Making a difference with technology

I've been involved in education (formal and non-formal) pretty much since I left school over twenty years ago in one way or another. Having co-led a youth exchange between young people in Newcastle and Groningen, Netherlands focused on digital arts at the age of 19 we created learning environments without even really knowing that's what we were doing.

The emergence of e-Learning since then has changed the landscape of formal learning. You can now get an MBA with the primary work being done in your own home. You can get accredited qualifications from universities across the world.

But what about non-formal learning? What about the learning gained from experiences, conversations or cultural activities? Coronavirus has thrown the gauntlet down in terms of the adjustments many have had to make with their learning experiences. It is not simply good enough to present to a screen what you did in a classroom or youth centre and expect it to just work.

Having spoken to a number of education and training providers recently, and through my involvement in the Erasmus+ Virtual Exchange project it has become clear to me that the advent of e-Learning is actually just beginning. There are new and innovative ways of providing an educational experience to learners that are only just being discovered.

While there will always be a place for asynchronous "by the book" methods and self guided courses, people are demanding more. Video has allowed us to have the face-to-face experiences, but it is different to the "classroom" and a more blended, "human" way of interacting and working together is being explored. The physical boundaries no longer exist, so more intercultural opportunities are available. Your "classmates" can be thousands of miles away, and that only adds to the experience and value of learning.

If you are a training or education provider and are exploring how digital can be used to create new and dynamic experiences we would love to talk to you. In the meantime, here's a taste of one project I love and am proud to have played a small part in.

Erasmus+ Virtual Exchange | European Youth Portal