The Open University already provides a range of online learning systems and tools which support our registered students in qualification or credit based, formal learning (e.g. our Moodle Virtual Learning Environment, OUSA Forums, Elluminate, etc.).
We are now making available a new, optional service called SocialLearn. This provides additional online support to complement that already provided for formal, qualifications or credit based study. It can be used by anyone, with an interest in any subject, anywhere in the world.
By harnessing the power of the web and the energy of social networking, SocialLearn users benefit from the wealth of learning tools, such as the Backpack, making sense of the vast range of online educational resources, giving structure to their personal learning journey whilst sharing with others in the vibrant and diverse community of peers, academics, and mentors whether openly or within the confines of a Community. Learners can not only utilise core social networking features such as creating their own profile and building their network, but also by peer reviewing websites, materials and Learning Paths.
SocialLearn helps to develop learning experiences by providing intelligent recommendations based on learning patterns and needs, so there are no limits to where Learning Paths can take the learner. SocialLearn won’t confine users to the desktop either, as it can be fully accessed by smartphones and tablet devices.
As part of a year-long trial, OU Students (along with others) will have the option of trying out SocialLearn as a complementary tool to existing online services, to build on their networks related to their interests. It is offered as a ‘value add’ option, not a replacement for the fully supported tools and other features in their existing communities (StudentHome and OUSA Forums). The Apps available will allow users to share their academic discoveries as well as creating a structure, via the Recommendation Engine, of their external research to complement their learning.
SocialLearn will be made available to students and alumni from the 16 April 2012 as a BETA environment to explore the effectiveness of informal learning on a social platform. As an optional service, released only as a BETA it will not have help desk support but there will be introductory videos, FAQs and we hope lots of active community members keen to help new comers. It will be made more widely available (to the world) in June 2012.
The SocialLearn team are also looking for feedback from learners on their use of the platform; please email any feedback to SocialLearn@open.ac.uk
So why not try SocialLearn, what we like to think of as the latest evolution in powerful learning spaces, giving you control by harnessing the energy of the web and social networking.
Hannah Gore Online Communities and Web Development Manager SocialLearn