Tuesday, March 2, 2010

2.1, 1.4.1: Not change resistant? Where's your Dvorak?

Image from Wikipedia.

I'm finishing Diamond's Guns, germs and steel, and his mention of the Dvorak keyboard got me thinking about the diffusion of e-learning. Only yesterday I was talking with a colleague about e-learning and diffusion, and the usual talk about the change resistance of faculty ensued.

I think we need to adopt a more empathetic approach to faculty and the reluctance some have to e-learning. So, here's a question to all you e-learning enthusiasts: Are you using a Dvorak keyboard? The QWERTY's history is such that we have no real reason for it nowadays; it was originally designed to ensure that the letters of a manual typewriter did not hit one another (and, today, we tend to clean our keyboard trays rather than untangle our letter keys).

A Dvorak keyboard layout is actually superior to the more entrenched QWERTY we all know and love/hate so well. The Dvorak has many advantages over the QWERTY (including less likelihood of carpal tunnel syndrome). It is possible, eventually, to type faster using a Dvorak and free online tutorials are available. There are many valid arguments for Dvorak over QWERTY, so, as e-learning enthusiasts not afraid of progress in technology when advantages are so clear, why have you not made the switch? More to the point, why are you not considering it...?

Your answer to those last two questions may well provide you with the basis of an empathetic response to faculty who struggle with the 'need' to adopt e-learning. Then again, this post might cause some hardy e-learning innovators, not scared in the least of progressive technology, to pry out their keys and rearrange them Dvorak fashion. If that's you, please leave a comment!

Some of these reasons for resistance to Dvorak adoption may well apply to e-learning, too.

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