"The PLE project recognises the fundamental flaws in Virtual Learning Environments or Learning Management Systems (VLE, LMS), but falls short in its vision of an alternative. At this stage in the project it is suggesting that the PLE be a desktop application for a student (sounds a bit like my old Perfect LMS idea) or a singular portal online.
At risk of sounding like a broken record, I'll have to repeat my defining question about Internet enhanced learning, but this time in response to the PLE.
Question to the PLE: Why do we need a PLE when we already have the Internet? The Internet is my PLE, ePortfolio, VLE what ever. Thanks to blogger, bloglines, flickr, delicious, wikispaces, ourmedia, creative commons, and what ever comes next in this new Internet age, I have a strong online ID and very extensive and personalised learning environment. Actually I think the PLE idea is better envisioned by the futurist concept known as the Evolving Personalised Information Construct (EPIC). I think we already have EPIC, so why do we need the PLE?
To extend the statement: We insignificant little teachers and our out of date schools and classrooms don't need to be investing in media projects like VLEs, LMS and even PLEs. Our dam walls of knowledge have burst! and no amount of sand bagging will stop the flood that is clearly discrediting our authority over learning. Media, and with it communications, will evolve (as it certainly has in the last 50 years or more) well beyond the limitations of our classrooms, with investments and broadcast influence we can't even fathom. Why waste our precious money and time on projects that only serve to suspend our true position within that media scape. The PLE makes me think of ELGG, and it all makes me wonder why it is we educationalists still think we are even relevant anymore. The people (yes that includes us) are learning how to read and write for themselves, and in an amazing act of collective generosity, the people are teaching each other – why do they even need our classrooms... is it perhaps only credentialism that we offer? Or is it also sense of security and safety? Is it false?"
(Leigh Blackall, 13 November 2005)
Fig.1 "Lords of Graphite" by 5star (Neil Caldwell).
"Stephen Downes is a senior researcher for Canada's National Research Council and a leading proponent of the use of online media and services in education. As the author of the widely–read OLDaily online newsletter, Downes has earned international recognition for his leading–edge work in the field of online learning. He developed some of Canada's first online courses at Assiniboine Community College in Brandon, Manitoba. He also built a learning management system from scratch and authored the now–classic 'The Future of Online Learning'.
At the University of Alberta he built a learning and research portal for the municipal sector in that province, Munimall, and another for the Engineering and Geology sector, PEGGAsus. He also pioneered the development of learning objects and was one of the first adopters and developers of RSS content syndication in education. Downes introduced the concept of e–learning 2.0 and with George Siemens developed and defined the concept of Connectivism, using the social network approach to deliver open online courses to three thousand participants over two years."
"Pearson today made a major move to increase access and collaboration in higher education by launching OpenClass. A key component of Pearson's vision to increase access, achievement and affordability, OpenClass offers institutions and instructors the ability to engage and interact with their students using the collaborative technologies that students are embracing – at no cost.
OpenClass is a new kind of self–service learning management system (LMS) delivered from the Cloud. It is easy to use and completely free. There are no hardware, licensing or hosting costs, thus enabling widespread adoption of new learning approaches that encourage interaction within the classroom and around the world.
'Now, educators and students are able to communicate and collaborate in new ways across institutions and around the globe – providing a richer, more personal and more connected learning experience. At no cost,' said Matt Leavy, CEO of Pearson eCollege.
OpenClass integrates seamlessly with Google Apps for Education™ and will be available starting this week in the Google Apps Marketplace™, Google's online storefront for Google Apps™ products and services. With single sign–on and a unified navigation bar, instructors and students can launch OpenClass from within Google Apps or access their Google applications from OpenClass. Launching OpenClass in the Google Apps Marketplace™ provides institutions with the easiest path to adoption and an avenue to reach institutions already familiar with the benefits of cloud–based solutions.
'We're excited to have OpenClass in the Google Apps Marketplace,' said Obadiah Greenberg, Google's Business Development Manager for Education. 'OpenClass is tightly integrated with Google Apps for Education, our free suite of communication and collaboration applications. Through the Google Apps Marketplace, schools will have access to OpenClass. We are happy to offer this complementary learning management system to the millions of students, faculty and staff already using Google Apps.'
'OpenClass has huge potential for higher education,' said Adrian Sannier, Senior Vice President of Learning Technologies at Pearson. 'OpenClass accelerates what technology will do for learning with a free, open and innovative platform that easily scales and lets students work via social media, with an intense focus on learning that elevates achievement.'
Pearson, working closely with its design partners, will rapidly advance the capabilities of OpenClass to leverage the rich data and social foundations of the platform and the ability to release new functionality frequently. Design partners include Abilene Christian University, Arizona State University, Central Piedmont Community College, West Virginia University at Parkersburg, Monash University, Kentucky Community & Technical College System, Rice University, the University of Wisconsin Extension and Columbia University. Many of these institutions are already teaching courses on OpenClass this fall.
'We truly believe that OpenClass is a disruptive technology for education,' said Kevin Roberts, Chief Planning and Information Officer at Abilene Christian University. 'Pearson's commitment to providing an open and free platform is monumental. The days of 'business as usual' in higher education are gone. OpenClass is a powerful tool to help us move forward into the connected, mobile and open world that we live in.'"
(Susan Aspey, Pearson press release 13 October 2011)
"What happens when online learning software ceases to be a type of content–consumption tool, where learning is 'delivered,' and becomes more like a content–authoring tool, where learning is created? The model of e–learning as being a type of content, produced by publishers, organized and structured into courses, and consumed by students, is turned on its head. Insofar as there is content, it is used rather than read– and is, in any case, more likely to be produced by students than courseware authors. And insofar as there is structure, it is more likely to resemble a language or a conversation rather than a book or a manual.
The e–learning application, therefore, begins to look very much like a blogging tool. It represents one node in a web of content, connected to other nodes and content creation services used by other students. It becomes, not an institutional or corporate application, but a personal learning center, where content is reused and remixed according to the student's own needs and interests. It becomes, indeed, not a single application, but a collection of interoperating applications–an environment rather than a system.
It also begins to look like a personal portfolio tool. The idea here is that students will have their own personal place to create and showcase their own work. Some e–portfolio applications, such as ELGG, have already been created. IMS Global as put together an e–portfolio specification. 'The portfolio can provide an opportunity to demonstrate one's ability to collect, organize, interpret and reflect on documents and sources of information. It is also a tool for continuing professional development, encouraging individuals to take responsibility for and demonstrate the results of their own learning'."
(Stephen Downes, 17 October 2005)
Fig.1 Andrey Nepomnyaschev, 'Six Seconds', LooksLikeGoodDesign.
"the dominant learning technology employed today is a type of system that organizes and delivers online courses – the learning management system (LMS). This piece of [e–learning 1.0] software has become almost ubiquitous in the learning environment; companies such as WebCT, Blackboard, and Desire2Learn have installed products at thousands of universities and colleges and are used by tens of thousands of instructors and students. The learning management system takes learning content and organizes it in a standard way, as a course divided into modules and lessons, supported with quizzes, tests and discussions, and in many systems today, integrated into the college or university's student information system."
(Stephen Downes, 17 October 2005)
Downes, S. (17 October 2005). "E–learning 2.0." eLearn Magazine, an Association for Computing Machinery, Inc. publication.