(E) Learning: people and content

A University teacher called Cath Ellis posted her 10 Commandments of e-learning on a blog. Clive Shepherd (a free lance e-learning specialist working for companies) picked up on that post and put forward his 10 principles. Cath is working from a model of e-learning that is discussion based, Clive (deliberately) took a contrasting view based on presenting content.

The table below compares the two lists (my headings). Please read the originals, each commandment has a paragraph of context. Each post distils a lot of experience.

People Content
Cath Ellis Clive Shepherd
Put the pedagogy (not the technology) first Structure into modules.
Be aware of workloads and work patterns (yours and theirs) Keep each module to one main idea
Balance risks with safety Hook the learner in
Balance obligations with rewards Build on the learner’s prior knowledge
Make ethics a priority Present your idea clearly and simply
Model good practice Eliminate all unnecessary detail
Make expectations clear Put the idea into context using demonstrations, examples, cases and stories
Establish patterns and stick to them Encourage the learner to work with the idea
Keep spaces available for students to use and shape to their own needs Assess knowledge if you must
Use/develop protocols Bridge to the next step


I think I’ll be using a table like this (but with more of the context in each of the commandments) to explore models of e-learning in the Technology Supported Learning module next year. The two contrasting views make multiple connections with educational ‘theory’ but start from the role of the facilitator | author and the learners | participants.

Nice, thanks. I picked up on this when scanning Clive Shepherd’s ‘twits’. I’m assuming permission to reuse (in full, with attribution) because these are public blogs.


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