This article focuses on social software and its impact on learning management systems. Although universities across the world have implemented learning management systems (LMS) by now, the author argues that it is necessary to move beyond LMS in order to effectively use the internet as a teaching tool, especially within the framework of a social constructivist pedagogy.
First, the concept of social software is defined with regard to the educational setting. It comprises networked applications which encourage people to learn together. Examples for such tools are blogs, RSS-software, social bookmarking tools, and wikis. However, in order to actually use these applicati-ons for learning, a certain organization of social software seems to be required. In order to integrate social software into current perceptions of learning, the author refers to the pedagogical approach of social constructivism which conceives learning as a problem-based, self-directed and collaborative process. Thus, the individual is responsible for his or her own learning, while resources or tools have the potential to support this process. However, these tools should not pre-determine learners' activities which leads to the necessity of creating an open-ended learning envi-ronment. Social software applications might be able to provide such a learning environment. With social software, learning processes such as knowledge construction, presentation, communication and collaboration can be supported. At the same time, learners retain the responsibility for their own learning.
The author proposes an approach to e-learning which uses an LMS for administrative purposes only, adds social software tools for personal use and above all for social networking. The usage of a blog or a wiki as an e-portfolio could be an example for personal use. In order to support exchange and net-working among learners, collaborative tools such as wikis or file sharing could be used. Even though the learning process is not to be structured, support is still needed to avoid that students feel lost fa-cing the vast amount of resources available on the internet.
In conclusion, it is not necessary to use an expensive LMS for online collaboration; "small pieces loosely joined" could provide an adequate learning solution as well. In fact, social software might provide a starting point for the personalisation and individualisation of learning.
The author provides a good introduction to the potential of social software as tools for learning including examples on how to use the different applications. The article falls short of solving the problem between self-direction of the learning process (implying that no structure should be imposed on the learners) and the necessity of supporting students by scaffolding the learning process.Source: http://www.elearning-reviews.org
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|Terry Anderson, John Seely Brown, Allan Collins, P. Duguid, Lew Semjonowitsch Vygotsky|
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|del.icio.us, E-LearningE-Learning, furl, Learning Management System (LMS)Learning Management System, RSSReally Simple Syndication, social bookmarkingsocial bookmarking, social softwaresocial software, Wikiwiki, Wikipedia|
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