Hi David -
Very interesting discussion.
On Seb's point about the "need to learn in real 'vocational' environments", it strikes me that, far from being a brake on the kind of lightweight future of learning you envisage, this may be a driver of it.
Universities and colleges don't provide "real" environments. I regularly hear complaints from students, particularly those on vocational post-grad courses, who are stuck using substandard equipment that is not a reasonable preparation for the professional environments they are supposedly being trained for. Rather than create unsatisfactory artificial environments within academic institutions, a great deal of vocational training would be better (and cheaper) carried out by making use of the downtime in real workplaces.
I look forward to following your discussion on accreditation, as it unfolds.
In a climate in which cuts are threatened and coming it is too easy to take up a routine "fight the cuts" position, thereby ceasing to focus on the potentially beneficial and/or transformational potential of the "Internet revolution".
I do not normally write comments with links to "my stuff", but I hope you'll accept these exceptions, which are:
i) a summary from a talk by Sugata Mitra at Google's London office on Monday 5 October - essentially about "lightweight learning" - at 0.03USD per day per child;
ii) comments in Friendfeed from various people (including you...) on a recent piece in Business Week by Sun's founder Scott McNeally: An Internet Revolution in Higher Education.
It is Sugata's talk that I think has most of relevance. Firstly, on account of the economy and effectiveness of the kind of learning he has investigated. Secondly, because of its widespread applicability. And thirdly because of the way in which "teachers and teaching" are sidelined by it.
After his talk I had a conversation with Mitra about whether it is even faintly realistic to expect teachers to embrace self-organised learning. Obviously some will, just as some people running or working in "scribing houses" set up printing businesses in the years following the invention of hot metal printing. But just as most scribes opposed printing, so, surely, most teachers will cling onto the conventional model.