From 2002 to 2011, Weller (2020) continues to give a fascinating fast-track historical overview of the 20th-century technologies in education. Learning Management Systems (LMS), blogs, videos, social media seem to have withstood the test of time, even in 2020. Whereas, e-Portfolios and Personalized Learning Environment (PLE) seem to be a distant memory of the past. I have drawn two lessons out of these chapters to assume why some of these “ed-tech innovations that have a solid theoretical basis but fail to realize their potential” (Weller, 2020, p. 125).
E-Portfolio offers the main lesson that we can learn from, as the author summarized the tool to be overly complicated, not user-focused, and too focused on the tool but not the skills. I find this to be true with the various ed-tech innovations that I got to test over the years of working as an Educational Technologist and Instructional Designer. Such tools do not seem to have traction and lack of investment of both time and money.
In contrast, PLE seems to be logically sound, learner-centred, and pedagogically focused; however, they also did not gain mainstream adoption in 2011. However, there had been a rising demand for good quality online, personalized learning, interactive pedagogy, and intercultural learners, even prior to COVID-19. At my institution, in efforts to we are launching a pilot course in November 2020 with an adaptive course building tool called LeaP for personalized learning paths for learners. I then question if 2020 will be the year for PLE to make a comeback.
This quote by Stephen McCranie came on my screensaver today, and I think it is perfect to conclude this post:
“The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried.”