Time for an evolution

Catherine Lombardozzi, Ange's Scribbles, Jan 22, 2013
Commentary by Stephen Downes
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If we think of online learning not as the provision of a process (as we would see in a classroom) but rather as an environment (such as we might see in an application like Word or even a game like Sim City) then instead of 'learning design' we get 'learning environment design'. This has been the subject of Catherine Lombardozzi's work over the last few years. She writes, "a learning environment (to my mind) is a collect of resources and activities for learning. The resources may be inanimate or human; the activities may be formal or informal. A well designed learning environment is curated with a specific need in mind." This concept is as she says undergoing a bit of an evolution; here's what's included to date: resources, people, training and education, development practices, and learning by doing. If I undertook a similar exercise myself (which in a sense I am doing as I design gRSShopper) my list would look like this: people, feeds, resources, events, media and files. That's general purpose; for learning specifically I would contemplate an additional element that I would call scaffolds, which leverage transformations of any of the previous six resources into new concepts, products or activities. I would also include a set of structural elements, not necessarily visible to the user, but essential to the environment designer, such as templates and views, graphs and lookups; these inter=relate objects with each other and with the underlying physical environment.

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