If fans can discover interesting new music by comparing their listening profiles with those of people with similar tastes, why not apply similar principles to students' discovery of books as they explore how to get the most from university libraries. I have an article in the Association of Learning Technology's current newsletter. It's based around a day of talks about the TILE Project (that's Towards Implementation of Library 2.0 & the e-Framework, in case you couldn't guess), and it starts like this:
"You looked at The Complete Essays by Montaigne; you might also consider The Renaissance in Europe: A Reader edited by Whitlock." Most of us are familiar with Amazon’s gently pushy way of suggesting further purchases. If you're a music fan, you may have tried “scrobbling” each song you listen to into the massive Last.fm database of listener behaviour. In return for this gift of your data, you get to explore the habits of others who share some of your tastes, and you get a series of recommendations for other music you might enjoy.
Then it goes on like this. It's kind of surprising that these methods are now fairly well established in retail and entertainment, but not in learning. Perhaps that's because educational institutions remain wary of the ways of informal learning, as though such social propagation of ideas were somehow an unruly and untutored threat (it's not).
This may be starting in university libraries, but my hunch is that it's going to spread through all large-scale learning provision over the next decade. I wonder whether this on learndirect's corporate radar (I'm sure some individuals there will have been thinking seriously about it already).Posted by David Jennings in section(s) E-learning, Social Software on 6 February 02009 | TrackBack