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The Future of Online Learning and Personal Learning Environments


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A look at some of the recent accomplishments in e-learning, an outline of network learning, and a description of personal learning environments.

Published in: Education, Technology
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The Future of Online Learning and Personal Learning Environments

  1. 1. The Future of Online Learning and Personal Learning Environments Stephen Downes April 18, 2007
  2. 2. Online Learning <ul><li>Has been around since 1995 or so </li></ul><ul><li>Really grew with the World Wide Web </li></ul><ul><li>Has advanced tremendously </li></ul><ul><li>Many positive developments in the last few years worth sharing… </li></ul>
  3. 3. Open Source Applications <ul><li>Learning Management Systems </li></ul><ul><ul><li>such as Moodle, Sakai, Bodington, ATutor </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Development and CommunityTools </li></ul><ul><li>such as LAMS, Connexions, ELGG, Drupal, </li></ul><ul><li>WordPress </li></ul><ul><li>Supporting Software </li></ul><ul><li>such as Firefox, Thunderbird, </li></ul><ul><li>OpenOffice, Audacity </li></ul>
  4. 4. Open Educational Resources <ul><li>MIT’s OpenCourseWare project </li></ul><ul><ul><li>and the OpenCourseWare Consortium </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Open University’s Open Courses </li></ul><ul><li>OER initiatives </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Hewlett, Wellcome, OECD, UNESCO </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Creative Commons and CC materials </li></ul><ul><ul><li>in Flickr, Yahoo, Google, Wikipedia , Wikiversity, etc. </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. New Environments <ul><li>Multimedia explosion </li></ul><ul><ul><li>podcasts, vodcasts, YouTube, Slideshare, more </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Mobile computing </li></ul><ul><ul><li>mobile phones, PDAs, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The 3D web </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Second Life is a start, we will see more of this </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Access… <ul><li>One-to-one computing </li></ul><ul><ul><li>such as the Maine laptop project, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>now spreading rapidly </li></ul></ul><ul><li>One Laptop per Child </li></ul><ul><ul><li>has launched – </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>computers in Nigeria </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Wireless access </li></ul><ul><ul><li>3G networks, WLAN… </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>It looks like nothing before… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Like open source </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Like Social Networks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Like blogs and blogging </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Like wikis and collaborative writing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Like tagging and Digg and… </li></ul></ul><ul><li>It looks like Web 2.0 </li></ul>Stallman The Internet of 2007
  8. 8. <ul><li>The Concept… </li></ul><ul><li>Learning is centered around the interests of the learner </li></ul><ul><li>This learning is immersive – learning by doing </li></ul><ul><li>The computer connects the student to the rest of the world </li></ul>
  9. 9. Game Based Learning Types: Branching, Spreadsheet, Game, Lab… =Article&key=1116274375
  10. 10. Workflow (Informal) Learning Types: Community of Practice, Environment, Visualization…
  11. 11. <ul><li>Online Learning at the Crossroads </li></ul><ul><li>On the one hand – we have developed tools and systems intended to support traditional classroom based learning </li></ul><ul><li>On the other hand – we could (should?) be developing tools and systems to support immersive learning </li></ul><ul><li>We should be developing for dynamic, immersive, living systems… </li></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>First Iteration: </li></ul><ul><li>User-Produced Media </li></ul><ul><li>Blogs and Blogging </li></ul><ul><li>Podcasting and </li></ul><ul><li>Vodcasting </li></ul><ul><li>Game mods and other </li></ul><ul><li>multimedia </li></ul>
  13. 13. <ul><li>Web 2.0: The Learning Network </li></ul><ul><li>The e-Portfolio lives in the intersection between the worlds for education, work, and home </li></ul><ul><li>A model for e-Portfolio as a learner-managed construct </li></ul><ul><li>Key requirement is easy-to-use tools and hosting services* </li></ul><ul><li>*E.g. the “e-Portfolio-as-blog” approach </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Scott Wilson: </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. The Idea of the PLE…
  15. 15. Plex Personal Learning Environment Example
  16. 16. Collecting and Filtering RSS
  17. 17. RSS Writr
  18. 18. Edu_RSS Viewer
  19. 19. Edu_RSS 0.2
  20. 20. The Challenge… How to find the right resource… <ul><li>at the right time </li></ul><ul><li>for the right person </li></ul>
  21. 21. The old way – use descriptions <ul><li>Dublin Core </li></ul><ul><li>Learning Object Metadata </li></ul>
  22. 22. The New Way: Recommender Systems <ul><li>The idea is that associations are mapped between: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>User profile – properties of given users </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Resource profile – properties of the resource </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Previous evaluations of other resources </li></ul></ul>
  23. 23. Relations between Entities…
  24. 24. Finding Resources is like Finding Patterns in the Mesh the knowledge is in the network the knowledge is the network Old: universals – rules – categories New: patterns – patterns – similarities Tenenbaum
  25. 25. Pattern Recognition… Gibson
  26. 26. stands for? Or is caused by? Distributed Representation = a pattern of connectivity Hopfield
  27. 28. Where is the PLE?
  28. 29. The way networks learn is the way people learn…
  29. 30. Network Learning… <ul><li>Hebbian associationism </li></ul><ul><ul><li>based on concurrency </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Back propagation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>based on desired outcome </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Boltzman </li></ul><ul><ul><li>based on ‘settling’, annealing </li></ul></ul>This…
  30. 31. Leads to This… Personal Learning… To teach is to model and to demonstrate To learn is to practice and reflect
  31. 32. What is the PLE?
  32. 33. We can get an idea of what the PLE looks like by drilling down into the pieces… <ul><li>Model </li></ul><ul><li>conceptual frameworks </li></ul><ul><ul><li>wiki (wiki API, RSS) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>concept maps (SVG, mapping format) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>gliffy (SVG?) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>reference frameworks </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Wikipedia </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>video / 2L 3D representation – embedded spaces </li></ul></ul>The question is – how to transport and represent models that are actually used?
  33. 34. <ul><li>Demonstrate </li></ul><ul><li>reference examples </li></ul><ul><ul><li>code library </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>image samples </li></ul></ul><ul><li>thought processes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>show experts at work (Chaos Manor) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>application </li></ul><ul><ul><li>case studies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>stories </li></ul></ul>The question is, how can we connect the learner with the community at work?
  34. 35. <ul><li>Practice </li></ul><ul><li>scaffolded practice </li></ul><ul><ul><li>game interfaces </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>sandboxes </li></ul></ul><ul><li>job aids </li></ul><ul><ul><li>flash cards </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>cheat sheets </li></ul></ul><ul><li>games and simulations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>mod kits </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>mmorpgs </li></ul></ul>The question is, how can we enable access to multiple environments that support various activities?
  35. 36. <ul><li>Reflection </li></ul><ul><li>guided reflection </li></ul><ul><ul><li>forms-based input </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>presentations and seminars </li></ul></ul><ul><li>journaling </li></ul><ul><ul><li>blogs, wikis </li></ul></ul><ul><li>communities </li></ul><ul><ul><li>discussion, sharing </li></ul></ul>The question is, how can we assist people to see themselves, their practice, in a mirror?
  36. 37. <ul><li>Choice – Identity - Creativity </li></ul><ul><li>simulated or actual environments that present tasks or problems </li></ul><ul><li>OpenID, authentication, feature or profile development </li></ul><ul><li>Portfolios & creative libraries </li></ul>People talk about ‘motivation’ – but the real issue here is ownership
  37. 38. Learning Networks Architecture
  38. 39. Downes