The dots I’m connecting here:
- Sugata Mitra’s 2008 TEDTalk on the hole in the wall learning experiment, ie, kids without structure or teacher teach themselves. (More on this).
- Crowdsourcing. A mass of people working on a problem can and usually do find excellent solutions. Why not apply that to learning?
- iTunes U now incorporates learning management system features, but not the interactive, collaborative ones.
- The University of Notre Dame’s LMS has never supported student preferences for how the student wants to be messaged.
- The University of Notre Dame’s LMS is a repository for copyrighted material and a gathering of FERPA protected students.
As there are two kinds of ePortfolios, there are now two classes of systems which help facilitate learning. I’ve blogged before on what we should call the one system. Well, I think the industry has chosen to continue to have both. On the one hand, we have a learning management system (LMS), the child of the course management system (CMS). This type of system is managed by an institution of higher learning for purposes of providing controlled interaction for formal learning situations resulting in grades and a diploma. We can continue to call it an LMS. To be clear, there are a number of products which could be configured to meet this goal, or configured to meet the next goal. What we call it is dependent on who it’s configured to serve, the student or the institution.
We now begin to see systems, or collections of systems, serving the purpose of fostering and collecting informal and formal learning of students and adults alike. They have these attributes in common:
Student-centric. I can configure how I want to be messaged when a new grade is posted, a new assignment given. I can configure my own blogs, wikis, links to other places I learn outside of my institution, I can receive messages relevant to my learning interests and formal classes. I can form my own ad hoc groups.
Account life. While this system may be hosted by a formal institution of higher learning, provision is made for me to either have access beyond graduation or take it with me.
Copyrighted material can still be accessed after the course is over.
Privacy. There is none. Everyone understands to learn from others, I have to share what I know. Or what I don’t know (my questions). By giving up my privacy in any given domain, I can earn my own “cred” as a learner in that field. I need to willingly agree to carry that risk myself.
These kind of systems, shall we call them Collaborative Learning Environments (CLE) ?