Monday, April 25, 2011

The Great Mash-Up: Social Networking, OERs, and Learning Outcomes Assessment

While the formal post-secondary education world is focused on how online and blended learning will impact the traditional forms of higher education, a great, disruptive mash-up is happening behind their backs.

·        Abundant Content. Content is available in organized formats for free. Whether you look at MoodleRooms, Apple iTunes University or any other of  an increasing number of sites, quality content is available at low or no price. And for the self-directed learners off on an “adult learning project” ,  as we know from Wikipedia and the explosion in the power of search engines, there is an enormous amount of information available to the personal learner who is pursuing a learning project, not only in his/her local community but also via the web.

·        Abundant Support. Social networking spaces are opening up at an astonishing rate, providing learning support as well as counseling and assessment services to thousands of learners around the world. So, now learners can engage the material and then confer about it with others, seeking guidance on problems they experience as well as the quality of the thinking they are doing. 

·        Abundant Assessment. And learning assessment and degree and career counseling services are evolving that engage adult, self-directed learners in reflective and diagnostic assessment of what they have learned, regardless of where or when or how they learned it. This recognizes all the learning done by a person, validates it, and makes it portable.



When learners and the people who aim to support learning understand the power of this mash-up, how the interaction of these three powerful developmental forces changes the education space, the truly “disruptive” transformation of the teaching/learning paradigm will accelerate. 

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