Learners Owning Learning

Who owns learning? The simple answer to that question is “learners do.” Yet, to realize the level of ownership talked about at the recent ELI Annual Meeting, learners also need to be able to evaluate and assess and demonstrate their learning. And not only the learning that is valued by the Faculty, but learning that is valued by the learner. Preparing learners for this kind of a shift is one thing – the institutional reform necessary to transform the learning experience is a mammoth task.

In this month’s Educause Review , Seely-Brown and Adler offer a great overview of both the promise and challenges for learners and those who care about learning in a 2.0 world, which they describe as active, passion-based and beyond the boundaries of formal education to include life-long learning.

“Finding and joining a community that ignites a student’s passion can set the stage for the student to acquire both deep knowledge about a subject (“learning about”) and the ability to participate in the practice of a field through productive inquiry and peer-based learning (“learning to be”). These communities are harbingers of the emergence of a new form of technology-enhanced learning—Learning 2.0—which goes beyond providing free access to traditional course materials and educational tools and creates a participatory architecture for supporting communities of learners.”
Seely-Brown and Adler: Minds on Fire: Open Education, the Long Tail, and Learning 2.0: Educause Review (Jan/Feb 2008)

Seems to me that many learners are there: participating in social/learning communities of many varieties. Some associate the value of these communities with their learning, others – not so much. And some others are not there for reasons related to access, choice, inhibition or perceived lack of value to their learning. We’re in there, too, trying to figure out what this means to our institutions. A number of ELI participants attended a learning circle to discuss some of the institutional issues related to the use of social software and our hosts documented some of our results in this wiki.

Learning 2.0 is about collaboration, collective intelligence and participation and will necessarily challenge every aspect of our traditional institutions and ways of thinking that are rule based, hierarchical and credential focused. Hang on for a long, winding, wild ride!

Note: ELI has posted some excellent presentations from the Annual meeting. Definitely worth a look.

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