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Social Software, Personal Learning Environments and Lifelong Competence Development

December 11th, 2006 by Graham Attwell

I’ve submitted a paper for the Ten Competence project Conference to be held in Manchester in January.

The paper brings together previous work on Personal Learning Environments with research into the use of ICt for learning in Small and Medium Enterprises. The following extract is from the summary and the full paper can be downloaded below.

“In terms of the development of ICT for supporting lifelong competence development there is the need for a fundamental policy revue. Past models have focused on the extension of the largely consumer driven model of developing standardised learning materials and component qualifications to be delivered through a Learning Management System or Virtual Learning Environment and of targeted marketing campaigns towards enterprises. This model is not only costly but has made little impact and is unsustainable. If learning is best developed through communities of practice then the focus for programmes and projects seeking to provide e-learning for SMEs should be refocused on the provision of applications and support for distributed communities of practice for SMEs.

In terms of software applications this requires the use of social software rather than more traditional e-learning programmes and applications. Rather than subsidise the development of professional learning materials the emphasis could be on the sharing of peer group learning materials through networks. Aggregator applications allow advanced searching and the bringing together of materials from different sources. The refocusing of programmes and projects in this way allow the vision of an ecology of learning materials, rather than the present unsustainable pilot applications.

Thus the development and implementation of Personal Learning Environments for lifelong competence development requires not just a new approach to learning software and architectures, welcome though the Services Oriented Approach is, but the shaping of technology and the co-development of enterprises and business development policies, new pedagogies as well as educational services to facilitate learning and knowledge development.”

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