Amazon revolutionised book selling, iTunes revolutionised record sales and EasyJet revolutionised travel. The digital revolution is impacting all areas of our lives and many commentators are suggesting that education will be next: BBC News – Online University Giant Gets Bigger.
TED talks, iTunes U, edx.org and the Khan Academy are taking high quality learning online. The Open University together with Bath, Leicester, Nottingham, Queen’s Belfast and Reading universities are doing the same from the UK under the FutureLearn.com banner. With university fees causing would-be under graduates to think twice about leaving home to go to college perhaps these low cost and free resources offer an attractive alternative to higher education.
Enlightened employers are encouraging staff to listen to audio books and subscribe to podcasts to keep themselves up to date. Even the young are able to access good quality teaching from home rather than school when off sick or simply afraid to face the playground bullies:
Of particular note is the gamification of learning. This blend of gaming and teaching is anticipated to engage the X Box generation to a level that even the best class teachers would envy.
The consequence of schooling going online is of course the absence of social interaction. How can we expect the next generation to develop into rounded individuals if they spend eight hours a day gazing at a screen? Perhaps sports groups and youth organisations will step up and step in to fill the void.
Back at the office this threat has already become well established. We spend hours staring at screens and when we are in meetings our desire to be efficient can limit our social interaction. Whilst this might appear to save time, there is a consequence. Unless we really get to know our colleagues it is impossible to build trust within our teams. Where trust levels are low processes get put in place to protect the organisation, these processes consume time, making us all busier and less efficient.
The value of stepping back from the day-to-day routine, going somewhere different and simply getting to know one another better is immense. In the same way that our children should practice interacting, so should we – and what’s more, it can be fun.