Tuesday, July 05, 2005

43 Places

I was really excited about 43Things when it came out and defended it during the ridiculous controversy over their funding from Amazon. I still think it has great potential to facilitate informal online learning and shows the potential power of a social network that is actually about something important -- not just to connect people. My one reservation is that I almost never go back in there, even though I spent a fair bit of time logging my goals. I love it, but I'm not sure why it hasn't sustained my interest.

I think the reason is that the scope of 43 Things is so enormous -- goals can be anything, in any domain. It's great to learn a little bit about a lot of interesting things, but when I'm really trying to learn something about a specific topic, I'll go to a more specific source. One of the best uses of 43 Things seemed to be in helping people figure out potential travel destinations, which had a more focused feel. So the creators have built a flavour called 43 Places to focus on that task. It's pretty cool -- I want to go to PEI. I love this kind of learning, and it's very cool how they've integrated Flickr feeds based on tags. It's a richer experience than the text-heavy pages in 43Things. (Thanks to Will)

I've also been saving Scott's post about plans and portfolios, extending a short discussion we had earlier this year on 43Things. I like his distinction between plans and goals, and I think this is going to be an important part of how individuals guide their personal learning:
"Sometimes people get the two concepts - plan and goal - and treat them as if they were the same thing. However, a goal is a state you want to achieve; a plan is a strategy for achieving it."

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