Friday, October 17, 2008

E-Learning 2.0

What is E-Learning 2.0 ?

E-Learning 2.0 was coined by Stephen Downes, a Canadian researcher, and it is derived from the general e-learning trends in combination with Web 2.0. The nature of the Internet, and more importantly, the people using the Internet, has changed. These changes are extensive covering entire industries.

New trends

A trend that has captured the interest of numerous pundits is the changing temperament of Internet users themselves. Sometimes called "digital natives" or "n-gen," these new users approach work, learning and play differently.

They take in information quickly, in images and video as well as text, from numerous sources concurrently. They function at "twitch speed," and expect instant reaction and feedback. They favor random "on-demand" contact to media, expect to be in continuous communication with their associates (who may be nearby or around the world), and they are as likely to craft their own media (or download someone else's) as to buy a book or a CD.

Web 2.0

What was happening was that the Web had shifted from being a medium, in which information was broadcast and consumed, into being a platform, in which content was produced, shared, remixed, repurposed, and passed along. Web 2.0 also has meant a change in the way applications are constructed. The web has become an omnipresent computing platform that facilitates the delivery of software as a service. In the next few years, it will be progressively rarer to buy software for installation on a local computer. Instead most software will be delivered as a service through the web, and the same software will often provide components that can be used effortlessly in other applications. A good example of this is the many mash-ups of Google Maps, which permit users to view real estate listings, and other data points on a map.


E-Learning 2.0 opens new opportunities to learning. The learning community must be at the forefront of this trend. It must become adept in these tools and make sure it understands how they can be utilized as part of formal and informal learning. Eventually, the creative use of the read/write web and learning the related learning skills will be the most important factor in becoming leaders in E-Learning 2.0. As a preliminary point, workplace learning professionals need to get familiar with the tools and begin the skill building procedure. In other terms, time must be spent in learning how to learn. Continuous adopting of tools and practices that help personal and group learning is the key. Then, it can be utilized as part of an overall e-learning solution in the organization.


As the numbers suggest, E-Learning 2.0 is a bigger leap in learning than the shift from E-Learning 1.0 to E-Learning 1.3. E-Learning 2.0 is based on web tools that merge ease of content creation, delivery, and integrated teamwork. Anyone can create content as part of their day-to-day work. In spirit, the idea of E-Learning 2.0 is that sharing and learning becomes a natural action that is directed and driven by the worker/learner. Learning has become a combination of access to content, which often obtained from the work of peers, as well as contact with peers through online social networking. Indeed, many people cite the social or network effect as having the maximum opportunity for impact on learning.