I met up with a bunch of great people today to talk about creating a pitch for our projects. Based on the feedback from that discussion and another discussion at dinner, here’s my first attempt to pitch the Learning Goals project in 2 minutes…
I know I’m not good at this kind of thing, so please help (and be reckless with your criticism):
Learn what you want, when you want, with whom you want.
Learning goals is an online service that helps you engage lots of learners who have very different motivations, available time, background knowledge and life experience. Learning goals helps you model learning – not teaching – so that learners can gradually begin to set their own goals, plan the steps, link relevant activities from the web and request the support needed to reach their goals.
In most learning contexts today it’s simply unrealistic to expect a homogeneous group of people who can all “keep up” with the set pace of a course “delivery”. None of us want to turn eager learners away just because they have less time available or learn more slowly, nor do we want other people to be bored because they have more time or happen to pick things up more quickly. Learning Goals gives you the option to co-create personalised goals with agreed time-lines for individuals or small groups. Learning Goals makes it easy to track many individual goals with a dashboard of activity for the goals you are supporting as well as notifications for the goals you’ve agreed to review – freeing you up to concentrate on creating and sourcing those great social learning activities.
Learning Goals builds on ideas from other current projects and could also be useful to those projects. For example, learners are able to request support not only from you as a course facilitator, but also from peers in the course or friends in the relevant industry, building a peer-to-peer network of support. Learning Goals might even enable P2PU to support a wider variety of learner needs with self-paced-yet-social courses. Similarly, badges may be able to be used both for learning achievements (formal and informal) as well as for helping others learn.
I’m currently developing Learning Goals as an open-source project so that it can be used freely to help people learn in any context and am working to find other interested edu-developers with the aim of establishing a developer community over the next year. Because Learning Goals is just one small targeted tool in a learner’s PLE (ie. linking out to relevant learning activities and mashing up other communication services rather than suffering featuritis), I’ll be able to release early and often with incremental-but-useful functionality that can be evaluated immediately.
As I see Learning Goals addressing the issues which made personalised, self-paced, peer-to-peer learning unscalable for me in the past, I personally hope to move gradually back into a learning facilitator role. Starting with post-secondary community colleges and/or P2PU, I would love to continue to demonstrate the benefits for learners and facilitators alike, gradually moving downwards into schools and putting the control of learning back in the hands of learners.
Edit: switched ‘learner’ with ‘person’ where possible – thanks Ian.