Feb 28, 2007

Outside in learning

In looking at what I wrote are the top 10 interesting learning technology applications currently available, one common theme is that they are all "outside in" services. In other words, they don't start with the proposition that learning, or education, begins with an institution. Indeed, they all explicitly or implicitly reject that proposition and instead posit that the student, the learner, can also be at the core of education and learning.

Thus, while I do find some learning, or course, management systems to to be useful (and even necessary) applications, they are less interesting examples of leveraging technology to fundamentally shift the learning and educational paradigms.

As edugator writes:

Curration and editorial control are the two key ingredients in the secret sauce that turn information into knowledge. This is the much-overlooked other side of the Web 2.0 coin: who filters the signal from the noise? Traditional publishers who accept the paradigm shift and make their materials accessible online in new ways will continue to wield strong advantages based on well-earned reputation and competency. Meanwhile, an enormous opportunity has opened for others to step and provide context to the clutter.
Indeed, real innovation will come from doing alot more than making materials accessible online -- it will come from making connections, in a data-accessible way -- by and among information and people. It will come from giving those tools (and the control that comes from it) directly to consumers themselves in, as some have suggested, a DIY fashion. That is a paradigm shift that my top-10 list attempts to get at.

Finally, my partner Jonathan Edson recently wrote about a macro level view of this and what we are trying to do with Carmun in the context of what he calls "Intellectual Enfranchisement:"
At Carmun, we hope to build a virtual community that provides access for any and all people to that same kind of intellectual foment. If we are successfully, perhaps one day, people will feel that the education you receive has to do with what you put into it and not what institution you are lucky to attend.