Friday, February 22, 2008

A Missing Part of eLearning

The Internet has solved the problem of making a lot of information (easy web-based publishing tools) available and building a systems of finding information (search), but the task of organizing this information remains the "user's problem." And it is a big problem. I am not talking about better search strategies that help me find information more specific to my interests. We need that too, but I am talking about organizing the information that is on the topic that I am interested in, but comes in lots of disparate pieces.

I think one of the reasons for the popularity of Wikipedia is that the information has a structure. If I look for information there, I know that it will be organized in some type of framework and if the topic is related to other ideas, then I can go read those other ideas. In short, I can follow a logical path through the content.

So clearly one solution to the problem of lots of information is organizing it. But if "Everything is Miscellaneous" as David Weinberger tells us, then how to be put it back together. There are a variety of "aggregator" tools, but this is a long way from satisfactory, this simply puts all the miscellaneous stuff into one big pot.....There is still no "organization" to the stuff. I can tag it and hook various ideas together... again a useful tool, but still there is only limited organization.

It seems to me that I need an "outline" tool. A tool that allows me to take my miscellaneous tags and give them structure and pattern. I want to provide structure to my "cloud" of ideas. So what am I missing here?

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