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Bent Rune Skulevold

Bent Rune Skulevold

May 19 2011

E-learning/Live meeting on Anahita based Sites

I guess the ultimate way to include e-learning with whiteboard and livemeeting/ synchronous interaction to Anahita would be to develop an application. I would however like to hear if there where any other good suggestion for an approach to this, making use of existing technologies that could be incorporated in an Anahita based site by making a kind of fusion or similar – the ultimate could be with sync of avatars and login– but less could do it for a start.

If anyone would give an advice in what direction to proceed in order not to disrupt the architectural beauty of Anahita, I would be thrilled to pieces. The programs and application I have been looking at concerning LMS and livemeeting are solutions like “gototraining” – “wiziq”, and “Scrible”, as well as LMS like Moodle and JoomlaLMS.

The most difficult decisions is often said to be taken in the beginning of a project, where the knowledge is at a minimum. After following the development at Anahita over a longer period it looks like I am on the way to have made a qualified decision on the “core engine” starting it all up from scratch (means no previous users nor database). I am not a developer, and I am aware that I probably would end up with a need to get help from a developer to integrate anything seamless, but what I am asking for is an advice on the direction and warnings.

Best regards Bent Rune Skulevold

#elearning #onlinelearning #education

It really depends on the workflow you have in mind. You can always bridge Anahita and the e-learning app, although personally I'm not quite found of the bridging concept. It is slow, messy, and not quite seamless. Besides I'm not sure if bridging the two will necessarily make the e-learning social, or turn the social network into an online learning environment. You just make it easier for users to go from one system to another. The irony is that it is like a democratic country establishing relations with a country with top down control and governance. Ok maybe a little extreme analogy, but you get the idea.

Before getting interested in social web I used to develop Online LMS systems. I was the lead architect of 4 enterprise e-learnings that were used by thousands of K12 schools in Canada and US. Before that also I was involved with a government funded project which was about building a pilot LMS for 5 medical schools in British Columbia Canada.

For all of those we did a lot of studies on e-learning standards. One which we studied to death was the IMS Standards. One aspect that bothered me most was the fact that so many researchers and experts around the world worked together to build the perfect standards of e-learning development following the traditional school model. They did a very good job of that, however the main problem is that the our real life school systems are broken. They are top-down establishments that crush creativity and their major focus is to either train university professors or more employees for the corporations.

That is when I resigned from the first and last corporate job that I had after I graduated, because I realized I was not doing the students any favor. I was feeding an already dysfunctional system that appealed to parents, teachers, and government with complete disregards of what students actually needed to learn and nurture their creativity.

In fact that was one of the original motivations for the Anahita project. To build a distributed online learning environment where people can be both teachers to some and students to some other. Note: leaders and followers can be Teachers and Students. In this model teachers have to earn their students and the learning activities involved lots of sharing and collaboration innovation. It involves collective and incremental innovation. Just like open source models.

The open source model is considered cheating in the school system, because the students and departments are often encouraged not to share data and work in isolation. In my ideal school, students are allowed to share solutions to problems while they are encouraged to improve them and give credit to the original solution provider. Our current school system forbids that model.
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Another point that I really liked about the IMS standards was the generic model which was the core of the LMS model and it can easily be developed within Anahita. So instead of bridging Anahita with a LMS we can build a social e-learning environment within Anahita.

Here is the simple model.

A Play consists of a collection of Actors ( teachers, students, assistants, etc.) and a list of Acts.
an Act is when Actors use the learning objects (topics, blog posts, video, images, quiz, survey, etc. ) and engage in a learning activity which as a start and end. Once actors go through all the acts, the play is over.

This model is borrowed from Theater. We have borrowed many concepts from Theater too for Anahita. Theater is a flexible, generic platform for telling stories and performing any life scenarios.

Now replace those generic concepts as following:

A collection of Plays=A program
A Play: A course
An Act: A lesson
Actors: Teachers, Students, Assistants, etc.
Learning Objects: images, videos, blog posts, articles, discussion topics, quizzes, surveys, etc.

So a program is a collection of courses where teachers and students engage in a learning activity of going through the lessons and finishing them one by one.

There are many ways to build that in Anahita. A course can be a Group or Event. Then we need an app for creating a list of lessons. Let's call it: Anahita ™ Lessons

Then let's add some content creation social apps to be used as learning objects: Photos, Discussions, Blogs, Pages, Quizzes, Surveys, etc.

Then we populate it with the course content.

Course followers are students
Course admins are teachers.

that is one implementation.

Another approach is to build the Anahita LMS app as a global app, populate it with content, then allow instances of it to be used within the Groups or Events. In this approach the Groups or events are used more like classrooms. That is when you decide to teach a course in many classrooms.

Then we can come up with ways to make some courses the pre-requisite for other courses. We can rank the courses by the community and promote them. The possibilities are endless and lots of room there for experimentation. There are many ways to build social e-learning. This can be a whole new field itself.

When you think about it, Anahitapolis is an e-learning environment for the Entrepreneurs and Hackerpreneurs that would like to learn how to build their businesses using the Anahita technology.
Bent Rune Skulevold liked this
Thank you for these comprehensive answers. The philosophy of using the “build in” strengths in Anahita , could probably lift e-learning up to the next level. It just reminded me on “the law of two feet” – meaning that one is welcome to join if you either contribute – or gained something (when you have gained – you will start to share and contribute).
Cheers @Ben :)

I have been developing e-learning software for 3 years full time prior to starting the Anahita project. Ash has also developed the ClassTalk facebook app which was a LMS environment within facebook. That is how we first met and since then we have been working together day and night.
Amazing background and story - Then I should maybe not be completely surprised if this was a topic the two of you would like to look into yourself when you can find the time and resources, and when you feel that the core functions have been established the way you want it - so maybe later on there could be a learning application seamlessly integrated - following the Anahita philosophy of collaboration and sharing?

If the definition of a school is "when someone is coming to someone to interact and learn something" - then Anahita actually is a school - and at the same time it is providing an infrastructure for it :)

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