Digital is a broad word to use. It’s perfect. Not that I’ve ever been a fond fan of job titles, but that word in my job title fits like a glove. For years, we seem to have wanted to prefix an already good word. E-learning, m-learning, social learning, informal learning to name a few. But when I start applying those titles, I seem to be restricted into one box.
Digital covers all bases.
Digital is online in it’s traditional form offering, for want of a better word, ‘computer-based learning’. But on the other hand technology supports the ‘in real life’ face to face learning that happens too. A big part of my role is providing digital tools to support the face to face environment; tools for facilitators, digital reference material for students.
I get very excited when I start talking about digital being both on-demand as well as live. The typical barrier for digital learning is that it lacks human interaction. Yet with live platforms, video conferencing, screen sharing, online discussion tools, learning can be live. We’ve now got broadcast tools at our fingertips meaning we can have a level of digital quality and interaction only previously seen by television companies. Live and on-demand work beautifully together with live sessions becoming on-demand libraries of content when recorded. On-demand recordings turn live when they’re used in live learning sessions.
Digital has been known to operate where it excludes people from people. Traditional e-leaning has been a one-to-machine experience with no interaction from others. Digital is much broader than that. Sometimes, it’s about building in online community of practice discussions. Sometimes, it’s about people gathering around technology to learn together. It need not be an isolated experience.
Finally, digital is about being connected and dis-connected. Sometimes, it’s being able to access content without an internet connection, on the move and easily available. There’s other ways to disconnect digital too. Sometimes, the best thing to do with technology is to turn it off altogether. Being a digital learning specialist is about knowing when to dip in to your armory of tech and when the best advice is to leave it out completely.