CommonLearn will be a virtual META-platform, accessible from anywhere in the world, any time, from any connected device, that will enable any individual or organization to set up and operate their own virtual learning platform just as easily as it is now to set up and maintain a blog.
CommonLearn will not force platform creators to deploy any particular pedagogy or structure. Once you have your own platform in place, it will be entirely up to you how to organize it, structure it and use it. It will be up to you what forms of teaching and learning and collaboration happen across your platform. Your learning platform will be a virtual space that you own and operate, in which teachers and learners, or any other category of user you wish to envisage, can explore, learn, create, organise, share, collaborate and showcase.
CommonLearn will be entirely independent of culture, curriculum and centralised control. Your CommonLearn platform will have just a small and necessary core of built-in applications needed to let you to provision your users and to define their roles (teacher, student, admin, editor, whatever), to set up your own preferred authentication system, to begin to upload the content you and your teachers and students will need, and with all the storage space you will ever need for that content.
Critically, all the rest of the functionality of CommonLearn will be for you to decide, because you will be able to populate your platform with any existing Web application that you desire. The immense riches of Web 2.0 will be opened up to you and you will be able to let your users work with the grain of the Web as they are so used to doing anyway. It will offer access to learning resources and content from wherever it might be available, as well as to all the search and synthesising tools available across the Web to enable teachers and learners to make use of the content.
CommonLearn will be able to be used to run a 1-to-1 tutorial session just as easily as a MOOC with tens of thousands of participants, or any other configuration between those two extremes.
Taking the complexity out of building a learning platform
Today, even after two decades of experience with learning platforms on the Web, it is still a very difficult anf complex task for any individual, school, university, school district, national education system or organization of any size to build a viable and flexible instance of virtual learning.
No matter the size or scope of the required platform, it is still an undertaking that hold many traps for even experiences users of the Web for learning and teaching.
Allowing education to reach untaught corners of the world
Tens of millions of the world's children are either without teachers or are being taught by untrained or under-trained teachers. Many believe that the only way we will get good teaching for many such children will be through the power of the network
However, each country, each region that is seeking solutions to such intractable problems will need to be able to establish and operate their own learning platforms so that their young people are being taught in the mother tongue where that is needed, using curricular materials that arise out of the culture in which they live, and not externally imposed by those who mean well but who can never fully meet the needs of disparate populations an cultures
These are just two of the problems that Commonlearn will solve. It will give educators and administrators who have no deep technical knowledge the power to be able to establish and operate a learning platform of their own anywhere in the world that has the necessary connectivity and in which teachers and learners can access connected devices of some kind. No one will impose any particular philosophy or pedagogy,no one will impose any particular body of content, and no one will be able to impose any proprietary shackles that will tie them into any one narrow set of applications and probably cost money to upgrade at some point in the future.
CommonLearn is about democratizing the virtual learning platform, freeing those who need a learning platform from the dangerous mix of established platform providers, consultants, corporate interests and hard-to-measure technical expertise that makes up the current landscape in this sphere.
John Connell is the originator of the CommonLearn concept and the driving force behind the effort to begin to turn the concept into reality.
CLICK the links top-right or bottom-right to find out more about John
John is working with Professor Bill Buchanan, of Edinburgh Napier University, to build a prototype and an outline architecture for CommonLearn
John Connell presents the CommonLearn concept at EdCrunch in Moscow
John Connell was invited to join the luminaries gathered in Moscow for the launch event of the Global Education Futures Forum.
John Connell will deliver the Keynote address at the annual conference of the eLearning Alliance in Scotland.