Posted by: MandyS | April 28, 2013

Benefit v Cost?

Block 2, week 11. Activities 3 & 4.

So far we have looked at the accessibility of elearning in terms of having ICT or at least access to it, and concluded that the divide is both geographical and social. OER may be a way of reducing the divide but I think the general consensus in the forum is that there is little evidence of it doing so to date.

There is a clear benefit of technology in terms of better ‘accessibility to resources’, ‘greater flexibility in how and when people learn’ etc. but does it have much of a significant impact in terms of the increase in quality education. I think Williams and Rowlands hit the nail on the head when they talk about the younger generation use of technology as leading to their ‘expanding the least amount of effort’ in finishing assignments, their ‘disinclination to explore’ and their preference to ‘type rather than write’ and ‘text rather than talk’. My daughter presents as a prime example, yet, given she is working at A/A* for all her subjects, her use of technology in this way has clearly had no impact on the quality of her education. Perhaps if technology were seen simply as a resource rather than a solution the way in which it is used by both learners and teachers would evoke far less criticism.

And then there is the question of cost. For me, technology is not the ‘be-all-and-end-all’ but for many organisations it is a means of producing ‘cost-effective learning’. The CPS in introducing the Prosecution College saw the value of elearning but as a cost saving exercise rather than an opportunity to improve the quality of its training provision. There are no tutors and assessment is purely electronic. That ‘deep’ learning, which is so important to the education fraternity simply does not exist – multi-choice rules!

At the beginning of this Week, we were introduced to the concept of the Iron Triangle: Access, Quality and Cost, whereby the improvement of one side will have an impact on the other two. It is argued that technology in education has the capacity to ‘break-open’ the triangle in that it can provide for improvement in all three areas. Maybe in a utopian world; given that technology is not being used in education in the way in which it was envisaged, I would argue that there is a long way to go before it can be said to have achieved this aim. Any benefit technology may bring is overshadowed by accessibility and cost.

 

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