Glass orb with reflection of the landscape in it

eLearn: Feature Article Steven Downes summarises the changes in eLearning, from initially being a radical idea some 10 or so years ago, to the mainstream product that it is today, invariably delivered via some form of LMS. He looks at both the rapidly changing technology as well as the typical user – who are often very different from the user of a decade ago. Downes comments that as well as many users now being “digital natives”, they are also members of a client-centred culture.
Where as music companies may see the growth of file sharing as illegal, Downes suggests

File-sharing, for example, evolves not of a sudden criminality among today’s youth but rather in their pervasive belief that information is something meant to be shared

The rise of social networking sites, such as live journal, lead to the coining of the phrase “Web 2.0”, which sees content creation, sharing, remixing etc., as being key, rather than just the web as a form of information transmission. Further, the inclusion of media other than text & images is frequent.
Downes then moves to the idea of E-Learning 2.0, which he suggests is most similar to Wenger’s communities of practice. He points out, however, that discussions, which may be somewhat contrived & are often embedded in a (probably clunky) LMS, were not really meeting Wenger’s vision.
He notes, however, that the increase of popularity in the classroom of blogs & wikis is leading more to Wenger’s theories.
Downes further expands this – and also looks at work into games and other simulations.

Well worth reading, with many links to other sources.

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