PLEs and the institution

PLEs and the institution: “Given a lot of recent comments we really have to elaborate the set of connections between what an institution offers and what individuals manage. I’ve tried to put some of how I think this should work in a diagram (as usual).” (Via Scott Wilson’s Workblog).

What I like about the model provided by Scott (see below) is that it offers a practical way forward for risk averse institutions (all of them!) who wish to move towards a model of the learner taking increasing responsibility and control of their learning. The important aspect in this respect is the identification of a “Course coordination space” that is used to ‘glue’ the learner experience together in different units of organisation.

This is, I believe, important for three reasons. The first is that it offers the opportunity for a ‘safe’ place for those who are less confident with learning and the use of technology to support this. Important in the recruitment and retention stakes.

Second, it offers the opportunity for core interactions around which a larger ‘community of learners’ can develop and grow. This is, I believe, an important aspect of a university education. In the foreseeable future, if we place all our faith in the development of the PLE I think we will be disappointed.

Third, it is a space that we can expect course staff can comfortably inhabit (I have high expectations) and offer some level of agreed service to students however this is defined.

Lastly, although it would add another level of complexity, some thinking about how a students workplace fits into the mix is also required.

Scott Wilson, Nov 2007

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