When Andreas Wittke, founder of one of the major MOOC platforms in Europe, says „E-learning is dead“, you need to follow this up a bit.

His main points are:

Nowadays, e-Learnings are just a virtual image of an analogue thing- books turned into e-books. Analogous, an LMS is just a virtual image of a school with temporal and spatial barriers. More so, LMS often have very low usability as they were designed by teachers having methodology in mind, not usability. Therefore, e-Learnings and LMS do not change any structures or behaviours.

As long as E-learnings are designed to serve as virtual content in the context of the traditional image of school, they are way too expensive and ineffective.

In allen, wirklich in allen Wirtschaftsbereichen vermindert die Digitalisierung die Gesamtkosten, nur in der Bildung werden sie erhöht.

Only when digital education is detached from the current perception of schools and learning, which means detached from a closed group of enrolled students to whoever-wants-to-learn-this (upscaled and available large-area) and detached from temporal restrictions like hours or semesters, a real value will arise.

Taken together, he states that all the thousands of mini-e-learnings designed in companies and schools have a horrible cost-value ration. He might be right. I think he is.

But there’s another point in his article I do not agree. He states that the MOOCs are the first digital education baby, but still are restricted by their time limits- they have a starting and an end date. He wishes them to be available on demand. But then they aren’t MOOCs anymore! A major motivation in a MOOC is to attend a course together, although virtually, and to discuss content. To meet people, to comment, to support and to peer-review (which I still think is one of the best things in xMOOCs). I recently attended a MOOC with approx. 15-20 Persons. It was awful.

So maybe it’s just a thing of terminology. He wants to have lectures/resources ready for on demand (and possibly binge-like) learning with support from mechanical turks. This is not a bad idea. Still I am not sure if most people don’t prefer learning in a community of some kind, which will always restrict the anywhere-anytime.

And all the thousands of mini-e-learnings? In a perfect world, people would share them, allowing the generation of a huge content base that then supports this vision of self-directed independent learning.