Allowing eLearners to Correct their Mistakes

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Our belief: At Vignettes Learning we use stories in eLearning; however, we make them interactive. The emphasis is getting learners involved in the story and not just telling the learners the story.
Synthesis: In eLearning, we give more control to the learners. We conceptualize designs that give learners more independence. Thus, a controlling trainer or a very controlled eLearning design might stifle the learners. New technologies are being introduced to give social media users and elearners more control over their learning environments.

Imagine that you are a teenager. Let’s say that at the height of a very bad mood you take your heart out online. Out of sheer frustration or anger, you posted a status on Facebook against someone: Hey, you #@%RTG@!#!!!, I hope you !!!#!@#!!!

Then, after your emotion has subsided, you regret that undesirable post and scramble to erase it. Too late: it has become viral. How could you hide or erase that comment you just made on social media like – Facebook, Twitter and other sites?

An app called Snapchat solves that predicament. Snapchat gives social media posts an ‘auto-erase’ capability. With Snapchat, your posts are temporary and it erases itself after you post it. 

I have been espousing the idea that “eLearners are the controllers” of their own learnings. This is more evident in eLearning behaviors. The eLearning courses have to allow learners to control their pace and learning approach. 

We now see in classrooms and conferences that participants are doing back channel conversations with Twitter and other postings. Back channeling is productive since learners follow their own interests and process ideas while the presentation goes on.

Snapchat provides us another clue as to what might be considered as another dimension of the eLearning behavior. The ability to erase ones entry into a post or comments in social learning environment perhaps is a backlash or extension of learners need for privacy and protection of reputation.

This is the insightful take of Jeffrey Rosen and Christine Rosen in their article Temporary Social Media:

But regardless of the fate of Snapchat in particular, the idea of temporary social media is important because the ability to be candid and spontaneous—and to be that way with only some people and not others—is the essence of friendship, individuality, and creativity. Facebook and Twitter do make it possible for their members to wall off posts from the wider world and share them only with trusted people in certain circles. But since those posts still last forever, its capacity for limited sharing is technologically insecure. To the degree that temporary social networks increase our sense of control over the conditions of our personal exposure, they represent a first step toward a more nuanced kind of digital connection—one acknowledging that our desire to share can coexist with a desire for reticence, privacy, and the possibility of a fresh start.

Argument and guess on impacts 

How could this impact our current thought in eLearning design where we encourage openness and sharing of experiences, ideas and commentaries?

I would venture to guess that, this behavior will create a conflict if the learning environment is a controlling learning environment. This is where it is mandatory to post and someone is policing and watching the posts. If we call this an eLearning behavior, for argument sake, erasing ones posts is in conflict with most formal learning environments.

On the other hand, erasing ones posts, photos or entries, require total trust in the eLearners judgment of what post to retain or erase. In a way, it is like a constant editing and rewriting ones work. This is natural and normal way to learn.

In my blog on “not Interrupting the learner’s learning” ,I stressed that as trainers and eLearning developers, we must not interrupt the learners ways of learning. We give them the road to thread – then, we get off the way. Let them run the horizon on the highway we created for them.

If erasing post is part of their learning process, then we must allow learners to erase or delete posts in an eLearning environment. Changing minds is part of the learning process.

So, at the end we are left with the dilemma: to erase or not to erase?

Give the learners the choice.

Related blogs
Is it spoon-feeding or discovery scenario learning?
Are you guilty of interrupting the learners learning?

Temporary Social Media by By Jeffrey Rosen and Christine Rosen on April 23, 2013

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