Prior to starting the MALAT program, I was unfamiliar with the term ‘creative commons license’, and assumed that all content, at all times, had to be created from scratch. Perhaps this is because unlike so many of my MALAT peers, I work in private industry where most information is perceived to be proprietary. I find the concept fascinating, and as Weller briefly notes, closely aligned to the failed concept of learning objects. Learning materials developed in house are typically kept locked away. My employer specifically takes the non-sharing of information even further, if you give your notice of resignation, you are given a two week paid vacation (ok, not really) if you are going to a competitor because you could possibly share brand new innovations that are announced in the following two weeks. I had an interesting experience recently, however, at work. In working on a program to develop further competency on incident investigations, my HSE senior leader gave me materials from two other private companies that he had previously consulted on. I asked, shocked “are we even able to use this?”, and he mentioned that the HSE world is evolving, and that safety and safety skills is knowledge that should be shared, regardless of industry, to keep Canadians safe. Maybe there are some intersections of OER and private industry?
In Weller’s book, every chapter has an AHA moment for me! One technology that we have been increasingly using in my work, is the use of video. While we are not higher education, or even ‘traditional’ education, we have found video to have a profound impact on the way that we communicate learnings to our employees. In looking at our employee demographic, and our standard methods of disseminating information, we realized that we were disserving our employees by providing them with text heavy content, when a) they are working “in field”, b) they have a generally low level of reading comprehension or English language proficiency, or c) they struggle to find the time to read and comprehend what was now expected of them. We started using animated videos, leadership recordings, and roll-out/update videos to share information with our employees that would impact how they work every day. Not only did engagement with the content increase, but we saw an uptake in comprehension and an increase of the “targeted” KPI’s of the material we had just delivered.
Of particular interest to me in this 1/3 of Weller’s book is his writing on virtual worlds. I have no experience with virtual worlds (and my second life exposure is only in the form of a documentary, about people whose second life experiences went… well, let’s just say… too far). I chuckle at how in 2009, Jarmon, Traphagan, Mayrath, and Trivedi predicted that a majority of active internet users would be actively engaged in a virtual world environment. Providing we are not considering social media a virtual world, they were so far off. I do wonder though, if the events of the COVID-19 pandemic has given the thought of virtual worlds a “second life” (see what I did there?)… With more virtual workers and learners, will we see virtual classrooms or offices soon? Maybe Weller can let us know in his next book.
Weller, M. (2020). 25 Years of Ed Tech. Athabasca University Press.