Educause has written an interesting report about the Next Generation Digital Learning Environment (NGDLE). The report explored the gaps between current learning management tools and a digital learning environment that could meet the changing needs of higher education. According to the report the principal functional domains are:
Interoperability is the linchpin of the NGDLE. The ability to integrate tools and exchange content and learning data enables everything else.
Personalization is the most important user-facing functional domain of the NGDLE.
- Analytics, Advising, and Learning Assessment
The analysis of all forms of learning data — resulting in actionable information — is a vital component of the NGDLE and must include support for new learning assessment approaches, especially in the area of competency - based education.
The NGDLE must support collabor ation at multiple levels and make it easy to move between private and public digital spaces.
- Accessibility and Universal Design
Efforts to realize the NGDLE should include working toward ensuring that all learners and instructors are able to participate, with access to conten t and the ability to create accessible learning artifacts. We should strive to address issues of accessibility from the start , based on a universal design approach.
The auteurs say that these features can not be found in a single system. They see it as an ecosystem:
- At the built layer, it will be a confederation of IT systems , including content repositories, analytics engines, and a wide variety of applications and digital services.
- One ke y to making such a confederation work will be full adherence to standards for interoperability, as well as for data and content exchange.
- Instead of uniformity and centrality, it will need to support personalization as an option at all levels of the instit ution. The NGDLE will not be exactly the same for any two learners, instructors, or institutions.
- For users, it will be a cloud-like space to aggregate and connect content and functionality, similar to a smartphone, where users fashion their environments d irectly with self - selected apps.
- If the paradigm for the NGDLE is a digital confederation of components, the model for the NGDLE architecture may be the mash-up. A mash - up is a web page or application that “uses content from more than one source to create a single new service displayed in a single graphical interface.” Hence it uses a heterogeneity of components to produce a homogeneity of function. The confederation - based NGDLE will be mashed up at both the individual and the institutional levels, as oppo sed to consortia forming to create open enterprise applications.
The report very much aligns with our thinking about our Collaborative Learning Environment, the name we gave our NGDLE.
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