Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Technical Difficulties

Apologies to those of you who have missed my posts to this interface.

I'm back to add to my record of learning about and with technology.

I've recently been volunteering as a computer tutor here in Victoria and the experience has reminded me once again about the impact that "technical difficulties" have for new and beginning users. Unless someone (coach/facilitator/friend/instructor) is there to comfort and cajole the frustrated newbie, s/he is likely to "throw in the towel" on technology and drop the class, tank on the assignment, or whatever the case is in a particular circumstance.

The funny thing is that I'm essentially where I was at the beginning of this exploration into learning in distributed environments. How does one establish the social rapport necessary when attempting to include technical "newbies" in learning communities in online or "distributed" environments?

When the medium is the message, how does one efficiently deal with the "dissonance" that pervades one's online existence until the "workaround" is discovered? Those of you reading this who know what a workaround is know what I mean. The first time you "beat the machine" is when we start kidding ourselves that we have technology "figured out."

The bottom line, in any type of learning, is that the motivation of the learner to learn. There will always be "barriers" (real and imagined) to learning for all learners; however, web-based deliver presents another whole degree of difficulty for all involved. That said, I think that as with any endeavour, it (online learning and teaching) definitely becomes easier with time.

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