Heading into 2021’s world of online working/learning (plus UEFA’s “Academy Online” as an example online resource)

As we hit the grim milestone of the first anniversary of the first confirmed Covid fatality the news remains full of stories about global lockdowns. These stories are currently very focused on online learning, not least in my media channels as the latest UK measures have seen schools close (again).

During this year’s restrictions, I have helped launch the first learning management system used by a global organisation (more on that here if you’re interested). What this experience has made me think about a lot is the overall ecosystem of different systems organisations will have – especially organisations that have been around a long time – that, to some extent, cover “learning” purposes.

Depending on the historic position of an organisation there are likely to be public websites, private intranets, community sites (either their own or groups on social media), staff profiles on social media, learning platforms, content management systems and many more (including email). The complexity of this landscape is, in part, why organisations have struggled with the push to online learning and working prior to 2020/21.

UEFA’s site as an example

This recently came up in one of my social media accounts. UEFA have made their online academy available to anyone. The site (https://academyonline.uefa.com/) now gives you the option of a login (from an FA or other football related account) or direct (public) access. Firstly, credit to UEFA that this is a nice approach for an organisation that has been criticised in the past with regards to transparency.

Looking at the site today, my public access gives me a searchable/filterable list of 181* “resources”. As said many times on this site before, and in part due to my libraries and information background, I have a tendency to prefer resources over some attempt at “courses”, so this is good. However, this site is a classic example of an “online academy” which is effectively just a video and PDF library.

*the real number of unique items being considerably smaller as a number of entries are duplicated for each language they are available in.

Oddly one resource on the platform is a video for UEFA PLAY. PLAY (https://play.uefa.com/login) is described as much more of a learning platform than the content management of the Academy site, for example, in including knowledge sharing forums. Yet if you access that URL you are redirected to the academy site.

So the academy as a website/platform is an interesting example – in so much as it is separate from the overall Academy learning offering that includes training courses, blended learning programmes, etc. but also shares the same branding. For those of us who have worked in education and L&D – the question therefore is: what do our learning platforms offer over an above Google footprint (in terms of positioning of learning within the public facing web of our organisations and the ecosystem of technologies we all have access to)?

Author: iangardnergb

My name is Ian Gardner and I am interested in various topics that can be seen as related to learning, technology and information. To see what I am reading elsewhere, follow me on The Old Reader (I.gardner.gb) and/or Twitter (@iangardnergb).

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