Minds on Fire: Open Education, the Long Tail, and Learning 2.0 (EDUCAUSE Review) | EDUCAUSE CONNECT: "The demand-pull approach is based on providing students with access to rich (sometimes virtual) learning communities built around a practice. It is passion-based learning, motivated by the student either wanting to become a member of a particular community of practice or just wanting to learn about, make, or perform something. Often the learning that transpires is informal rather than formally conducted in a structured setting. Learning occurs in part through a form of reflective practicum, but in this case the reflection comes from being embedded in a community of practice that may be supported by both a physical and a virtual presence and by collaboration between newcomers and professional practitioners/scholars."
Is the above what's up with OpenLearn? OpenLearn seems to embody much of the principles of the Education 2.0 scenario described in this thought-provoking EDUCAUSE article, but it also jars with this notion that membership of a community is all important. Wandering into the OpenLearn environment feels a bit like going into school on a weekend when someone's left the door open. All of the learning materials you could use are there. But there doesn't seem to be anyone around to help you use them. There's a feeling of isolation which goes beyond the 'norm' in distance education, or at least the norm I've come to experience. Don't we all need a little hand holding and guidance from time to time? Someone to bounce our ideas off. A peer? A group of likeminded people who are at about the same stage of exploration as we are?
Passionate with others around = passionate. Passionate on your own = a lonely experience and a short trip away from the men in white coats coming to pick you up... :o)