LearnTec 2007

The past three days I was at the LearnTec fair and congress in Karlsruhe. The location changed from the heart of the city to the new Karlsruhe fair facilities outside Karlsruhe. Apparently, the number of exhibitors at the fair has shrunk.

There was a clear trend aways from traditional e-learning towards more informal and collaborative forms of learning. The keynotes of Götz Werner and Martin Eppler (on visualization) were inspiring as was Hermann Maurer from Graz (who raised the important question on what we and our children need to learn in the future). The different sessions at the congress have embraced Web 2.0 and discussed the topics from different viewpoints.

Some insights for me:

  • Finally, the disciplines of e-learning and knowledge management are approaching one another. Gabi Reinmann clearly pointed out, however, that we should not easily sweep away the differences of the environmental context (in formal educational settings vs. at the workplace). Although this was controversial in the discussion, I think that it was an important contribution to the discussion. Klaus Tochtermann presented the APOSDLE approach about work-integrated learning which is further developing and realizing ideas that can be seen as a continuation of what we pursued within the LIP project.
  • With the advent of social software, the constructivist pedagogy really gains ground in practice. Several examples on the use of Wikis and Weblogs were shown. It has also become clear, however, that we students and employees need to be educated on how to learn with such tools and within such settings: we need people with competencies to develop their competencies in interaction with others.
  • In the future, we need to have a closer look at the findings of cognitive science. There were some interesting ideas by Hanna Risku, but also phenomena like “flow” and other motivational issues have come up here and there: we need intrinsically motivated learners and workers everywhere. Götz Werner provided the metaphor of “burning” for this.
  • There were also some interesting talks with practitioners from companies: there really is the need for maturing pathways that bring together bottom-up and top-down approaches (as we postulated within out knowledge maturing research).