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E-Learning 2.0: How a vision gradually becomes a reality

May 14, 2010 by Eelco Herder   Comments (0)

In an often cited article from 2005, Stephen Downes  expresses his vision of ‘e-learning 2.0’: a learner-centred design that is used by digital natives, who syndicate, absorb and share information from multiple sources simultaneously.

  • social networking sites are used to form communities of practice
  • learners create their own (multimedia) content in the form of blogs
  • Wikipedia articles and YouTube videos
  • content is not packed into a LMS, but syndicated using RSS readers
  • game-based and mobile learning will create opportunities for ‘ubiquitous learning’

Notice the strong focus on the creation and aggregation of content, whereas the trend in LMSs is mainly towards collaboration and communication through forums, chat and whiteboards.

Stephen Downes' vision gradually becomes a reality: e-learning professionals adopt a wide range of Web 2.0 tools – as an alternative for closed LMSs. There is an increased interest in platforms and approaches for combining the different tools in mashup applications.

The Centre for Learning and Performance Technologies (C4LPT) Website  provides a list of ‘25 key tools every learning professional should have in their Toolbox’, according to a panel of 278 e-learning professionals – varying from primary school teachers to consultants. 

Most of the categories are related to productivity: blogging and microblogging, presentations, screencasts, office suites, course authoring, Web authoring, Wiki, images, audio and video.

A second major category is communication and networking: social bookmarking, email, instant messaging, Web conferencing, social networking and social media.

The third category comprises personal management tools: calendar, mind mapping and personal dashboards.

Interestingly, the extensive top-100 tools for learning 2009 (C4LPT as well) contains very few tools that are specifically designed for learning. Rather, they seem to support organizing learning: planning of activities, communication, creation, sharing and search. The only learning (management) system in the top-30 is Moodle at rank 12 – even below the Audacity Sound Editor and Recorder.

Further, even though the Top 100 Tools for Learning 2009 has been compiled based on a panel of 278 learning professionals, the list is far from stable.

  • Twitter has made an enormous jump from rank 43 in 2007 to rank 1 in 2009
  • Slideshare jumped from rank 31 to rank 7
  • Skype dropped from rank 3 in 2007 to a shared rank 11 in 2009

I am curious what the learning tools directory will look like at the end of 2010. I bet that one of the newcomers will be the meeting scheduling site Doodle (I wonder why it doesn't show up in the 2009 list). And what about the scholarly reference management site CiteUlike?

Any more candidates? Place your bets as a comment to this blog.

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