digital scholarship,  e-learning,  higher ed,  openness,  Weblogs,  YOFL

Year of Future Learning – an experiment

I want to try something out, so would like people's views on it. My idea is to try and get some focused activity going around the concept of the learner of the future. Think of it as either a distributed research process or adding a layer of intentionality over some of what we do in the blogosphere.

I have this feeling that between us there are often very good conversations, excellent resources, great ideas, etc but we don't always take the next step in synthesising or collecting these. 

Here is what I have in mind: A loosely coupled, distributed research 'project'. We declare 09 the 'year of
future learning' (#YOFL or #FLY – take your pick). I accept that 'the year of X' is a bit naff, and comes with all sorts of
anti-arguments, (what about next year?) but as a means of focusing our energies, providing
opportunities for review, and giving a broad enough umbrella it provides a
useful framework.

is a means of aggregating existing resources and events by tagging them
– in the Weinberger sense, we may as well put our leaves on as many
branches as possible, so for instance there will be sessions at
Northern Voice and Alt-C which could be made part of the YOFL simply by
adding the tag.

But I see it as much more than just another meme or tag, I also want to use it as a means of instigating some new open, distributed activities. I have in mind the following:

  • A set of interesting questions generated by the community
  • Connected
    blog posts around particular topics – blog-carnivals Tony has pointed me at
  • An
    open, special edition journal
  • Combined research results
  • A
    workshop format that anyone can run, and share results via a wiki
  • 'Live'
    events eg George Siemens' Elluminate sessions
  • 'Flash
    debates' in twitter around a specific topic, which are then summarised
  • Face
    to face sessions at various conferences
  • A
    wiki/blog/site collecting all of this material together
  • An
    end of year review

 I want to avoid any perceptions of elitism  so the idea is that this is
open to anyone. I've emailed a few blog chums to see if they would be interested in doing some of the above, to give it some traction, but essentially it's open. If there is a topic of burning interest to you, run an activity and it'll be pulled in.

In addition, my colleague Grainne Conole also has lots of links
into various communities, so we will be running a number of face to face
activities also. This involves 'talking to people' – not sure what that is, probably some cool web 2.0 service.

The experiment for me is whether the online community can work this way, or whether it really does need a more directed, formal research project. At the moment I think we have
good conversation. Conversations and dialogue can be spontaneous but they can also be focused, with a specific aim. Similarly, we have a
loose-knit community of sorts, and communities can be around general
areas of interest, but they can also have a common goal ('overthow a
president', 'find Dave a date').

It is this second, more intentional layer that I was hoping we might
foster this year. I like finding other people's posts and riffing off
(or ripping off) ideas, but I want to explore whether the edublog
community can do a bit more. Whether we can have purposeful
conversations, aimed at addressing a specific problem.

To kick off I have created a wiki here for setting out the big questions.

I am go to aggregate anything with #YOFL and #FLY tags at some point. I make the solemn promise to summarise these once a month and try to put some interpretation to them, although anyone else is also free to do the same of course.

I will also set in motion a few activities, such as those listed above.

So, what do you think? Oh, here's a logo:



  • Patrick

    I agree with AJ – yofl. More important that it is unique(ish) than whether it sounds better. So happy with the tag – less keen on what it expands to as why pick just on a year? Could go for “Yo Future Learning” as in “Yo Blair!” or Yet (an)Other Future Learning thing or Yippee Open Free Learning (but that leaps forward to the answer :-)).
    Anyway good concept, good idea, good tag (are you thinking about a domain grab?) – and that is probably enough.

  • Michael Rees

    YOFL is definitely more distinctive and memorable than FLY. The process of refining and distillation from wikis et al will be as interesting as the content generated. I look forward to attempting to contribute in a meaningful way.

  • Dominik Lukes

    This is an intriguing idea. I’m particularly excited by blog carnivals.
    I wonder if Friendfeed might be a useful utility for aggregation of some of the streams. Also, Ning or Wikia could serve as a potential locus of the community – both providing a few more tools than Pbwiki.

  • Bacigalupe

    Is it the tool or how the tool is being used? The trick may have also been figuring out who could be part of the dialogue. Did you have twitters with some impact to get it running?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *