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Archive for October, 2007

Well, if one life was not enough!

I have reading about Secondlife for some time now and decided to get an account. Am called Viplav Tigerpaw now! Secondlife and learning seem to be apparently powerful allies in that the user experience is enhanced considerably in a virtual collaborative world. So email is a thing of the past – you would rather “meet” with your colleagues “in a second virtual life” and chat and share.

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And hello! What is this IMS GLC Common Cartridge specification? http://www.imsglobal.org/commoncartridge.html

Everyone seems to be backing it.  And they promise a common way to port content to all LMS platforms seamlessly.

In order to deliver course content for LMS platforms, content providers find they must build, test and distribute their content for each platform. This duplication of effort increases both production time and costs. Delivering content for specific platforms also limits the development and distribution of content by smaller content providers and acts to exclude less widely used LMS platforms.

The Learning Management System (LMS) market currently spans several course delivery platforms including, but by no means limited to, Angel, Blackboard, Desire2Learn, Moodle, Sakai and WebCT. Most of these systems each use their own proprietary formats for course content and pose an expensive problem for content providers wishing to distribute content across platforms. Many smaller or locally-developed systems are limited in their support for these proprietary formats.

The Solution
The Common Cartridge will define a commonly supported content format, able to run on any compliant LMS platform. It will enable content providers to achieve lower production costs whilst expanding the effective market by eliminating platform dependency. This will both stimulate production by larger content providers and open up the market to their smaller counterparts. The LMS providers in turn, will have a stronger business case to take to their customers, as schools, colleges, universities, training departments and certification programs will have available a broader catalog of offerings reaching deeper into the curriculum.

Wasn’t that the promise of SCORM?

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A problem of plenty

An interesting discussion I had with my team yesterday triggered a lot of thoughts. We were talking about how Internet2 (the next generation 100 Gbps Internet created by Internet2, an advanced US based networking consortium led by the research and education community since 1996) had broken the light barrier for access to content. Add to that the tremendous availability of processing and storage (look at Amazon S3 for an example of how easy it has really become).

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I came across some very interesting articles around collaboration and cooperation in learning. Formally defined, cooperative learning is defined by a set of processes which help people interact together in order to accomplish a specific goal or develop an end product which is usually content specific while (Panitz, 1996). Collaborative learning is defined as a personal philosophy where learners take shared responsibility for their learning goals. In the former, the instructor is at the centre of the learning process, driving the outcomes by a series of structured steps, while in the latter, the learner is at the centre and the instructor guides and facilitates.

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As part of SCORM, ADL teams have worked on basically how to structure and sequence content to the learner and package it for the learning management system or repositories. However what they have not woked on is a standardized set of learning and collaboration services for SCORM compliant content to come alive.

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So everything that we formalize needs a frame of reference. The design of these frameworks and models typically defines the boundaries of what can be achieved. Take for example, ADL’s SCORM. Written by experts across industry and standards organizations, SCORM defines a methodology to design and serve learning content.

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Personal Learning

PLEs (Personal Learning Environments), elearning 2.0, Web 2.0 are areas that have caught my attention lately. I have been researching technology and learning for a long time and I believe that for the first time, things that I thought about are looking tractable. Cryptic for now, but I will try to explain as I go on.

But most interesting is the underlying debate betwen “2.0” and “1.0”. For the moment, for me, it is acquiring dimensions similar to the “open source” versus “proprietary” debate and I am not sure that is right or good.

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