The net enables a different style of learning. Various phrases – on demand learning, user centered learning, life long learning, task oriented learning describe this new model of learning. Social software can have a deep impact on how people learn since it promotes a model of sharing and helping. According to Terry Anderson:
Beyond access to content, perhaps the greatest benefit to both formal and lifelong learners afforded by the Net is the freedom to control one’s learning experience in a number of dimensions.
- Freedom of space – you do not have to go to a physical space to learn
- Freedom of time – you do not have to learn at a specified time
- Freedom of pace – you can learn at your own pace based on your current knowledge, and learning needs
- Freedom of media – pick the one you enjoy from learning the most (audio, video, interactions with others) – choice of learning medium
- Freedom of access – learn what you want, when you want and how much you want
- Freedom of content – you pick the subject and instructional style that best matches your requirements and preferences
- Freedom of relationship – you can engage in the type of learning relationship with other learners and mentors that best fits your individual social needs
One thing that boggles my mind is the amount of work already done in terms of study and research in this space. The more I think about it, the more I am convinced that a set of loosely coupled mashup style embedded applications are the way to weave these social software tools into Learning Spaces. But the LearningSpace is a conceptual space. It cannot be a single destination where people need to go to – like a portal. It needs to be accessible from any place, any time and from any tool that they are used to.