Libraries, e-learning, and Learning & Teaching

A few days ago James Clay made a posting in his blog titled ‘College, universities and the digital divide‘ in which he made the following statment:-

I do believe it is important that the e-learning and learning resources functions within an FE College if not managed by the same person, the relevant managers should be working closely together. Libraries need to embrace the digital challenge not try and fight it.

What James has said I completely agree with, but I feel that the above statement needs expanding otherwise it could be misinterpreted.

e-learning can be viewed and treated in different ways, and although the differences between them may not be obvious to the untrained eye, the effects of the differences are significant on the learning experience. Some institutions treat e-learning as being resource centered similar to the HE model where the University library is the centre of the learning experience. A lot of colleges and universities in the UK will have any e-learning managers and support personnel working in the same team as the library usually under a banner of ‘Learning Resource Centre’, and this is OK, but it does emphasise the fact that the resources are at the centre of the learning, not the people.

An alternative view on e-learning is that it isn’t resource centered but people centered, and in particular learners and teachers. The resources are then not the key, but the way that they are used and integrated in the whole learning experience is.

I personally think that this is the better model, and is an area that a lot of institutions aren’t getting right at the moment, which I think will hold them back in the future.

So to come back to James’ original posting, I think the passage needs to have added to it a sentence to the effect of

‘and both learning resources and e-learning should be managed by people responsible for learning and teaching, rather than being seen as parallel or even superior to this area of work.’

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