Center to Advance Education for Adults

CAEA ~ DePaul University, School of Continuing and Professional Studies

Navigating the Power Shift: How Technology is Reshaping the Worlds of Education, Nonprofits and Business

Do you feel the shift?  The Power Shift? In the past, Information has been owned by the few. But technology has transferred knowledge to the many and it has changed the game. Students now learn from sources anywhere/anytime; grass-roots citizens have a greater role in shaping public policy; and, consumers are driving products and services like never before.  As a result, we all need to reassess, adapt, and develop new strategies for success.  We all are faced with a new learning agenda.  What has been your experience?  Has technology, for example, given you more control or less control in your your life?


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I think my sense of control has shifted in a good way--emerging technology has expanded my sense of community in ways that I could not have imagined had I been "in control" (e.g. executing some pre-planned approach). I have found that the various social media options—twitter, linked in, and to a certain extent, Facebook have given me both a much greater sense of collegiality with people around the world, helped build relationships--some initiated in person, some have begun via social media--and, as a learning professional, I have discovered a number of resources and information about events that I would not have learned of had someone in my network not shared the link.
Just when I think I am on top of the technology shift, it shifts again! I am constantly learning new ways to do my work and interact with others. Sometimes it is exhilarating and other times terrifying. Once I learn a new way, it creates efficiencies, but while on the learning curve, I feel it slows me down.  I wish I could stop the inflow, learn and then restart....not such luck though. Let's all learn together!
Here's an example of how technology has shifted the world of publishing..... young authors are writing and self-publishing books, then marketing them via Facebook, MySpace, through Twitter and a number of other virtual spaces.  If I was a talented writer I would certainly feel some sense of power to be able to write, publish and market my own works!

I'm wondering if anyone saw the episode of Grey's Anatomy on 2/3 (okay, it's a guilty pleasure :-). One of the story lines focused on using twitter in an informal/situated learning context. We must be on to something!

Here's a link to a clip:



This episode of Greys’ Anatomy was a great example of one of the critical questions being raised about technology. What or should boundaries exist? It’s clear that access to content has broader reach, deeper focus, and increased contributory complexity, but how will and who should validate learning in a technology context? I wonder is the physical construct so significantly changed by the medium that learning evolves to different goals? Clearly social media empowers the individual, and exprapolitating to the classroom, technology enables individual students to drive their learning goals. The flawed supposition is that general users of technology also understand the application of technology in a learning setting. The power shift from delivering all learning content to reshaping a students undrestanding and acceptance of how to learn may be the new challenge.

As a learner, it is exciting to think that I can drive my own learning!  Using technology to search out and collect knowledge....even to some extent get "real world" exposure.  However, from a "teacher/trainer" point of view I feel that I am constantly trying to keep up with "tech" tools and resources...and how to distinguish a "fad" from what will be a valuable source in the future....and should there be some controls in place?  Kurtis....I'm looking forward to hearing more about your experiences and how you are navigating how technology is shifting the way we learn, work and play.

I am fascinated yet sometimes overwhelmed by the speed of technology changes.  Fascinated by the ability to learn about any subject with the click of a mouse.   Overwhelmed by how fast it is changing (simply watch the changes in the mobile phone).     I also think it has created a laziness in people.   We don't have to work as hard to find the answer nor do we have to communicate with others in person as we once did.    I hope there is continued effort to connect what is possible to those often left behind and we continue to enhance education with the use of technology.   

Hi Karen.

I don't know what scares me more... the laziness or the result of the laziness.  One of my concerns is that the technology and how information is structured may actually encourage people to only search for and receive 'snippets' of information.  As a result they don't develop an understanding of the bigger picture.  And let's not even get into the discussion about the accuracy of the information!

Here's an example of using technology to bring history alive.  See this YouTube clip that describes reliving the challenges of the '60's and the civil rights movement.  It is an example of using a virtual simulation to experience a piece of history!


From a training perspective, advances in technology are requiring me to shift from developing training that is 'instructor-focused' to training that is more 'learner-focused'.  In general, technology is now making it necessary for professionals to look at alternative ways (such as Twitter, podcasts, blogs, etc.) to deliver information.  Also, we're no longer providing just training;  we need to provide additional learning events such as pre-work, performance support tools, access to communities of experts, etc. Because of normal day-to-day experiences, people are expecting to receive information using these formats.  (For example, my son's would rather text than call!) Unfortunately, not all companies are keeping pace with what's available. 

Finally, the technology shift has been great for me as a learner.  Most of what I've learned with regards to effective development in Articulate... I've gotten from on-line communities and YouTube!   

I like that technology is allowing more of us to find answers on our own using different media and ways of learning.  There is a bit of frustration at feeling always behind, but it is also exciting to learn something new. I'm trying to reframe that frustration into expectation of change.  As a learner I like the opportunity change brings. As a facilitator of learning, I am working on how to navigate between the possibilities of technology and what modes my learners are willing to use.

Hi Sarah.


I can relate to your frustration.  The bad news is that we're always behind.  The good news is that we're ALL behind so you're not alone!

As a facilitator myself, I think that one of the best things about the technology is that it's going to allow us to 're-insert' the social aspect of learning that was missing for all those years everyone was putting EVERYTHING  online(regardless of whether or not it was appropriate).


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