Personal Learning Environment

Scott Wilson has posted a scenario about his conceptualisation of a Personal Learning Environment that would overcome some of the difficulties inherent in the replacement of a monolithic LMS by a collection of separate tools. He comments:

many teachers aren’t likely to be happy with the downside of the small-pieces approach, which is cobbling together a whole range of tools. So my design is for what is primarily a piece of glueware for doing the cobbling together, while retaining most of the flexibility that the small-pieces syndication world promises. It complements the availability of blog hosting services, wikis and other online tools, provided that they offer standard APIs for aggregation and publishing.

Most of the post is presented by way of a fictional narrative about how a teacher might work using such a tool. In essence the design reduces to two elements – sources and conduits:

As far as the PLE itself is concerned, there are really only Conduits (groups/posts/activities out) and Sources (feeds in). A feed – any sort of feed – always consists of two parts; the data itself, of course, but also the knowledge of the location to request the data from and the protocol you need to use to obtain it. This is what I’ve termed a Source. A Conduit is the same but in reverse, knowledge of where to put data and the protocol you need to use to put it there. Between Conduits and Sources we have the input and output channels for the PLE device, and with Atom, RSS and the like we have the structure of the signals to send and receive on them.

The idea seems amazingly simple. Could it really replace the LMS?