Harold Jarche's recently posted some interesting thoughts about the differences between Social Media sites and LMS. To me, though, the fundamental issue has to do with innovation. One of the fundamental premises of LMSs (or other ERP systems for that matter) is managing access privileges. Professors have certain rights to modify or work within the LMS, administrators (deans, registrars, etc.) have other rights, and students still others. While there are benefits to the approach, it has a major shortcoming in that it inhibits innovation. LMSs make the traditional and yet fallacious assumption that the person that has a particular job will always have the best ideas about that job. As, Eric Von Hippel has demonstrated lots of great ideas come from the fringe, from out of the blue. Because of their rigid privilege structure, LMS can't cope with this. Moreover the fringe ideas are often half-baked or worse. To sort the good from the bad takes a village, as they say. Because LMSs are modelled for moving communication vertically up and down a hierarchy they make it difficult for the right kind of community to form. As education should be all about innovation, the future of educational software will look more like a network of social media apps and than a monolithic ERP system.

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Comment by Steve Hargadon on July 13, 2007 at 7:05pm
I have certainly felt like the experiences we are having on this and other education-oriented Ning sites are indicative of the potential for social networking in education. There are a number of teachers starting to use Ning for their classes, and I'm very interested to see how those experiments go.

I also see a similar difference between how conversations take place in the blogosphere and here in CR 2.0. Commenting on blog posts makes, I think, doesn't really allow for the kind of dialog that a threaded forum does. And sometimes I feel like there is a tendency to fawn over the popular bloggers' ideas--not that they don't deserve recognition, but it's not really a medium for collaborative creation. A good question on the blog of a little-read blogger is likely to go unnoticed, whereas here it can gain some real traction.
Comment by Jonathan Edson on July 16, 2007 at 12:21pm
thanks for the feedback...as a newbie to the community, I was taking baby steps on posting and figured I would offend the least by starting with a blog...maybe as I get used to the place and the place gets used to me, I'll brave the forums


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