Monday, January 04, 2010

World is Open-- Macro Trends--2

In my continuing reading of Curt Bonk's, The World is Open here is an important perspective he has about the "macrotrends" related that will have an impact on learning and education:

These are:

1. the availability of tools and infrastructure for learning (the pipes);
2. The availability of free and open educational content and resources (the pages);
3. a movement toward a culture of open access to information, international collaboration, and global sharing (a participatory learning culture). (p. 52).

Bonk writes:
"The convergence of these three macro trends has put in motion opportunities for human learning and potential never before approached in recorded history" (p. 53).
There is a lot of evidence that these trends are moving in the direction that Bonk suggests, but it is far less clear that most of the educational institutions are contributing towards the development of open educational content and a participatory learning culture. Bonk correctly cites some of the important developments (Connexions, MIT Open Courseware, and a few others), but these are still limited efforts.

In fact, these are relatively old (2-3 years ago) developments and there have not been significant other developments in terms of institutions following their lead or in innovative new versions of open educational resources. Perhaps these developments are smaller and less visible, but there have not been any major developments.

What are the real trends in these areas? Are major educational institutions joining the open education trend? To what degree are online learning platforms fostering a participatory learning culture?

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