1st European Conference on Technology-Enhanced Learning (ECTEL 06)

The conference took place October 1-4 near Heraklion (Crete) and was primarily organized by the PROLEARN Network of Excellence. The conference had about 200 participants and was just right in size to allow for efficient community fostering.
Workplace learning was rather underrepresented with few exceptions like the contributions from within the PRO-LC cluster projects (e.g. APODSLE presentations by the Know-Center, Graz) – and our presentations on context-aware support for workplace learning. The old separation into academic or formal business training vs. work-integrated learning at the borderline of elearning and knowledge management have not been overcome, although now the importance of these fine-grained, on-demand activities are now increasingly acknowledged as important developments in the field – which definitely is a progress compared to the situation when we started our research activities in the Learning in Process project.

There were other interesting observations at the conference:

  • Researchers are becoming increasingly convinced that collaboration with others in the same field is not a threat (because of competition), but rather a win-win situation to have more research impact. And this was not only because of FP7 starting soon 🙂
  • Impact was also an important issue for future research. It was acknowledged that Europe is very strong in research, but does not manage to transfer these research results into industrial practice.
  • The term learning is increasingly questioned because it does not always evoke positive associations. At the conference, competence development was a very popular term – although I think that this would mean also a shift in granularity.