In Which I Meet Our (Other) Allies

So, I’ve just stumbled into a gold mine. Via an inbound link from Stephen Downes, I’ve discovered that much of what I’ve been calling an inverted LMS has been called elsewhere a PLE (personal learning environment):

Helen Barrett receives an email from Mike Caulfield describing an Inverted LMS, which turns out to be the PLE, independently discovered. More here. She also gets a note from a graduate student, who writes, “I’m trending towards the view that the system we will end up with will use RSS to expose content, tags to organize it, and open ID to selectively share content with certain people.” Yes, as people look at the potential of online technology, they begin reaching similar conclusions. Independently, autonomously.

And it’s true! There is much overlap. But just as I’m about to object that the Inverted LMS goes further than the PLE, I find this post via connections to Downes: Leigh Blackall’s Die LMS Die! You Too PLE! And stuff like this warms the cockles of my heart. All the cockles. Every single one:

Question to the PLE: Why do we need a PLE when we already have the Internet? The Internet is my PLE, ePortfolio, VLE what ever. Thanks to blogger, bloglines, flickr, delicious, wikispaces, ourmedia, creative commons, and what ever comes next in this new Internet age, I have a strong online ID and very extensive and personalised learning environment. Actually I think the PLE idea is better envisioned by the futurist concept known as the Evolving Personalised Information Construct (EPIC). I think we already have EPIC, so why do we need the PLE?

OK — apart from the fact that his was written over a year and a half before, and that it spells personalized with an “s” — isn’t it really Enterprise Learning Systems Considered Harmful to Learning?

The gift keeps on giving: there’s apparently a del.icio.us tag for PLEs. I know because my article was tagged by someone under it. And among those articles are ones that deal with these questions of how loose the PLE should be, ala Blackall.

(Why so few American representatives, I wonder? It’s all Canada, England, New Zealand, and Australia…)

I don’t think any of these ideas are new, really; it’s more that they’ve been refined during the long dark reign of the LMS. Looking at the network of people I’ve stumbled into I can see that they’ve been pushing these ideas outside the mainstream for some time too.

But I can’t help but feel that something is starting to happen here, when so many unrelated people are coming to the same conclusion. The very power of blogs to do what we see here — to organize people and refine ideas, to propel thought forward, to get things done — is what has revealed the LMS model to be such a cruel joke. So it’s not surprising, perhaps, that as blogging becomes ubiquitous these ideas, once considered digital utopianism, now can be expressed in very real and practical terms.

And even where the ideas are old, they now relate to a trailing-edge frame of reference — or soon will.

Over the next couple of days I’ll sift through my newly found goodies, and share what I find. I have a feeling it will be pretty extraordinary.

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4 Comments on “In Which I Meet Our (Other) Allies”

  1. [...] Google alerted me to a new connection the other day. This time it is US linguist and edu blogger Mike Caulfield. Mike’s post that sent a Google Alert to me was about his discovery of a ring of others [...]

  2. Leigh says:

    welcome Mike, good to have your perspective added and help in keeping this issue going to the end: http://learnonline.wordpress.com/2007/07/26/in-which-we-meet-our-other-allies/

  3. Thanks for coming by! There’s actually a lot to sort through — you guys have been prolific. But I think I’ll start with the TALO 2006 pub.

  4. Mike, the “in the institution” versus “out of the institution” control that the LMS provides in favor of in the institution. As I heard an IT administrator once say, “we want our Alexa stats to be as high as possible.” I don’t agree but it is what it is. The institutional control/funneling of the traffic seems to be defying the “loosely joined pieces” benefits of the PLE you describe. BTW, those progressive Australians are onto something with the “thin” model. http://e-standards.flexiblelearning.net.au/docs/vet-eportfolio-report-v1-0.pdf


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