I watched Allison Littlejohn’s narrated slides today and was interested in her comments about the tool they are developing that supports collective learning.  It reminded me of the comments I made yesterday about the need for the MOOC button.

I’m a slow learner but I realized that what I said yesterday and what Allison was saying about her tool were both comments on managing complexity.

A collective learning environment as we see it in the form of a MOOC or as Allison described it, is a very complex set of information, actors and interactions and unlike many learning environments collective learning is highly dynamic.  Tools that help learners organize this constantly changing environment appear to be critical for successful learning.  They also have to be trivial to use so that the organizing, collecting, re-organizing etc process is what occurs and not wrestling with cumbersome technologies.  Trying to use something designed for other intentions is probably not going to be successful.

To shoot myself in the foot, I agree with Allison that we don’t quite yet know how collective learning works, so that makes it hard to design technologies to support it.