I was in a meeting yesterday where the IDC predictions - that the classroom will die - was laughed at yet again. IDC's been saying it since the 1980s and it hasn't happened yet! Well I must say I've changed my position and now, I'm with IDC! Here's my Strategic Planning Assumption - by 2010, when we expect to come out of this recession, the level of adult learning in the classroom will have dropped to 50% of 2008 levels. So here's a thought - do you believe it'll be higher than 50% or lower?

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Comment by Steve Hartley on February 2, 2009 at 20:46
It seems like Norman went on a particularly poor 'classroom' course. I doubt that the drop will be as much as 50% and would like to suggest that trainers, learning providers or whatever you call them need to think carefully and seriously about how they deliver content. Ideally, we would then get the best medium for the learning outcomes.
Comment by Norman Lamont on January 30, 2009 at 12:32
I've been reflecting a lot on a two-day classroom course I did on consultancy skills recently. Most of it was questionable. Large piles of handouts to read afterwards (I haven't wanted to); the only practical tasks were either flipchart-filling or NLP exercises (with no suggestion that NLP was anything other than fact). So I thought I could just have read a book. The only value I found during the course were the trainer's anecdotes from different businesses she'd worked with. At the time I thought these were useful. But weeks later I don't even remember them. I remember a few concepts from the course, which I would need to research in more detail to apply; I remember the NLP stuff largely because I was aware of the criticism of it. And the followup forum on the intranet, which everyone was very keen to use, died after a few days.
None of this denies George's points about a 'framework for sensemaking', just that reading what he said I became more aware of its absence during this experience.
Comment by Keith Quinn on January 30, 2009 at 11:42
Following on from George's point, it seems to me that the real value of the "classroom" is the provision of a structured environment to think; to bring ideas together & organise them. My own experience of the last two days at conference has been exactly this.
Comment by Nige Howarth on January 27, 2009 at 17:54
You'll have to let me see some of their other predictions Alan to see how these will stand the test of time. I'd support the view that the recession will/is forcing employers to look at learning differently, so if it takes the good old cost component to force them into learning technologies, then so be it! As someone who hasn't been in the classroom for the best part of 10 years, then I'd be happy to see it drop, but a drop of 50% from last years levels seems a tad optimistic (or pessimistic depending on your view)! The beauty about IDC is they can make these predictions and then blame external factors that couldn't have been foreseen when their prediction is wide of the mark. I think I'm in the wrong game!!
Comment by Keith Quinn on January 27, 2009 at 10:40
I agree that the classroom is probably with us for a while. Though I wonder if the generation of learners coming through in the next 5-10 years will feel as dependent on the bricks & mortar classroom. My own view, based on observations of my two teenage sons and their friends, is that they'll be more comfortable with virtual learning spaces than the current generation of adult learners.
Comment by George Siemens on January 26, 2009 at 12:21
Hi Alan - no idea on the %, but I share the believe that the classroom model won't die soon. I see classrooms as a framework for sensemaking. The trainer/educator has done a fair bit of thinking on the subject (we hope) and is able to quickly introduce the participants into the key considerations of the subject. It works well. The hype and philosophizing that sometimes accompanies calls for change often need a firmer foundation. Too often we'll hear "the classroom's dead" with supporting reasoning being rather weak. Classrooms work for various reasons - focused guidance, forced time devotion to a subject, contact with experts, etc. We can duplicate this through social media, but the sensemaking framework of the trainer is often lacking. Which means we spend more time exploring and experimenting. This isn't a bad thing...often it can lead to innovations in new thought/approaches. Every approach and technology has a place, based on context and intended outcomes. Classrooms aren't all bad...social media and informal learning aren't all good. Context is king.


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