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One of the reasons for the delay in posting my usual weekly blog is the amount of thought I have been putting into TYPO3 training.

As I have previously mentioned, the current state of TYPO3 training is far from ideal and is a major impediment to more widespread adoption of TYPO3 as the CMS of choice. Inadequate learning materials go hand-in-hand with less that adequate documentation.

So, please bear with me as I start to develop a coherent look at the current state of TYPO3 training and a plan for implementing needed improvements. I personally hope to help make Acqal the premiere TYPO3 training resource. This look starts with research on the nature of e-Learning itself.

I am a member of The e-Learning Guild and, even there, no universal definition of e-Learning really exists. The best definition I have seen is from Wikipedia:

“Electronic learning (or e-Learning or eLearning) is a type of Technology supported education/learning (TSL) where the medium of instruction is through computer technology, particularly involving digital technologies. E-learning has been defined as “pedagogy empowered by digital technology.” In some instances, no face-to-face interaction takes place. E-learning is used interchangeably in a wide variety of contexts. In companies, it refers to the strategies that use the company network to deliver training courses to employees. In the United States, it is defined as a planned teaching/learning experience that uses a wide spectrum of technologies, mainly Internet or computer-based, to reach learners. Lately in most Universities, e-learning is used to define a specific mode to attend a course or programmes of study where the students rarely, if ever, attend face-to-face for on-campus access to educational facilities, because they study online.”

Even this definition is not perfect, but it certainly sets the stage for further discussion.

The e-Learning Guild has conducted a number of surveys on which e-Learning modalities are most popular. Below is a graphic depicting results of a recent survey.

A few things are pretty clear here. First, there are lot of potential methods for delivering e-Learning, including traditional face-to-face classroom instruction and, in fact, it remains extremely popular. While potentially expensive, it can be extremely effective and has an undisputed place in the pantheon of learning methods.

Second, many of these modalities are not normally considered means of formal learning. That means that, if used specifically for a learning purpose, blogs, for example, must be written and designed with that in mind.

Third, people not acquainted with instructional design may not know what some of the modalities even are, particularly in an open source software community like TYPO3, where people tend not to be instructional design experts, but rather developers, designers, installers, configuration experts, templating experts, administrators, and content producers, editors and publishers.

Therein lies the rub and this is the bane of most software developers and their users. As in many industries, training is the last thing the engineers ever think about. This is not an indictment of anyone in the community, but rather a simple reality that is completely understandable.

Acqal plans to change this for TYPO3. Stay tuned for the next exciting installment of Training, e-Learning and TYPO3!

Originally posted 2009/04/05

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