Responsive Open Learning Environments

Various authors, Website, Oct 16, 2011
Commentary by Stephen Downes

This is a very interesting project and might actually be an instantiation of the Personal Learning Environment that held so much promise a couple of years ago. "ROLE stands for Responsive Open Learning Environments and seeks to put learners in the position to build their own technology enhanced learning environment based on their needs and preferences."

It has a lot in common with the Plearn project we developed in-house at NRC (and then were not allowed to release). For example:
- widget bundles correspond to our concept of scaffolds.
- ROLE-tools are like our third party applications.
- There's anaytics.

And the role project has components we were not allowed to provide in Plearn:
- a website. A demo with feedback.
- Partners and an advisory board.
- Groups for discussions.
- Software Development information and open source
- ROLE Widget Competition and Developer Camp.

There is evidence here of actual business development and the recruitment of a substantial partner and use base. There's a lesson here for managers: if you keep everything hidden to protect your IP, then most of the time, you have no product at all, because you have no user community and no applications. Do I sound bitter? Anyhow, I wish ROLE the best and can't wait to start working with the software.
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