martes, 27 de enero de 2009

The Future of Online Learning: Ten Years On

The Future of Online Learning: Ten Years On
by Stephen Downes

In the summer of 1998, over two frantic weeks in July, I wrote an essay titled The Future of Online Learning. (Downes, 1998) At the time, I was working as a distance education and new media design specialist at Assiniboine Community College, and I wrote the essay to defend the work I was doing at the time. “We want a plan,” said my managers, and so I outlined the future as I thought it would – and should – unfold.

In the ten years that have followed, this vision of the future has proven to be remarkably robust. I have found, on rereading and reworking the essay, that though there may have been some movement in the margins, the overall thrust of the paper was essentially correct. This gives me confidence in my understanding of those forces and trends that are moving education today.

In this essay I offer a renewal of those predictions. I look at each of the points I addressed in 1998, and with the benefit of ten year’s experience, recast and rewrite each prediction. This essay is not an attempt to vindicate the previous paper – time has done that – but to carry on in the same spirit, and to push that vision ten years deeper into the future.

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