e-learning,  VLE,  web 2.0

Future learning environments (the talk I never gave)

I was supposed to give a keynote at University of London this week, but I was laid up with a really bad chest infection (I blog heroically today). If anyone from there is reading this, my apologies. Below is the talk I was going to give. It was about future learning environments. The first half is familiar stuff – looking at the current state of play and setting out the succession model. The main slide is the penultimate one. Here I wanted to demonstrate all the different dimensions to a future learning environment. So I have the following elements and examples:

  • Open content – examples are iTunesU, Openlearn and Slideshare. The point was that good quality content is now readily available and set to grow, so students will be pulling this in from elsewhere not just your centralised system.
  • Virtual Presence – examples were Gabbly and Medium. The point here was that you can now have good synchronous engagement around content.
  • PLE – examples were Stringle, someone’s blog, and Pageflakes. The point I wanted to make was that users will increasingly gather together widgets and tools in a site of their own making.
  • Devices – mobile, Microsoft surface and Nintendo Wii. Changes in interface design make different things possible, they also remove many of our reservations about training and development.
  • Social Network – Facebook, 43Things, LastFM. Lots of points to make here, including the really powerful ways that Facebook has of motivating users to come back to its site (gifts, status updates, friends, etc) – we don’t do this in VLEs. Also the way in which the open API approach means we can go out to them – our VLEs should be feeding into Facebook if that is what students want. And the power of the network to aid content discovery as seen with LastFM, which I’ve blogged about before.
  • Virtual worlds – SecondLife, WorldofWarcraft. Not a lot said on these, but the point about establishing a presence where your students are, e.g. setting up a SL campus, repeated here.
  • Learning Design – Compendium, LAMS. With lots of content what you need are tools to string it together to make meaningful pathways.
  • User generated content – wikiversity, YouTube, Flickr. The general point that producing content isn’t the monopoly of universities in education anymore.


  • Scott Leslie

    Martin, I am sorry to hear you are not feeling well, hope you feel better soon. Thanks for sharing these slides, they succinctly say what often takes 50 or 60 slides to say. If you ever get the chance, I would love to hear more about slide 4, the “Democrats vs. Revolutionaries” slide. I found it very intriguing but there is a lot going on in the slide that I expect a bit of a gloss from you could help me understand. Cheers, Scott

  • Martin

    Hi Scott,
    you mean you haven’t read my VLE book?!! Shame on you 😉 I’ve expanded on it in a post, hope it makes sense.
    And thanks, yes I’m feeling much better now – the miracle of antibiotics.

Leave a Reply

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