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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Interview with Jane Hart (Life in the E-Learning Organization Series)

Welcome to Life in the E-Learning Organization! This week's interview is with Jane Hart, director of the Centre for Learning and Performance Technologies.

What is your name, and what is your involvement with e-learning?

I am Jane Hart. I run the Centre for Learning and Performance Technologies – where I provide a free online information service about e-learning as well as consultancy and advice to businesses and education. Freely available resources at the Centre include: Directory of Tools for Learning, E-Learning Handbook, a Conference Calendar and the Top 100 Tools for Learning activity.

How did you get interested in distance education?

I have been working in the education and training world for nearly 25 years. I spent 14 years teaching in Further and Higher Education where I promoted online learning, but left in 1997 to offer professional e-learning services. This work has been focused on helping organisations understand the full potential of e-learning to address job and business performance problems.

What is your favorite new trend in distance education?

As part of my work at the Centre I keep track of new trends, technologies and tools. My favourite trend is informal learning, by which I mean realising that informational e-learning can be just as powerful and as effective as instructional e-learning – and much easier and less costly to create. The key, however, is understanding which is the most appropriate solution for any given learning or performance challenge or problem.

What is your favorite technology?

I have many favourites; but currently I very enthusiastic about the use of file sharing tools like Slideshare, YouTube, VoiceThread, Scribd, etc, which let authors embed resources into web pages to share them with others.

What kinds of instructional materials do you use in elearning?

I help my clients build a range of materials; and recently have been building screencasts, Flash-based narrated presentations, as well short tutorials.

How do you use textbooks in e-learning?

E-Book technology is a great way of making textbooks available. But more interesting is the ability to use the technology create course readers – and make these available to on-demand online or to print

What are your favorite social networks? How do you view them in e-learning?

Although I am a member of public networks like LinkedIn and Facebook, I prefer the smaller private networks that can be built with tools like Ning to invite members with common interests. For instance I am a member of Jay Cross’ Internet Time Group community where members can share their experiences of working in the e-learning profession.

Do you have a few favorite mashups or web applications that work together in innovative ways? Please describe them.

Following on from my previous response, I do like apps like Study Groups, which makes Facebook a useful tool for education. After all students are probably already members, it’s just about harnessing the technology for educational purposes!

What is your favorite quote? or, what's a book that caught your eye recently?

“Learning is not compulsory ... neither is survival” (W Edwards Denning)

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