What is the future for learning resource production? Up until recently media resource production demanded specialised skills both technical and in learning design. However a number of factors have changed which have led to the increasing ‘democratisation’ of resource production . Firstly teachers and students now have access to a large pool of both enterprise and 3rd party authoring applications, secondly sharing of these resources is facilitated by the use of learning management systems such as Moodle, better network connectivity, Web 2 tools such as blogs, wikis and file sharing tools such as Edmodo, Dropbox or Sugarsync . Peer to peer resource production is a central plank of C21 learning- and as a system we must acknowledge this, and better accommodate for an increasing shift away from centralised resource production-linear networks. P2P also acknowledges the power of such networks and student content creation and sharing. Teachers have always leant towards creating or shaping their own materials (a premise of learning object design), and now they have the opportunity to match the more formal production facilities; having access to authoring, storage and sharing systems. UGC often provides better currency, relevance and context to learning resources. Sitting with my own kids this weekend and seeing the topics they are studying, I searched for information/resources online, only to find their own teachers notes/resources (online), were more relevant than even those produced by the relevant education authorities. So let’s place our efforts into facilitating teacher resource production (TRG)- I suspect systemic support for this effort might be better placed.
Peer production has similarities to UGC, and is defined by OECD (2007), as that which is ‘produced outside the professional routines and practices’ (of formal content development groups). This area is growing exponentially- and derives its validity from peer validation. Unlike UGC it is the community which drives the creation of P2P content. The key issues with UGC/P2P content have long been recognised:
- Quality management (technical, information, relevance)
- Copyright & ownership (IP)
In short this material is often seen as promoting the cult of amateurs. Given students increasing expectations of currency and relevance (context)- perhaps a little amateurism is ()in their world of self publishing not only acceptable but in some ways considered by them to be more authentic.