The infographic below (produced by OnlineUniversities.com) contains some interesting data that lends considerable weight to the argument that we are now in the midst of a major paradigm shift in the higher education space.
I was also pleased to see that there is no reference to ‘lecturer’ or ‘instructor’ (or even ‘teacher!). This is a major gripe of mine as despite the increasingly technology-enabled, learner-centric environment we work in, many of us don’t seem to be able to let go of the old terms and labels. Is it appropriate to use words like these when they connote a very different type of pedagogy?
Also, why do we persist with the ‘e’-prefix? This might have been apt in the 1990s, but e-learning just seems so passé to me. Around the time the term arose, we also used to talk about e-banking, and nowadays people just talk about doing their banking. Maybe it’s time we also just talked about learning.
The reference to ‘e-books’ is also starting to grate on me, not least because they’re not really books. When the higher education student reaches for their iPad to access their e-books, they do so to access an interactive learning community in which they are a participant, and in the process they will be contributing in the capacity of both consumer and producer of content. Does this mean they are both reader and author of the ‘book’?
The iPad and other tablet PCs are tools with the capacity to completely revolutionise education to the extent that the lexicon of terms we have used to describe learning for generations (e.g. lecturer, book, classroom — and even LMS — no longer apply.
When, as educators, we internalise this then perhaps we will truly have experienced paradigm shift.