George Siemens introduced the U of M's Virtual Learning Commons a few weeks ago and linked to a backgrounder on the project. I had it saved in Bloglines for too long, and thankfully Brian nudged me to take another look at it. It's a system for students to post their learning goals as a way of recording them, finding related resources and connecting with others who share the goal. It seems to be pretty slick, and even in the current closed mode (registered students only) with relatively few participants, it looks like there could be the critical mass to make it useful. George's note about it:
"It sets learning in a conversational spaces...knowledge as a pathway through connections with others...learning as a constant in life. I'm confident that this implementation of social learning (integrated with institutionally provided academic support) is a first indicator of more prominent trends. Learning not as an explicit task...but as a constant action."I also got an e-mail about Learning Flow and Lee Kraus explains what it's for:
"LearningFlow is a web-based application that allows (you) the learner to identify learning goals, then associate resources from across the web to that particular learning goal. The goal can also be shared with others interested in learning that goal."It's also got a pretty nice, simple interface and some cool features for sharing goals. The kicker with any system like this is that it depends on large numbers of users and goals to start being really valuable. Until you have a few people sharing a (often quite unique) learning goal, it's just a place to store yours. So we'll see if it catches on. Elgg integrated this kind of functionality last year as well, in the context of a much richer feature set -- I should ask Dave if he's received any feedback about it.
Update: Roger Stack is paying attention to these goal-based networks as well. He describes a cool program at his school where mentoring/counselling groups have formed around areas of interest.