Legacy – things never go away, do they?


In evolution, species adapt into new life forms or die out. It’s that simple. Not so in technology enhanced learning (TEL). Legacy concepts never go away, or so it seems. How else could we explain that there are still users on Internet Explorer 6 and older?

The Internet has seen a number of key developments and phases, now conveniently called Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 with many different varieties of Web 2.5 and Web 3.0 concepts thrown about. But it is not that this has been part of an evolution which replaced earlier forms, as is suggested by the version numbers. Web 2.0 did not replace Web 1.0. And it is not about backward compatibility either. It’s more to do with enlargements. In a biological analogy, a species would grow a second head…

Interestingly, the same is true for pedagogic theories and the perception of knowledge:

pedagogic theories emergence

The reason for the continued presence and importance of legacy concepts in pedagogic theory is that in reality they are not legacy, as many people would want to have it.

Behaviorist and instructivist approaches are far from being obsolete. Uni-directional knowledge transmission (in form of lectures and presentations, podcasts or books) is still relevant and in many ways the most efficient way of learning for some types and levels of knowledge, e.g. relating to (cognitive) apprenticeship. Scientific conferences deliberately hang on to the transmission model as a format for information-rich knowledge sharing. Cloud sharing of slide presentations or podcasts is no less a lecture than a teacher in front of a class.

Certainly gone are the days of didactic monopolies. While this is enriching and enabling, the downside of it is that a variety of {devices, strategies, technologies,…} can lead to fragmentation and disorientation. Unfortunately, the biggest problem we are facing is that because TEL innovation slavishly follows the latest technology developments, it’s all driven by the big commercial players, the mass media that promote the hype, and by the sheepish crowd that follows.

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