Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community
Yes: "standards are not pedagogically, culturally, or economically neutral." This is why I advocate a system of specifications that allow multiple vocabularies, multiple ontologies, multiple standards. But it does not follow, as seems to be implied especially in the conclusion of Norm Friesen's and Darryl Cressman's paper, The Politics of E-Learning Standardization (from last summer), that learning is and must always be a cottage industry. Yes, as they say, "the domains of education and learning can be understood as being especially local, heterogeneous and contextual." This makes them resistant to industrialization. But while some people treat thinks like learning objects as industrial artifacts, the bricks used as raw materials by the learning factories, I think of them in a sense that supports mass personalization, as words in a vocabulary, like a common language, that can be used to make something new each time one of them is uttered. And yes, the economics of this are relentless, as would be the need to coin a new word every time someone had something new to say.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: Jun 12, 2021 1:40 p.m.