The University of Southampton

Learning Societies Toolkit

ELearning, Platforms and Tools, Web Science

The Learning Societies Toolkit is an initiative within the Learning Societies Lab to create a new generation of e-learning tools for the Web Literate generation.

The new generation of students entering our institutions are more than computer literate, they are used to taking ownership of the information systems that they use, to create an individual mix of applications and systems that both forms their digital identity and shapes their virtual experience. To these web literate students the old-style monolithic Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) are to restrictive and rather than help the student/teacher relationship they can get in the way, creating a false distance that hinders learning and undermines the educational experience.

Learners and teachers are already rebelling, by moving away from institutional provision and using online tools such as public discussion forums, social sites, wikis and blogs. Personal Learning Environments (PLEs) are one potential solution, existing PLEs accept an open set of data sources (such as public repositories and commercial news sources), but they still try to gather the students experience into one institutionally owned place.

The Learning Societies Toolkit is an attempt to maintain a sense of institutional provision, but to allow the student to take ownership of the overall experience. The toolkit is a collection of e-learning tools that:

  • Are loosely coupled
  • Are functionally focused
  • Have open applicability
  • Can be appropriated as needed
  • Are available as a public service
  • Are Open Source (so can be a private service)

Currently there are number of projects what will contribute to the toolkit, including PeerPigeon, ASDEL and Faroes.

Primary investigator

Associated research group

  • Learning Societies Lab
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