June 3, 2007

Learning Management from the Browser

Brent's post gLMS is coming - Google Gears discusses how learning can happen in the browser without a traditional LMS. His question about midway through is "Well, geez, why not just build that capability right into the browser?"

I think this is an interesting question. I really felt this way in late 2005 when I first started using Flock. Having a lot of the tools (blogging, Flickr, del.icio.us, feed aggregator) necessary for engagement in one place to consume, produce, and engage in content was really powerful. I still use flock because of this connection. I spent a lot of time considering this model. Incorporating attention XML and other services like Google Gears there is some compelling evidence that a browser-based learning system could work great.

But really, isn't this further extension of out conversation before?

ContentTracking by the LMS
The New LMS
LMS Feedback

A couple of Issues with this model

I agree with Brent the push of Google Gears will help make this new learning system more of a reality and the editable content like wikis will play a major role. I wonder where and how editable courses or learning objects will play a role?

It would seem that this is also part of the PLE conversation that I haven't had time to jump into.

There also seems to be an issue with how learning content is organized within a browser-based learning system (where the browser is the LMS) I still find it difficult to cross reference content topics or memes across services that are built into my browser. For example a blog post that I have written about podcasting with a podcast academy podcast on the same topic. The best approach seems to be to tag everything, but it still requires a lot of work and there is no real search mechanism. Google desktop needs to allow me to tell it what web-based services I use and then link the search across all those services. I realize Flock kind of does this with local search but then it looses anything on local computer, because it is using browser history.

This kind of integration makes some folks scared of giving a single entity that kind of insight to your life. Could it be an open source search engine that links to every service you use? Of course with no business model, we will have to wait for a really intelligent programmer to have the itch to solve the problem and share it with the rest of us.

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  1. You were using Flock in 1995??? I wasn't aware it has been out that long. I think I got my first computer in 1998. Sorry for the off-topic comment :-)

  2. Good catch Ryan, I fixed it. You didn't get your first computer until 1998? Really? I've had computers for at least 7 or 8 years longer then you and look how much more you can do with them, amazing. Thanks for letting me know about the date.

  3. Actually, it may have been 1999. It was my senior year of high school for sure, but I don't remember if it was closer to graduation or not. Either way, I didn't have the luxury of IM all through high school like a lot of my friends. But back then, I had no desire to have that. Now, I don't see how I could live without it. Funny how those things evolve.

  4. I was developing BASIC programs in high school. I'm so old......

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