Tuesday, August 15, 2006

E-Learning 2.0

There has been a lot of buzz coming my way about Web 2.0 and its impact on education. Stephen Downes discussed e-Learning 2.0, a term that does not refer to the numerous course management systems that are more about teaching than learning. What is the comparable tool to support lifelong self-directed learning, like eBay for online auctions, or Amazon for books (and a lot more now), or iTunes for music (and now video), or MySpace for social networking? It's more than using blogs, wikis, RSS feeds, podcasting, digital storytelling, ePortfolios to support learning. It's really the synergy between all of these applications. It's also access to a variety of learning resources through intelligent search engines. In the 1980s, I remember the adult learning literature talked about people who would function as "learning brokers" while today we could look to the Internet to fill that role. Is it possible to create such an online environment to go beyond the minimal goal-setting function of 43Things.

Here are a few websites that I found googling around the web:
Knowledge on Demand, an EU-funded project from Greece around 2002 (pre-Web 2.0)
Teachers Pay Teachers and the CNN.com article that says it aims to be the eBay for educators
Web 2.0 has hit Business Week.
Edu 2.0 just recently launched.

All of these sites contain a piece of the puzzle, but nothing rises to the level of those other websites that I mentioned above. So what should be part of an online environment to support lifelong self-directed learning. What is the "killer app" for lifelong learning?

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