I was speaking to a commercial software producer yesterday who told me that demand for his online-learning product has been shooting up ever since swine flu closed UK schools.
It seems, that once again, we’re shutting the door after the horse has bolted. We’re currently seeing situations where whole schools need to be closed, and looking at building our learning models around that crisis. Previously, we’ve seen how Twitter grows after use in an emergency, as I’ve previously blogged about. We’re currently seeing how it can be used in real radicalism, during the protests following the Iran election.
Why, then, do we find it such a challenge to build technology into our public services to make life better for the customer or, in this case, the learner? It shows that, in our public services, including learning, the issue is still control – the institution’s needs come above those of the customer.
Recently, we’ve seen strong drive from central government to include and empower learners in the Learning Revolution and it’s Learning Transformation Fund. It’s quite clear from the funding workshops I’ve been to through work that bids should mean larger organisations working with the smaller, self organised organisations and ideas should come from the bottom up.
So, what’s it to be? Do we continue to wait until we have another pandemic or another institutional need before we start looking at how the technology helps – or do we start using it now, so that our organisation is ready, but alsoso that our customers get the best experience too?