Although we see a strong push for incorporation of technology in educational and training settings, and availability in the hands of students and teachers, many fears regarding its implementation are still evident. On one side, technology enabled learning is seen as a way to promote high level of learners’ engagement in a classroom setting and employees’ intellectual growth, while on the other hand, fear of being unable to use it because of lack of technical expertise required for using technology, expensive accessibility, high dependency on technology for learning etc, are some of the fears which are the gist of this article. Although I mainly talk about the significance of technology enabled learning and the way it has become wide spread tool in most of the advanced educational setting; 74 percent of educators support technology enabled learning in United States, as per the survey published by PBS, there are still some unavoidable fears we would need to encounter in future so as to stop any obstacle in its promotion, even in developing countries in the world.
The Human psychic to resist change
Let’s start our discussion with one of the natural fears people might have for incorporating technology enabled learning. Integration of technology into learning implies a huge shift from white boards to multimedia and projectors, paper based tests to online submissions of assignments and quizzes, and traditional class room based lectures to webinars; related to distance learning concept. These shifts, through apparently look minor, yet, might be colliding with the human psychic that tends to resist in trying something new, especially in an environment based on learning and training, many beginners feel the fear of being a fresher and unfamiliar with technology. This fear basically originates from lack of confidence due to lack of knowledge being among those highly knowledgeable and experienced. We can say, this is the biggest fears about technology enabled learning that is innate in human nature.
How to overcome this fear?
I think the solution to getting learners use a new technology is to feel their pain, in a way. Instead of just telling them “here’s a new technology and how do we use it, you should discuss with them their challenges, problems, frustrations and the things they are looking as negative while using such technology.
Then put forward a solution with the new technology and tools, and join the dots for them. The answer to their question, which most probably comes in their mind; ‘how will this help them?”, must be addressed to resist any change or hesitation in adopting technology enabled learning.
Digital Education is hard to understand
Most of the time, the lack of knowledge or unfamiliarity with the new technology or even current technology where a person is a newbie, is the source of developing his or her fear about using it. An environment, either academic or professional, where if proper training regarding the usage and benefits of technology is not given, it would surely make the learners afraid of using it and they might associate it with wastage of time, and prefer the older ways of doing tasks and activities over newer ones. Take an example of digital libraries maintained in educational and training settings. Though these are widely seen in today’s market and highly beneficial in this digital era, yet the percentage of users is not up to that mark that it should be. This might be due to the cost and maintenance requirement of such libraries by the institutions and unfamiliarity of learners about these libraries.
How to overcome this fear?
Though this fear apparently seems a bigger one, it becomes quite simple to handle of training needs of the learners for technology usage, are focused before expositing them to any new technology. This situation is frequently seen in MOOC setting, therefore, training should be delivered before the start of the module. Many learners are reluctant to use technology because they are not able to cope up with the speed required to use it. Therefore, training should be tailored to their needs as well.
Technology needs more time to understand
Since learners are already occupied in a number of learning and training activities, they consider integration of any new technology in their setting, as something more time consuming, thus diverting their focus from their important tasks they have been doing via traditional ways, to understand technology by consuming their extra time. Take a case of MOOC or webinar, where learners usually fear of being required to allocate at least half of their day. Rigid timings might discourage the learners to go for MOOCs.
How to overcome this fear?
The norm of the day is self paced MOOCs. This means that training doesn’t need to be specifically scheduled; however, learners must be allowed flexibility like taking the course from their home in their spare time, to complete the specified hours.
 Chepesuik, R. (1997). The future is here: America’s libraries go digital. American Libraries, 2(1), 47-49.
Copyright 2015 Bryant Nielson. All Rights Reserved.
Bryant Nielson – Managing Director of CapitalWave Inc.– Being a big believer in Technology Enabled Learning, Bryant seeks to create awareness, motivate adoption and engage organizations and people in the changing business of education. Bryant is a entrepreneur, trainer, and strategic training adviser for many organizations. Bryant’s business career has been based on his results-oriented style of empowering the individual.
Learn more about Bryant at LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/bryantnielson