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Learning Outside the Classroom
Sunday, August 29, 2004
Isn't RSS wonderful? Actually, I should ask "Aren't webfeeds wonderful?" because Amy Gahrain's term describes what we get better than any TLA (three-letter acronym).

This morning, Bloglines led me to a refreshing and informative article by Stephen Downes in College Quarterly. I'm preparing for a conference where my audience will have more educators than business people, so I was scouring the literature when I came upon Stephen's From Classrooms to Learning Environments: A Midrange Projection of E-Learning Technologies.

When a new technology appears on the scene, it starts out performing an old task in new ways. Hence, we had the "horseless carriage" before it evolved into the automobile.

Horse putting car

Stephen points out how the electronic classroom is evolving into something entirely different, the learning environment. The good aspects of the learning automobile, its radial tires and microprocessor controls for example, are shared, reusable content, syndication, and personalization. Just as the automobile no longer has a way to hook up the horses just in case, the learning environment often exists outside of the classroom.

The transition is not without risks, among them commodification, mistaking a part for the whole, and creating a 24x7 hell for learners. (In my shorthand, this is focusing on workflow while leaving out the flow.)

Stephen's article is a keeper, so much so that I'm going to experiment with keeping a cache of articles worth revisiting.


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