of the pandemic, most schools and educational institutions are still operating virtually to some extent.”
The piece tells us that: “A host of technological innovations has made it possible for students to take up their lessons and not miss out on vital years of their education,” as both a virtual and in-person consultant and speaker on topics such as corporate ethics, sports ethics, sexual harassment prevention and related topics, I have first-hand experience into the pros and cons of virtual training.
The technological training innovations continue to improve, and that is a good thing. The quality of our virtual programming at Virtual Training Associates is constantly improving. For the record, the trends include such concepts as Blockchain Technology, Data Management and Learning Analytics are exciting and promising.
I am a huge proponent of progress, especially in the realm of eLearning. And, regarding Blockchain Technology, Data Management and Learning Analytics I am all for increased data security and analysis to prevent “silos” and silo learning.
What is not being fully expressed is the fact that in many instances (and I have heard a great many horror stories) at the teaching–student level of interaction, 2020 was a dismal failure. At the high school and college levels, many students fell significantly behind, many walked away and parents frequently expressed that the school year was a waste of time.
On the professional level, despite the plethora of online employee engagement platforms, corporate fraud was at an all-time high, scandals abounded in finance, healthcare, government, sports, and several aspects of corporate life. Gender discrimination, a lack of workplace diversity, and LGBTQ+ issues abound.
Despite the progress the virtual industry claims it has made in eLearning instruction, as a virtual ethics trainer, speaker and consultant, I raise serious objections with an industry that loves patting itself on the back at the sake of meaningful interaction.
Without turning this post into a diatribe, I would also caution my readers to do a search on 2020 workplace loneliness and lack of employee engagement. The degree of psychological separation among team members and co-workers was immense. This separation often leads to a lack of oversite and the opportunities to commit fraud.
From the dawn of time, from Socrates to students and on through history the most meaningful interaction is on a personal level between teacher and student. Note I am not stressing in-person over virtual (for at Virtual Training Associates we do both), but in the heartfelt commitment and the degree – and expectation of interaction and engagement.
As a Hall of Fame speaker who has honed his craft over decades, I have learned the skills of getting my points across and committing to my students. In turn, I expect my virtual and in-person “classes” to elicit positive responses and positive change.
Unfortunately, far too many courses on ethical behavior or the prevention of all kinds of harassment are led by inexperienced trainers who are not engaged in the training process. While I am all for Blockchain and Data Management in education (no matter the age of the student), unless the trainer or teacher creates a synergy, despite the importance of topics such as ethics, no meaningful change will occur.
The trends might be telling us how technologically amazing eLearning could be in the future, without a commitment from teacher to student and the reverse, what has been gained? 2020 was many things for the eLearning industry, unfortunately, fraud and unethical behavior continued to abound unabated.
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