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The Future of Online Learning and Knowledge Networks
The Future of Online Learning and Knowledge Networks
The Future of Online Learning and Knowledge Networks
The Future of Online Learning and Knowledge Networks
The Future of Online Learning and Knowledge Networks
The Future of Online Learning and Knowledge Networks
The Future of Online Learning and Knowledge Networks
The Future of Online Learning and Knowledge Networks
The Future of Online Learning and Knowledge Networks
The Future of Online Learning and Knowledge Networks
The Future of Online Learning and Knowledge Networks
The Future of Online Learning and Knowledge Networks
The Future of Online Learning and Knowledge Networks
The Future of Online Learning and Knowledge Networks
The Future of Online Learning and Knowledge Networks
The Future of Online Learning and Knowledge Networks
The Future of Online Learning and Knowledge Networks
The Future of Online Learning and Knowledge Networks
The Future of Online Learning and Knowledge Networks
The Future of Online Learning and Knowledge Networks
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The Future of Online Learning and Knowledge Networks

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Stephen Downes presentation to education.au, …

Stephen Downes presentation to education.au,
Adelaide, Australia,
September 29, 2004

Published in: Business, Education
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  • 1. The Future of Online Learning and Knowledge Networks Stephen Downes Adelaide, Australia September 29, 2004
  • 2. An Emerging Consensus…
    • Learning objects, LOM, learning design
    • Enterprise architecture, common services, federated search
    • Mostly based on Java, web services
    • Commercial orientation, bundles and packaging, institutional purchasers, site licensing
  • 3. Problems With the Consensus
    • Dissatisfaction, low uptake of learning objects, the reusability paradox
    • High barrier to adopting enterprise systems, supporting federated search (the closed marketplace)
    • Issues with Java, web services
    • Soft market for ‘content’, DRM issues
  • 4. Analysis (1)
    • The e-learning industry is misreading the marketplace
    • Though short term gains may be found at the enterprise level, the long term market is at the consumer level
    • The major product (for both industry and academia) is not content, but services
  • 5. Analysis (2)
    • The e-learning industry is misreading the technology…
    • Though some technologies are adopted by the enterprise, the major drivers are technologies adopted by users (email, web)
    • Large, centralized systems have a dubious history (with some exceptions – Google, Amazon), while distributed systems rule
  • 6. Analysis (3)
    • The e-learning industry is misreading the business models…
    • While broadcast (push) still works at the enterprise, the major gains are being made by grassroots adoption (ICQ, blogs, RSS)
    • Consumers are becoming producers, marketplaces are becoming conversations
  • 7. Analysis (4)
    • The e-learning industry is misunderstanding convergence
    • While vertical markets represent the ascendance of big media, real gains are being made in horizontal markets (eg. Craig’s List)
    • Innovation should not be based on the ‘sector’ but the ‘person’
    • E-learning merging with other sectors
  • 8. Rethinking Search
    • Why federated search is the wrong way to go…
      • It closes the market to small players (and most producers are small players)
      • It restricts options for searchers (and searchers want options)
      • It is inefficient and slow (and searchers want speed)
  • 9. The Harvest Model
    • Metadata is collected by ‘aggregators’ which then provide custom (cross sectoral, cross provider) services to searchers
    • Aggregate, repurpose, remix, feed forward
    • Proven technology; consider Google
    • Already major adoption in RSS, OAI
  • 10. But Most Importantly…
    • Federated search assumes a unidirectional flow of metadata, from producer to consumer
    • It ensures that there is only ‘one voice’ in the description of learning resources
    • It represents the ‘library’ model of static resources, while search itself is becoming a dynamic ‘flow’ model
  • 11. Rethinking Metadata
    • A separate metadata or learning? Yes, but only minmally
    • One standard for all? Not likely
    • Metadata as mix-and-match – a combination of different schemas (the RDF model)
    • Multiple authors of metadata
  • 12. Metadata Types
    • ‘ First Party’ – bibliographic metadata, rights and authorship information – metadata created by the creators of resourcs
    • ‘ Second Party’ – usage information, educational metadata – metadata created by the users of resources
    • ‘ Third Party’ – classifications, evaluations and ratings – metadata created by observers
  • 13. Resource Profiles
    • Similar to the idea of a personal profile
    • Resources are released to the system with minimal descriptive metadata
    • As it is evaluated and used, a resource acquires second and third party metadata – a ‘reputation’
    • Multiple views, multiple profiles
  • 14. Distributed Metadata
    • No ‘single source’ for metadata about a learning resource
    • Different locations / providers host:
      • Bibliographic metadata
      • Rights metadata
      • Classifications
      • Evaluations and use reports
  • 15. The Network is the Search
  • 16. Properties of Networks
    • Robust, reliable, redundant
    • ‘ Small pieces loosely joined’ – simple technology (social agents)
    • Self-organizing, targetted
    • Capacity for growth, scalable
    • But require: open access for data flow, autonomy at the unit level, feedback (back propogation) mechanism
  • 17. Edu_RSS and DLORN
    • Demonstration of aggregation, remix and feed-forward
    • Written in small, simple software
    • Efectiveness already demonstrated
    • Emulated by commercial grade software – eg. Thomson’s Urchin
  • 18. The Big Idea…
    • E-learning not as static, course-based resources assembled and delivered by institutions…
    • But rather, e-learning as dynamic, unstructured stream of learning resources obtained and organized by learners…
  • 19. Take One…
    • The ‘learning browser’ – a learner based e-learning tool accessing multiple feeds from multiple providers…
    • A more-or-less consistent content format using XML, XSLT, Javascript, CSS
  • 20. Take Two…
    • ‘Learning Environments’… an application or social based framework into which learning resources are ‘fed’
    • Examples: simulations, games, performance support systems
    • Long-term – ubiquitous e-learning that followers the learner app to app, place to place

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