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Archive for December, 2007

Predictions for 2008

Well, it is that time of the year when everyone would perhaps be reasonably interested in forecasting what the next year will bring. Here are my 2 cents:

  • PLEs will be shareable – tools shall arrive on the web that shall allow entire learning experiences to be sliced and shared between users. This shall be followed by ratings on which PLE slices are great. Any learner wanting to learn about a topic will take a PLE slice of a person who the community says has mastered it and follow the learning path.
  • Hybrid VLE + PLE systems – LMS/VLE enterprise systems shall incorporate many social constructivism inspired features and organizations will pick up this trend.
  • The first classification systems to manage and search the huge amount of tagging will start to surface. Folksonomies will start getting structured in some way.
  • The shift to rich Internet applications in e-learning using Flex and Silverlight among other tools, shall become a reality thus providing a boost to gaming and simulations for learning.
  • Learning process outsourcing will get established as a business model for small and medium companies.

Hopefully, all these will come true. We will check back at the end of next year, then, to see if these were any good! Meanwhile, all my best wishes for the new year!

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Only the paranoid survive. Andrew Grove’s 2003 book by the same name reflects on the strategic inflection point when something in the environment changes in a fundamental way that is not so apparent in our daily chaos of survival.

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Chaos

The learning process appears to be inherently chaotic. Let us look at the different dimensions. The course content, instructional strategy, quality of instruction, cultural-historical variations, our own personalities, technology experience, accessibility and a host of other dimensions impact the learning process.

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Classifying the web and getting people what they are looking for. Now that is a daunting task when you know that there are over 10 billion web pages, that most of them are unstructured and a whole lot of them contain information that is hidden behind security, script and non-textual media.

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Well, the rush is on to futurecast the next generation of everything! The pundits are exhaling everything related to community, content, social learning, commerce, technology, change, collaboration, virtualization, personalization, ubiquity, context, search, faceted classification et al into new versions and avatars of the web and learning. The race is on getting the next version X.0 right!

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Lev Vygotsky, a Soviet developmental psychologist (1896-1934), also known as the founder of cultural historical psychology, believed that our learning depends heavily on the social and cultural context within which we exist and the role of interpersonal communication. Theories such as cognitive apprenticeship, activity theory, situated learning and distributed cognition have been reportedly influenced by Vygotsky’s thinking.

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Rich Internet Applications technology is gaining ground in learning development as a means of providing feature rich functionality, extensibility and highly interactive user interfaces at the level of a web browser. The Servitium team recently developed the prototype of a concept that merged the developments in RIA (with Flex), social constructivism and Web 2.0.

Apart from featuring a mini-PLE, community building tools, highly interactive user experiences and extensibility through web services, the concept talked about being able to extend and shape the entire learning experience in a personalized manner with learners taking control of what they wanted and when they wanted it.

One of the highlights was the thought of using business intelligence tools for continuously evolving and adapting the user experience. With detailed tracking features for every user interaction, it is empirically possible to understand how learners use electronic resources to advance knowledge and collaboration. This is also extremely useful in building systems for adaptive personalization – personalization that provides probabilistic recommendations to shape the learning experience.

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