Are you an e-learning elitist?

Remember the cool kids in high school, or worse, middle school?  The cool kids cast judgment on the rest of us for wearing Lee instead of Levi; for shopping at K-Mart instead of Calvin Klein.  I thought I’d seen the last of these trendmongers when I graduated from high school 2 decades ago, but I’ve discovered them here, online, in the e-learning community.   Online, The Cool Ones dictate not what to wear, but how to train.  They are slaves not to fashionable clothing but to fashionable technology.   The e-learning royalty hold court in blogs and on Twitter, reminding us with every update of their importance and our irrelevance.

“What are their names?” you ask.  “Who are these self-appointed judges of what (and who) is cool in e-learning?”     Unfortunately, the answer is…You.  That’s right, gentle reader, if you are so unaware of who the  elitists of e-learning are, then surely you must be one of them.

“No!” you say.  “Not me!  You don’t know me!”  True enough, I don’t  even know your name, or user name as the case may be.  So, to be fair, I’ve listed 3 simple statements down below.  You decide if these statements describe you.  Proceed, if you dare:

  • You call yourself an “early adopter” to remind everyone that whatever they’re doing online now, you did it first. 
  • You social network primarily to generate readership for your blogs.  
  • You take pride in your number of Twitter followers, especially the more notable names.

You can see that if these statements describe you, you’re probably an e-learning Elitist.  (Deep down, weren’t you were even hoping to be one?)  Your motives for membership in the online community are self-serving and transparent.

In contrast, maybe you were happily excluding yourself from this group with  negative answers.  Postpone your self-congratulations, and consider whether the following statements describe you:

  •  You take pride in acknowleding that “blog” and “twitter” still sound like silly words to you.
  • You scoff at the idea of e-learning having real training value.
  • Whenever you participate in any kind of e-learning experience, you simply go through the motions so that you can say you’ve done it.

If these statements are true for you, then you’re probably an e-learning Egotist.  As an Egotist, your insecurities motivate your opposition to e-learning, making you just as superficial as the Elitists you mock.  The Egotist is the flipside of the Elitist, as both concern themselves primarily with what others think of them. 

 When we focus on our learners instead of our image, and we focus on their learning rather than our delivery, we become e-learning Egalitarians.  Egalitarians welcome online community as a collaboration rather than a competition. 

Egalitarians represent the potential of e-learning.  What about yourself?  Do you dismiss e-learning without giving it a chance?  Or, in contrast, do you find yourself snickering over the clumsy participation of novices?  

In either case, the lesson is the same:

Trainer, train learn thyself.


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2 Responses to “Are you an e-learning elitist?”

  1. Dave Ferguson Says:

    The elitist / egotist dichotomy is amusing, if hyperbolic, like George Carlin’s description of morons (people who drive slower than you) and maniacs (people who drive faster). His third category was weirdo–someone who’s driving at exactly the same speed as you.

    (We won’t even discuss the early-adoption practice of Philippe-Égalité.)

    I keep hoping, against all evidence, that people will tire of sticking the letter E in front of learning (and meeting, and conference, and what have you). For my money, it’s generally unthinking and sometimes smug, like all the Twitter apps that start with Tw-.

    My experience suggests that most people move more easily from the specific to the general, and so novices and not-yet-adopters will respond positively when they see examples of things they value being accomplished, albeit with tools and techniques unfamiliar to them.

  2. dstev Says:

    Hypocritically, I’m in agreement with you on the “e-” prefix. I tell myself that my use here is different, as all 3 words already began with “e.” Also, I’m not really trying to coin any words in hopes that they will be adopted by others.

    Is it just me, or does that sound like I”m protesting too much? …Don’t answer that.

    Thanks for the post.

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