Is institutional e-learning a bit like teenage sex?

2013 post updated for 2015 to (un)scientifically test for any changes over time.

Professor Mark Brown (@mbrownz) from Massey University the National Institute for Digital Learning at Dublin City University is quoted in a New Zealand newspaper as saying this about institutional e-learning

E-learning’s a bit like teenage sex. Everyone says they’re doing it but not many people really are and those that are doing it are doing it very poorly.

As it happens, this was a point I’m aiming to make/use in a presentation at (the 2013 version of) this conference (which Prof Brown also happens to be speaking at). A point that will be strengthened by Prof Brown’s comments, however, I’m wondering if I can gather some data to explore this further.

2015 update: Results of the 2013 surveys (this one and one live during the presentation) are provided in a link at the end of this post. I’ll “release” the results of this survey in a week or two. Perhaps live during my dlrn15 session on Sunday 16th October.

The survey

To that end please feel free to complete this brief survey.

It’s short, doesn’t store any identifying information and I’ll share the results here later in the week. The survey doesn’t explore all aspects of the relationship between institutional e-learning and teenage sex, it’s just a quick exploration of the topic.

Three questions

  1. Your institution’s country?
  2. Multiple choice – “What percentage of your institution’s online courses do you consider good?”

    Where good is defined loosely as “good enough to show other folk without being overly embarrassed”.

    (This isn’t meant to be a well designed survey or formal research).

  3. Your role was/is within the institution?

2015 update: Results of the 2013 survey.

4 thoughts on “Is institutional e-learning a bit like teenage sex?

  1. Hi David,

    Thanks for posting this. Mark Brown’s analogy made me smile. Now that I’m institution-less I can say that I agree with him. Mind you I probably did say something similar though less funny when I was with an institution. Just as a throw away; I wonder how many institutions focused on online delivery would have material “good enough to show other folk without being overly embarrassed”. They might have more than traditional institutions but you wouldn’t have to dig deep before you reached embarrassment gold.

    Of course there is nothing like openness as a quality enhancer (eventually).



  2. The institution from which I just retired (CDLI– does nothing else. Newfoundland Labrador is somewhat similr to your country in that the population is widely distributed, and mainly along the coast. For most rural schools, CDLI is how high school is ‘delivered.’ That said, its model is different. The majority of the instructional time is synchronous, primarily through Blackboard Collaborate. This is not because we believe asynch is ineffective but, rather, that we know that for most students in my province the lack of constant supervision and interaction would result in no effort.

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