Digital Nation

Social Learning Communities – Building a Peer to Peer Digital Learning Nation

As well as a core E-Learning system our upcoming Learn.scot portal will be equipped with its own social community – Member profiles, blogs, social networking et al.

As the core design goal for the venture describes:

“Scotland has many superstar teachers who could deliver classes to the nation’s kids in a virtual school – we could get to know them as well as our own fantastic class teachers. Lessons could be live and recorded to watch later if children can’t get to them right away.”

In other words the community is just as important as the curriculum content, particularly one that reflects the modern Youtube world.

We learn from people and relationships as much as we do studying materials, and the community platform will cater for this aspect as well as the ability to create e-learning materials, including the ability to post, share and index video content.

Social Learning

Digital transformation guru Dion Hinchcliffe describes this combination as “Social Learning”, the wholesale digital transformation of education, based on:

“models for learning that are more interactive, community-based, peer-produced, and individually-guided. Learning from internal experts, group conversation, and through shared media such as photos and video”

As Dion describes:

This is sharp contrast to the digital era, where knowledge is pervasive, instantly searchable, consumable on-demand, and kept continuously up-to-date by millions of daily global contributors to the online commons. This allows learning — for better or worse, depending on the critic — to be far more situational, on-demand, self-directed, infinitely customized, even outright enjoyable, depending on the user experience, all of which leads to more profound engagement of learners.

In addition, the rise of social networking technology has allowed people with similar learning interests to come together as a group to share knowledge on a subject — and perhaps even more significantly — to express their passion for an area of learning. This can create deeper, more intense, and more immersive educational experiences within a community of like-minded learners.

With a focus on the workplace Shortways describes it as ‘Collaborative Training 2.0’, highlighting a very important point – Despite organizations investing 80% of their training budgets into formal learning it actually only represents 10% of how we learn. 20% is from social interaction and the remaining 70% from on the job experience.

This insight offers massive potential for how we rethink our approach to all education.

The Hospital Portal explores how you might encode these practices into your corporate intranet, achieving them through social media publishing like blogs and forums for HR Benefits and Ask IT Support.

Atomi describes it as one of a number of new trends for learning, along with Micro, Personalized and Mobile Learning, as well as Gamification, all of which again Learn.scot can and will cater for.

Building a Digital Learning Nation

Critically it also enables considerable expansion of the teaching capacity.

Of course teachers themselves are an obvious, immediate source of educational content but to restrict it to teachers alone would simply reinstate the traditional, ‘hierarchical’ model where only the few are Teachers, instead a platform enables a ‘peer to peer’ model, an approach where the many are – A community where every one can be both a Learner and an Instructor to each other, sharing their expertise from across a myriad of topics like business as well as academia.

Scotland is blessed with a tremendously well educated populace, we have a history of the most inventive nation in the world, and better leveraging that whole talent pool is the key goal.

Harnessing modern digital learning platforms can address Scotland’s education challenge, and overall presents the country with the opportunity to modernize not only what we learn, but how we learn, and transform our entire approach to education.

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