LEARNING  IN  THE  AGE  OF  WEB 2.0
 

MANILA, FEBRUARY 25, 2008 (STAR) COMMONNESS By Bong R. Osorio - Recently, I joined a management group for a review and update session on learning in the Web 2.0 era. Maricris Uy, head of ABS-CBN’s Learning Technologies, credibly handled the detailed fill-in session that got us in the loop of newfangled cyberspace names and tools.

Uy reported that the concept of Web 2.0 originated from Dale Dougherty and Tim O’Reilly of O’Reilly Media. It reveals what has become of the Internet after the dotcom crash at the start of the new millennium.

The use of “2.0” does not suggest any technical enhancement to the Internet; rather, it represents how the Web has evolved from a passive, read-only tool to what is now a participatory, collaborative platform for various businesses or personal transactions.

Here are the technologies available in our Web 2.0 environment based on Uy’s presentation:

Social Networking

These sites are used by people who want to share content (mostly about themselves) and connect with people who often share the same background and/or interests. Multiply, Friendster, Facebook, MySpace, Yahoo 360º and LinkedIn are some examples of social networking sites.

Blogs

The term “blog” comes from the fusion of the two words: “web” and “log.” Blogs are primarily created to provide information about a particular subject of interest. Others treat it as a venue for sharing more personal thoughts and experiences. Individuals (e.g. Sun Microsystems CEO and president Jonathan Schwartz’s blog at http://blogs.sun.com/jonathan/) and organizations (e.g. Google’s blog at http://googleblog.blogspot.com/) can both put up blog sites.

Wiki Technology

Wiki is from the Hawaiian word wiki wiki, which means fast. It is apt because wikis allow users to quickly edit or create pages within the wiki web site through any web browser with no programming required. This technology promotes the practice of continuous content creation and collaboration. Visit Wikimedia Foundation (http://www.wikimedia.org/) to learn about Wikipedia (http://www.wikipedia.org/) and its sister projects, or Wetpaint (http://www.wetpaint.com/) if you want to create your own wiki site.

Podcasts

A podcast is any digital media file distributed over the Internet. It derives its name from the amalgamation of Apple’s “iPod” and “broadcast.” The digital content may be played through a portable digital device or a computer. Youtube (http://www.youtube.com/) is one of the more popular sites for podcasting. Howcast (http://www.howcast.com/) is a site with a collection of how-to videos created by users and filmmakers. Corporate University Exchange (http://tv.corpu.com/) has built a collection of exclusive video interviews with Fortune 500 leaders about leadership, culture, performance management, and other related topics.

M-Learning

This is short for “mobile learning,” which utilizes the accessibility and portability of mobile phones, PDAs, or pocket PCs as content inputs and outputs. They can be blended with the Internet to engage and motivate learners anytime and anywhere. SMS quizzes and m-learning games can be downloaded into these mobile devices. Responses and feedback are communicated through these devices as well.

Educational Simulation

Simulation is essentially virtual reality. Educational simulations involve utilizing technologies to create activities that approximate real-life scenarios where learning can take place. Educational simulations can be a simple program like a stock trading game (e.g. http://www.pse.ph/html/STG/index.html) or interactive full-motion videos (e.g. http://willinteractive.com) or intricate business simulations (e.g. http://www.industryplayer.com/).

Virtual Worlds

A virtual world uses a three-dimensional platform that combines various computer elements such as graphics, chat, gaming, and online commerce, among others, into one platform. Virtual worlds, such as Second Life (http://www.secondlife.com), Active Worlds (http://www.activeworlds.com), There (http://www.there.com/), and Entropia Universe (http://www.entropiauniverse.com) provide individuals and organizations with portals to a unique environment where truly engaging and interactive communication, collaboration, as well as learning, can take place.

This is clearly not a comprehensive list of all the technologies available to us now. Nevertheless, it shows how Web 2.0 and the proliferation of these technologies are influencing not just our lifestyle, but our learning as well. Here are some learning trends to consider in the Web 2.0 era culled from the listed technologies:

• High-tech, high-touch. There appears to be no limit to the content-generation and delivery media available. From simple text to game-based learning to sophisticated virtual worlds, learning is becoming more experiential and more networked than ever before. There is learning anytime, anywhere.

• On-demand learning. At this time, when everyone is instantly linked through the Internet, phones, or portable devices, learners expect knowledge to be provided immediately and as needed. Just-in-time learning is becoming more relevant than just-in-case learning. Learners want content creation and transfer with greater immediacy.

• Personalization of learning. Just as consumers demand personalized products and services, so do learners want customized learning content and delivery. Learners call for the creation and utilization of “just-for-me” media.

• Discretionary, informal learning. Learning is also happening outside formal, conventional setups in schools and offices. The power of online peer-to-peer connectivity allows learners to organize performance support groups across different communities. There is instant access to subject matter experts globally. Knowledge is available in searchable databases. In fact, an international learning professional cited Google (http://www.google.com/) as the best e-learning or electronic-learning tool, primarily because Google is simple yet powerful.

• User empowerment. More than ever, individuals are empowered to create, capture, publish, share, and exchange content easily and freely. There is now universal sharing and access of knowledge and information, creating a massive presence of collective intelligence on the Web for all of us to harness.

• Collaborative learning. All over the world, people are sharing learning experiences and best practices through the Web 2.0 technologies available. The traditional role of trainers or teachers as knowledge providers has changed because the learners have recognized their new active role as content co-creators. In fact, everyone has an expertise; anyone can be a teacher.

Uy, a 2004 AB psychology magna cum laude graduate of the Ateneo de Manila University, said, “These trends underpin the magnitude of technology’s impact on our learning styles and activities. With the continuing advancement of technologies globally, we can look forward to more exciting, highly interactive learning opportunities and experiences.”


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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