Open Learning and Large Learning Objects (Courses)

Open Learning and Large Learning Objects (Courses) -

Reflections about by Spike Hall and Sebastian Fiedler about open learning and large learning objects. ____JH

"Open Learning" and "Large Learning Objects" (Courses).

Spike Hall picture: Summary: Formal, instructionally oriented knowledge offerings continue to expand. Now, if certification via passage through a "program" ,i.e., pay-for-learning sequence, is not of concern, you may work your way to learning "world class" knowledge without having to pay "world class" prices. From your home computer.

This is, among other things, a move in the direction of distributive justice, countering the tendency for the rich (in knowledge) to get richer and the poor (having little knowledge and little real access to it) to get poorer.

All we need now is for everyone to have online access and the ability to use it. (A computer in every hut?) ... [Spike Hall]

Sebastian Fiedler Icon: This is connected to what I tried to get across at the recent BlogTalk Downunder conference in Sydney, Australia. The current global trend to push more and more people into contract work or some sort of self-employment does not only force individuals to take responsibility for upgrading their own skill and knowledge base, it might also result in a growing independence from certification and accreditation on a personal level. After all, what's the point in getting certification if no HR guy or girl is looking at your CV anymore. It is more likely that you will have to show a record of clients, projects, artifacts etc. instead of Diplomas, Degrees, and so forth. Reputation is built differently in the part of a networked society that lives and operates outside of the big corporate business world.

Now, it is interesting to watch that big institutions like Utah State or MIT (see Spikes post for more details and links) support the Open Learning Support movement, but from my perspective we are still too focused on content. It is not only about learning objects, courses, and materials. What is lacking is a vision of how we can also establish and sustain conversational encounters (for learning) with people in a more targeted way. And yes, we must also think about economic models that could support such a development. Not all "experts", teachers or consultants are economically covered by large institutions and can give away most of their time for nothing. But if content becomes less and less of an issue we need to think about educational services that could operate in such an environment on a more decentralized, yet economically viable model.

This requires more than allowing people to access professionally developed materials. It would require affordable infrastructure to create, share, communicate ... or should we say directly interface with individuals, in synchronous an asynchronous ways. Weblogs, Webfeeds, Social Networking services, they mean a big leap forward, but we also need video/audio, application sharing, and so forth. All these pieces are coming together step by step... and they create a whole new infrastructure which "if certification via passage through a "program" ,i.e., pay-for-learning sequence, is not of concern" (to use Spikes's words here) will allow many people to establish new relationships for learning.

This is way I think educational research needs to pay more attention to what is happening outside of formal educational settings. Instead of tweaking open practices like Weblog authoring so that they fit the current formal education enterprise, we might as well explore what happens if you take out some of the assumptions that drive formally organized learning. [Sebastian Fiedler]

[Seblogging News]
[EduResources Weblog--Higher Education Resources Online]