Terrains, communities and secured platforms

Ray Sims recently posted to his blog about the broad expanse of eLearning alternatives in: Fortress, Gated Community and Free-range learning. That follows our discussion of Blogs vs. Discussion Groups which led me to this perspective -- on when to use the different metaphors we've had fun with lately.

When we think about all the resources made available, searchable and subscribable by Web 2.0,-- landscape metaphors make sense. There is a vast terrain to cover and use as we see fit. There are tools and methods to make those resources easier to access and find again. The learners are in DIY mode if they are freed of formal instruction, forced fed content and elaborate "just in case" preparations. The landscape is ignored or under-utilized if the learners are confined and controlled.

When we think about all the resources we can create, share and discuss together, community metaphors make sense. DIY evolves into DIT (do it together). Interactions, exchanges, and conversations nurture each others' evolving creations, innovations and self expressions. Members feed off of another's thought processes, comments or a quote in another context. Finds get shared via tags, links in postings and additions to wiki online. Boundaries take shape that identify commonalty and exclude incompatible voices. Some communities are more tolerant of deviation and open to diversity. Others are more restrictive, exclusive and guarded.

When we think about developing capabilities, effective practices and skill sets that get results, metaphors of "secured developer platforms" make sense. Distinctions fade away between instructor and learner, SME and designer, or formal and informal learning. Open source development puts all contributors on a level playing field. The developer platform is protected from the abuses of power and powerlessness. Everyone is committed to developing capabilities and the process effects everyone significantly. Capabilities are developed and results get produced.

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