Jay Cross, the man who claims to have coined the term ‘e-learning’, is now publicly arguing for the term ‘e-learning’ to be replaced by ‘emergent learning’. Writing in Human Capital Management magazine’s September edition, Cross believes that today’s working environment means that ‘top-down, command-and-control organisations can no longer keep pace… Teams, in-house functions, outsource providers and customers are linked in fluid, ever-changing value networks…Resilient organisations copy the architecture of the internet: lots of independent nodes with the ability to route around damage… Simple, old e-learning has combined with bottom-up self-organising systems, network effects and today’s environment to morph into emergent learning… Emergent learning encourages experiment and innovation. E-learning fosters incrementalism and complacency.’


Comment: It’s a bit of luck that we’ve got a new ‘take’ on – and a new name for – ‘e-learning’ because, in August, Lambeth Council and its Primary Care Trust made e-learning free to some 2,000 people working in the voluntary sector. The e-learning in question deals with changes arising from the Mental Capacity Act (2005). The e-learning materials can be accessed free at http://www.learningpool.com/moodle_front/lambethandsouthwark


If e-learning is going to become free then (a) how will e-learning developers be able to make a living and (b) what happens when you can’t even give e-learning away?


Thankfully, Jay Cross seems to have provided the answer: keep moving the e-learning goalposts.