Tagging Content? Next Generation LMS …

There is so much going on all across the web as it relates to social networking, user centered content, and tagging that I can’t help but think a next generation LMS/CMS is sitting right under our noses. I have been giving the whole content delivery for education and training quite a bit of thought lately and I am really moving towards building a system that shifts the focus to the student and allows them a very open environment for learning and collaborating — all from within a single environment.

I think we made some good steps towards a more faculty centered approach with the Edison Services 2.0 release last fall, but how has it helped students? Sure, we have created a more efficient way for students to get at content, announcements, and other course related information, but it is still more faculty driven. I have been using WordPress from some time now and I really believe there is a new suite of tools sitting right around the corner — all built on the WordPress engine. The question isn’t when will we see it, but how much of the popular web should be included?

Thinking about tagging and what goes on over at flickr has me wondering if the whole concept of folksonomies should make its way into an eLearning space … I mean, what a better way for students to write, create, and share knowledge. If they can create and then tag their work so that it falls within some sort of community construct that makes sense within the contextual framework of the course, then let’s go! This from a Wired article I read this morning:

“The job of tags isn’t to organize all the world’s information into tidy categories,” said Stewart Butterfield, one of Flickr’s co-founders. “It’s to add value to the giant piles of data that are already out there.”

Looks to me like a whole host of sites — the popular ones with the early adoption crowd — are using this type of tagging to build community and to create user centered structure … sites like delicious are taking it to a whole new level … consider this, also from the Wired article and you’ll hopefully see that our eLearning environments ignore this new approach to web content delivery:

“It’s very much people tagging information so that they can come back to it themselves or so that others with the same vocabulary can find it,” said Thomas Vander Wal, the information architect credited with coining the term “folksonomy.”

“To me, they’re a great new organization tool for applications and large content sites,” said Matt Haughey, the founder of MetaFilter. “Tags are great because you throw caution to the wind, forget about whittling down everything into a distinct set of categories and instead let folks loose categorizing their own stuff on their own terms.”

Now we have to do what we did years ago … take the good from the bleeding edge and get it integrated into our technology. The great thing is that the open source community has built us a base to create the new approaches. I’ll be exploring them more in the coming days and weeks. Let me know what you think.

2 thoughts on “Tagging Content? Next Generation LMS …

  1. Cole, I completely agree here. It might not fully replace the Big LMS (at least initially), but a loosely bound suite of smaller tools that work together intelligently just might be able to produce a better mousetrap…

  2. I’ll say … I am so tired of the one size fits all approach of the current LMS tools. We use ANGEL at our University and it just doesn’t get it done. All of those tools seem like they are stuck on a bad version 1.0 from 1998 … its time for a little innovation and a little shake up.

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