Posted by: crudbasher | March 2, 2012

Education Content Gets Aggregated

One of the big threads running through my posts is this concept of Disaggregation. Basically I see the main power of the Internet in allowing society to break apart existing structures and reorganize them into new, more efficient models. This breaking apart process I call Disaggregation.

You can see examples of this process everywhere in society. The demise of Borders book stores and Blockbuster video stores are just two examples. They build their business models on the physical distribution of information. The Internet allows that process to happen much more efficiently (and cheaper) so those distributors went out of business.

Schools are designed along the same lines. They are designed to bring student and learning material into the same physical location. Of course, the materials can now be digitized and put online. This means you don’t have to be in physical proximity anymore. There are of course other parts to schools, the most important one of course is the teacher. But what is the teacher’s role in learning? Obviously that’s a complicated question, but one of the main tasks is as a guide. In a traditional classroom, the teacher controls the pace and flow of the learning. They also sometimes control access to information and learning resources. The choices the teacher makes as to textbook, and other materials can vary from class to class. Some choices will work better for some students and not others. Can this packaging of learning materials also happen online? I think it will and here’s an example.

(cc) reallyboring

When I was a kid, I used to make mix tapes of songs I like. You can take music from albums, and break the songs apart. Then you put them together into your own order. I found this interesting product online that allows you to do the same things but for education content. It’s called MentorMob. The way this works is you can use their tool set to essentially build a playlist of web educational resources. It’s like a mix tape of learning. Right now, it looks like many of these resources are Youtube videos but that will gradually change.

Here’s a video explaining how this works.

I think a market will arise for learning object. Anyone will be able to create these and they can take the form of videos, games, quizzes, or puzzles, or even assessments. These will then be offered on a marketplace for people to access. Some will be free and some will be offered at a low cost. The best ones will even be for moderate cost. Users will rate everything so others will be able to know what is good and what isn’t.

Other users will then aggregate these learning objects into playlists to accomplish certain learning goals. The cool part is that a single learning object can be part of many playlists, each tailored to a particular learning style or interest set.

Tools like this might be how very low cost, personalized learning will start to happen. Quietly and on the fringe. Does anyone else know of any similar tools?

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