The Rise of the "Prosumers"!


I recently returned from the 17th International Conference on Learning in Hong Kong with a renewed vigor to drive our special brand of training forward with some new ideas and perspectives. It was a conference which reminded us of the rapid changes we have all experienced in our sector and of the exciting things to come. Although, I did get a sense that most from the establishment were looking for ways to hang on to their thrones, rather than abdicate to a new regime, which was disappointing. There were a lot of academics in attendance who joined the chorus of “how do we get them to stop using twitter?” and “Gen Y are lazy and disinterested!” Well, if you are not prepared to engage with them in the mediums they prefer to communicate, this may account for their disengagement with your message.

During the conference, we were told that our students are increasingly becoming more than just consumers. Moreover, they are "prosumers" and everyone can be a broadcaster or publisher of content. The ink is no longer exclusively controlled by scholarly institutions and publishing houses. This is a good thing! It means that students can be active in developing meaning, identity and strategies to deal with their world. It means they can be connected to internal and external networks to advance their learning and build upon their knowledge base. It means that we can all benefit from an expanding pool of resources to access and analyse. And as long as we teach our students to critically appraise materials and strive for a wide range of sources to build reference points, authentic learning will continue to thrive.

As digital becomes the default setting, we should be supporting a variety of communication channels rather than limiting access to all but a narrow few.

Marc Ratcliffe
Follow Me on twitter: @MRWED_CEO