Journalists throughout Europe who specialise in writing about education and learning technologies are being invited to a special discussion at Online Educa Berlin on 1st December from 2.30pm.

The discussion’s organisers promise to revisit 15 years of achievements and challenges in e-learning and discuss the most recent trends and perspectives with international experts in the field – notably Nicolas Balacheff, Senior Researcher at Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), France and President of Telearc, the European Network of Excellence in Technology-Enhanced Learning; Josh Bersin, CEO of Bersin & Associates, USA; Larry Johnson, CEO of New Media Consortium, USA; Laura Overton, of the UK’s Towards Maturity, and Martin Wolpers, of Fraunhofer FIT, Germany, coordinator of the cross-disciplinary FP7 EU project ‘Responsive Open Learning Environments’ (ROLE).

After more than a decade and a half of experimenting with learning technologies in schools, universities and businesses, there is a lot to learn from successful as well as failed practices, believe the discussion’s organisers. They add: ‘Many experts advocate the use of digital technology in learning and development, but what do we really know about its impact on learning? Does e-learning fundamentally change the way we learn today – as some maintain – or is it just a low-cost version of education? Online Educa Berlin is poised to carry out the acid test.’


Comment: As with the European e-learning Summit in Sheffield, being held just before this event, learning technologists know that something is not quite ‘right’ with e-learning in terms of its take-up, use and popularity.


It may not have lived up to its initial ‘hype’ but, over the years time and again, e-learning has proved a successful learning medium. Moreover, current technological advances promise to provide even greater flexibility and ‘individualisation’; of learning materials – and yet the value of e-learning is not widely recognised and acknowledged in the world’s boardrooms. Obviously, the time has come for some serious navel gazing – throughout Europe at least – on the part of e-learning’s apologists.