Core Activity 5.4: The profession of learning technologist

Before I started my reading for this exercise I had always thought of a learning technologist as someone who is primarily involved in the design, management and support of elearning content, including VLEs and other online resources.  This is slightly different to the definition from the Association for Learning Technology (ALT) as “people who are actively involved in managing, researching, supporting or enabling learning with the use of learning technology.” (http://www.alt.ac.uk/learning_technology.html)  Although the paper by Lisewski and Joyce didn’t realy help me  clarify the definition that much, it did raise some interesting points about professionalism, such as when does a training model, such as the 5 stage plan discussed, which has the aim of ensureing a provisional level of competency, become so rigid that it lacks the ability to include professional flexability.  I was also interested in the quote ‘service provider rather than an expert’ (Oliver, 2002: 20) which suggests there is a hierarchy of jobs with service provider being lower down than a professional expert.

The paper by Oliver suggests that proffesions have evolved in HE when “a group of jobs was identifed that shared a number of common characteristics.”.  Oliver describes learning technologists as “New specialists,  including educational or technical developers,  researchers  and  managers,  who  are likely  to be young (in their 20s or 30s) and on fixed-term contracts, often supported by external funding. They have typically been in their current post less than  two years and at their current institution less than four. New specialists tend  to be multiskilled and peripatetic, but with learning technologies as the core of their professional identity.”  This, to me, raises questions about weather this group should be called a profession.  Have they been in their current position for less than 2 years because their profession is that new? Or are they useing it as a stepping stone into a different profession? Such as management or a more general elearning profession?

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