I’m probably being way too idealistic, in that I’m not even recognizing this difference between formal and informal learning. I’ve drunk too much of the age of the amateur kool-aid. As an employer, I’d much rather hire based on your blog than on your transcripts. I’m much more interested in what communication ecosystem you belong to than what university you attended.
Maybe it is premature to say that the formal online learning tools are clear failures – but I guess I’m working from that assumption.
I use a course management tool to manage my college courses – but it is for the most part moribund. I have richer exchanges with students in email and on their LJ pages (and now on 43 Things) than I have in our courseware program. And I don’t even really have a beef with the courseware program – its surprisingly good and feature rich – but it doesn’t touch any of the ways students and teachers already are using the internet. Most of my students use myspace far more than they use the university courseware.
Here are some of the scenarios I imagine students and academics using 43things:
- networking and signaling around research interests like this or this
- meeting like minds on big campuses
- tagging or creating goals with university affiliations like this
- organizing informal bird of a feather sessions or promoting conferences like this
- networking with alumni to learn about admissions process like this or this or
There are probably simpler, better ideas – but sorry if the title of the goals cast this in a more “formal” light – I’m thinking of very loosely joined pieces.