This week we are working on a section of the Learning Science Guidebook that deals with ‘Learning Ecosystems’. I say ‘we’: so far it’s mainly Sae and Geoff who have actually worked on it. I’m coming to it late and starting with an illustration.
The term ‘learning ecosystem’ is quite in vogue these days, but we will be exploring what Learning Science can tell us about what it actually is, and what it gives us. We will publish a draft next week), but in our notes we are considering what a Learning Ecosystem actually is, how can we structurally define it, which parts fall under our control, and what this understanding will give us in terms of the design and delivery of more effective learning.
Sae wrote this as her definition, “a learning ecosystem is a diverse assembly of learning experiences – varying across time, subject, platform, institution, and scale – that are intentionally tied together to improve learning outcomes”
And Geoff added this, “Traditional learning platforms (LMS, VLE etc) only represent a small subset of these experiences. Which makes them poor guardians of the wider ecosystem of learning experiences. Instead, a future facing system would need to be able to support, and understand the many myriad of future learning experiences and activities that learners may need to include in their path, and build ever deeper insights on their impact and effectiveness.”
I have not committed to a definition yet (and remember, this work, which will culminate in the publication of the Learning Science Guidebook is not about us finding one voice, but sharing our differences and discussions, emerging understanding and challenges as well), but i would tend towards the following:
The learning ecosystem is the landscape in which we individually and collectively learn. It has both hard and soft elements, which may include technologies, Organisations, and formal assets, as well as folklore, tribal structures, and aspects of belief. It’s not a landscape we hover over, but rather one that we walk through, changing it as we go.
More on this next week.