Last winter, I lead a small team in analyzing the landscape of virtual learning environments and engaging in an ideation process to reimagine what virtual learning (in public school) could look like. The goal was to deliberately spend time examining user experience. An important question and design principle was thinking about learning as life-long and everyone as a potential learner or expert. If a teacher is a potential student and a student is a potential teacher, what could be ways of organizing experiences for meaningful discovery and collaborative creation? A second important question was thinking about how to filter, mashup, and matchup the growing universe of content for learning in a way that could provide relevant opportunities for interaction and demonstration of mastery.
This is a rough interactive prototype we developed to articulate a few ideas that emerged (sketch of functions and flow in two scenarios, not the ideal visual user interface)
This landscape is quickly changing with new entrants, however a preliminary scan revealed that a majority of existing educational platforms still mimic textbooks and classrooms, print to pixels. The scan purposely included coverage of emerging platforms outside of education to spark conversations about what elements could be borrowed from YouTube, Wikipedia, Blogspot, XBOX Live, Meetup, and various open source initiatives. Click to view summary of landscape research pdf