Learning in the digital age

Personal Learning

I’m excited about gaining deeper insight into learning and digital media. I would say that I have a decent exposure to the possibilities and a fair level of comfort with some of the Web 2.0 technologies (blogs, wikis, skype, …), but there are some I haven’t a clue about (don’t have a Facebook or Twitter accts, …yet). One thing that I hope to incorporate into my use is the idea of a personal learning network or environment (PLE). On reading about the concept (Downes, 2007), I would say that I have a unconsciously assembled a PLE of sorts. I think it’s the unconsious part that strikes me. One of the biggest challenges for me seems to be how to pull things together from various digital sources. This seems to be a common theme in the Downes article and a focus of some of the new technologies — aggregators of various sorts. I look forward to developing a PLE that is more organized and easy to access.

I’m quite on board with the idea that learning does not only reside in formal learning institutions. While my recent experience with my adult learning graduate program has contributed greatly to my knowlege base, I think a significant reason for that has been due to the learning from many experiences I have encountered outside of formal learning. I am quite sure that the majority of significant learning for me has occured outside of formal settings. The web has played a significant role in the knowledge that I have discovered and used in my work and some of personal life.

Open systems

I also connect with the idea of moving away from LMS systems to more open systems like wikis, blogs, etc.  I guess I can see some limited use of a LMS in a university context, or maybe corporate, – posting course content, grades, etc, but I find that almost all the things blackboard can do one can do on a wiki (perhaps, except grades – although I’m sure grades could be done but they wouldn’t be integrated into the university system.) The LMS is top down, control oriented, and from my perspective, hinders learning. That’s what the literature seems to say too (I don’t think I’m an original thinker on that, but perhaps just in sync with the vast majority who are consciously or perhaps even unconsciously moving towards more open tools and networks online.


The other thing that struck me from our reading is the idea that content is no longer king, but rather the question is how we acquire knowledge or content – form of learning over the content (Wesch, M. 2009). I can understand the crisis of signficance and see that there are many who continue to teach in ways they learned and do not make efforts to adapt. It also seems like learners in such environments stagnate and perhaps wither. I can understand that if learners are not engaged in compelling ‘why’ that is relevant, they will very likely not be engaged in learning.

The concept of subjectivities instead of subjects looks interesting to me. I would be more likely to be engaged in such an approach that is “an introspective intellectual throw-down” (Wesch, M., 2009, p. 7) to students. That’s an interesting phrase,  … a challenge that is both intellectual and introspective. I think that much of the traditional forms of learning are much less introspective. The introspective part leads me to think that there could be an examination of current beliefs, values, or assumptions. This steps into the transformative arena, as I understand it. Wesch (2009) says that learning subjectivities can be painful because one has to unlearn viewpionts that are a core part of our self.

A key concept for me that Wesch suggests to helps to manage the challenging learning environment is to “love and respect” the learners. Ah, and then there will be trust…!! Love, care, and respect lead to trust !!



Downs, S. 2007, Learning networks in practice, British Educational Communications and Technology Agency, http://www.becta.org.uk/research, ISBN: 1 85379 467 8

Wesch, M., 2009, From knowledgeable to knowledge-able: Learning in new media environments, Academic Commons, http://www.academiccommons.org


3 Responses to “Learning in the digital age”

  1. 1 Jeff Nugent 8 September 2010 at 2:45 pm

    Enjoyed this post. Right now I am very interested in the idea of “open systems” as you described. It is an adjective that has been applied to many ideas in education in recent years…open content, open educational resources, open textbooks, open courseware, etc. I realize it is not an entirely new idea, but I’m interested in understanding how traditional “schooling” institutions are adjusting to the openness trend? I think it disrupts many of the time-honored relationships and ways of doing business in education that we’ve taken for granted for a long long time.

    The recent issue of the EDUCAUSE review has a great collection of articles on openness you might find of interest http://www.educause.edu/er

  2. 2 Lulú De Panbehchi 12 September 2010 at 7:40 pm

    On Open Systems

    I agree that any LMS is top-down, and that sometimes they are several years behind reality. I have always asked myself why VCU doesn’t use Plone, for exmaple. A friend of mine who works at the Media Center of the School of World Studies, told me that some of the VCU partner universities use open source software. They have no problem adding or developing new technologies.

    • 3 bluesky55 13 September 2010 at 11:00 am

      Hi Lulu, I’m not aware of Plone, but it looks like it is a content management system. I don’t know how it would differ from Blackboard. It looks like it has wikis and other interesting tools. Probably a big point in using an open source system for big institutions is the customization needed. I know that Blackboard is really quite expensive. For one thing, if an org chose an open source option, instead of paying a premium for someone else to do the work, they could hire people locally, instead and contribute to the local economy! Thanks for the feedback.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Del.icio.us bookmarks


%d bloggers like this: