As part of an EdTech assignment, we were required to illustrate how technology could be used to enhance a program. I selected a fictional intensive program for leaders, that has been deemed by past participants as low tech and a bit dated. Through an analysis of similar programs and a review of various tools, I concluded that an optimal learning environment would be a ‘community of practice’ – one in which participants had access to experts and perceived themselves to be members of the community in which the experts practice. Technology could support the cultivation of a community of practice by:
- Building a community that connects learners prior to, during, and after the learning experience;
- Creating an environment where it is safe to share and discuss real-life leadership challenges in a confidential manner; and
- Enabling more active learning that is guided by facilitator expertise. Participant feedback indicates the need for a model that builds upon the wealth of skills and experience of participants and course leaders before, during, and after the intensive experience.
No one tool meets all three goals. In combination, however, three were found to largely address them. Twitter would be most useful for the intensive experience and to encourage information sharing post-program; WordPress would enable facilitators and participants to jointly build a community of learning that begins prior to the program and continues beyond; and a Learning Management System could provide a secure online solution to sharing confidential information.