Why collaboration rules in 2014: The evolution of elearning

We are privileged.

In 2014 we have tools that:

  • Allow simultaneous authoring.
  • Are immediately accessible.
  • Allow you to share your learning, instantly and on any device.
  • Aren’t limited by the size of a hard drive, but by the size of your imagination.

We wanted to take a step back, to look at less fortunate times for collaboration and distance learning and see how remote working and distance learning have evolved over the past 4 decades.

This post will satisfy learning veterans & millennials so that next time you have a loading bar that lasts for 5 seconds you’ll think just how fortunate we are!

What advances in learning were there in the 1970s?

E-learning was made possible to those who had $12,000 to spare with the PLATO computer system. You know… just some pocket change!

Why collaboration rules in 2014: The evolution of elearning

The first Speak and Spell was released in 1978!

Why collaboration rules in 2014: The evolution of elearning

 

 

In 1970 The Havering Computer Managed Learning System had been developed in London, England. By 1980 it had been used by over 10,000 students and 100 teachers.

In the 70’s telecourses could be broadcast by organisations such as the OU over the radio & television.

Collaborative & simultaneous working in the 1970s

At the beginning of the 1970s, computers did exist, though a home personal computer would have cost nearly £70,000 in today’s money and the ram would be around 1/2000th of what you have in your phone.

For many the Teletype was the most elegant & affordable way to achieve simultaneous authoring of learning materials. Yes, that’s right, this sleek device:

 

Why collaboration rules in 2014: The evolution of elearning

Otherwise to send & receive comments quickly when working remotely, your best option was the telegraph machine.

Of course the interface wasn’t all that user friendly. GULP!

Why collaboration rules in 2014: The evolution of elearning

What about storage?

The 1970s Cloud left a little to be imagined:

Why collaboration rules in 2014: The evolution of elearning

The easiest way to store & share data in 70’s was on paper! In the 1960’s + 1970’s hard drives were not suitable for backups because of their high price, large size & low capacity.

So it was less about cloud storage…and more about finding space in that overflowing, badly organized filing cabinet.

What advances in learning were there in the 1980s?

Programmers of the future said ‘Hello world’ with the affordable BBC Micro. A jaw-dropping 64K of RAM (about 1/50th of an MP3)!

Why collaboration rules in 2014: The evolution of elearning

Disk based Text and image courses were being distributed by companies. Check out this engaging example.

E-Learning pioneers of VTech brought learning to the masses in the 1980s with affordable Electronic Learning Products.

Why collaboration rules in 2014: The evolution of elearning

By 1988, three courses required the use of a computer & students communicated with each other with the early Interne

Collaborative & simultaneous working in the 1980s?

Woohoo! In the 80s, the personal computer arrived.

80s computers allowed for very basic collaborations over private systems, which was great news for those who enjoyed spending time toing and froing over slow networks!

Unfortunately, this technology could not be shared with other people outside of your organisation (sorry e-learning agencies!) as computers were mainly linked using LANs.

What about storage then?

Ahhhh snap, no cloud technology again!

Well your cheapest option for storage & collaboration would be your old friend the floppy disk & either physically handing it to a colleague or mailing it.

Why collaboration rules in 2014: The evolution of elearning

What advances in learning were there in the 1990s?

In 1993 the IUC was founded as the first ‘true’ virtual university offering exclusively online courses and degrees.

The Electronic University network changed its focus to developing online virtual campuses on America Online.

The George Washington University started distance learning programmes that used cable television and a computer bulletin board system.

Collaborative & simultaneous working in the 1990s

The 90s saw huge technological progress, falling equipment costs and miniaturisation meant that people developed a new attitude to telecommuting, remote working and collaboration.

Email was now a widespread practice. The 90s also saw the dawn of the attachment (see below).

Why collaboration rules in 2014: The evolution of elearning

This meant courses could be more engaging than the crude text and image courses of old with rich images, movies and audio.

Still the Internet was super restricted and ‘most of the protocols (like BitTorrent) that were eventually involved in file sharing were not heavily used in this decade. Data compression technologies for audio and video (like MP3, AAC and MPEG1) were only usable by the general public towards the end of the 1990s – and sharing digital video was still a dream.

What about storage then?

Sorry. Your best options were still these fellas:

Why collaboration rules in 2014: The evolution of elearning

Collaborative & simultaneous working in the 2000s

Remember this sound?

Say no more! Broadband is here!

Broadband brought new possibilities with Cloud based apps such as the collaborative tool Writely that was launched in 2005. This would later morph into the powerful Google docs suite.

What about storage then?

The end of the 00s saw the integration of more Private clouds which could be used exclusively for one organisation or app and public clouds that allowed anyone to easily store and share data.

What is the best way to produce learning materials remotely, collaboratively & simultaneously in the 2014?

According to software though leader Phil Wainewright: “Collaboration is the business activity most transformed by the Cloud. The revolution in outcomes is far greater than those wrought by earlier technology-driven advances in global teamwork, such as the telephone, air travel & satellite communications”.

How should people be authoring & learning remotely in the 2014?

  • Using tools that encourage simultaneous authoring.
  • Using tools that are secured by the Cloud and immediately accessible.
  • Using tools that allow you to share your learning, instantly and on any device.
  • Using tools that aren’t limited by the size of a hard drive, but by the size of your imagination.

…in a word ‘Elucidat’.

What do you think? What are your favourite cloud-based services? Do you think you could do without the cloud? Is it overrated? Please tell us your thoughts in the comments box below.

Are you convinced? Come on board & try a trial of Elucidat.

Images Courtesy of en.wikipedia.org

comments powered by Disqus

Deliver real-life impact with your elearning

people in 219 countries are already benefiting from learning created with Elucidat.

Book a Demonstration of Elucidat