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Online Learning Strategist, Kate Pinner, 'Educators are curators of content'

 

“The attainment of knowledge is readily available by almost anyone with an internet connection. Educators are curators of content, providing access and opportunities for discovery of content, rather than the people who just structure and deliver it.”

– Kate Pinner, Learning and Content Strategist

Kate Pinner, Learning and Content StrategistLearning and Content Strategist, Kate Pinner, stumbled across my website while looking for guidance on social media strategy. Little did she know that after our chat, I would be ASKING her to share her thoughts on online education. I was THRILLED to connect with someone who had over 15 years of experience designing blended learning programs and developing learning strategies for diverse global audiences.

As an instructor who teachers both online and offline courses, I have a keen interest in how to best use technology to help engage students and provide value to my students. Kate’s experience provides valuable insights into how to best reach adult learners and the future of education.

You currently strategize educational content for the Aviation and Aerospace industry. Can you describe how the private sector is currently utilizing online teaching to help with internal training?

I think we are using it in two main ways.  The first is to provide learners the opportunity to gain background knowledge at their own pace using e-learning – this is what we are really good at in the private sector.  The second way is through real-time virtual training sessions and this is where I believe we are struggling a bit.   Transferring knowledge, providing engaging opportunities for application in a live online training session is a challenge that we really need to overcome.

There have been many disruptive changes in the education industry due to advances in technology. Can you outline some of the pros and cons of combining education and technology?

Pros

  • Enable us to customize learning experiences to mirror each individuals learning style.
  • Allow us to receive information from sources and individuals we never thought possible.

Cons

  • Enable us to customize learning experiences to mirror each individuals learning style
  • Allow us to receive information from sources and individuals we never thought possible.

I have a philosophy that every pro in itself is a con.  The ability to personalize training experiences allows learners to learn when they want, how they want, and provides them the ability to interact with just the content that they need.  This type of training can also be very expensive and time consuming to create.

Receiving and interacting with information from multiple sources and people gives you a perspective you may not have gained otherwise.  Interacting in this way can also be very overwhelming and sometimes makes it hard to determine what information is coming from reliable sources.

The key to combining education and technology is to make sure you use the right technology to deliver the right type of content.  This is where using an instructional design approach to training development is important as it can help you make this match.

I LOVE the first sentence of your LinkedIn profile: “The attainment of knowledge is readily available by almost anyone with an internet connection.” How do you feel this fact will impact higher education, college degree seekers and learning in general?

Because knowledge is so readily available, learning is becoming more social and less about how much information you can cram in your head on your own. Opportunities for application of knowledge are now more important than ever and there is a huge need to help students figure out how to navigate, evaluate, and synthesize the mass amount of freely available content.

This is where I see higher education filling in the gaps; teaching students how to determine what content is reliable and providing them a chance to practice the knowledge they are gaining in a safe and supported environment.

My advice for degree seekers is to find ways to show that you can use that knowledge.  It is still extremely important to know things and to be able to articulate those things but what will make you stand out is how you apply those things to the world around you.

What is a ‘blended learning program’? Do you feel it’s the BEST way to educate people online?

Traditionally, blended learning meant that a portion of your program was delivered online (mainly knowledge content) and the rest was taught in a classroom or lab environment, however I think that definition no longer fits what is happening today.  A blended learning program can combine all types of traditional and technology-based instructional methods (lecture, discussion, and games etc.), delivery methods (live classroom, computer mediated), scheduling methods (synchronous, asynchronous) and methods of learning guidance (individual, instructor-led, group/social).  The crucial thing with blended learning is making sure you choose those methods that best support your training objectives.

I believe that blended learning is also the key to creating personalized learning; so yes, I do think this is the best way to educate people online.  In fact, I think it’s probably the best way to educate people in general.

What in your view is the SINGLE most important element to engage online learners?

Not forcing learners to all engage in the same way.  Offer your learners options for engagement. For example, when asking questions of a group, switch up how users respond either by asking them to respond through audio, chat, or by writing on the screen with the sketch tools.  This way you can meet the needs of a variety of different learning styles and provide those that need it, the time to process information before they contribute to the conversation.

When comparing the private sector and the public sector – who do you feel is better handling the challenges surrounding online learning?

I find the public sector tends to be more flexible and agile working through online learning challenges. They don’t have the myriad of privacy, IT infrastructure, and legal challenges normally found in the private sector.  I personally look to what the public sector, especially higher education, is doing to see where the trends are moving and what I could try and apply in the private sector.

If you are to look out 10-15 years can you make some predictions on where we’re headed? What’s the future of education look like?

Learning is personalized and mobile: content is provided when the learner needs it, at any time, from any location, using any device.

Learning is social: learning is more about connection & community rather than content.

Educators are curators of content, providing access and opportunities for discovery of content, rather than the people who just structure and deliver it.