Thursday, February 21, 2008

KM blog of the week

Stan Garfield, a worldwide consulting & integration knowledge management leader at Hewlett-Packard, linked to my blog post "The Future of e-Learning: a shift to knowledge networking and social software" as the KM blog of the week, in his weekly knowledge mangement blog where Stan used to publish a useful set of KM resources (questions, blogs, books, links) on a weekly basis. That's an excellent blog that I would recommend to everyone interested in KM.

Also, Ray Sims, a learning and knowledge management guru, pointed to and commented on the same post/article in his nice blog "Sims Learning Connections" where you can follow his interesting thoughts on KM, PKM, Learning, and PLE.

Many thanks to Stan and Ray!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The LaaN Perspective

The Learning as a Network (LaaN) view is built upon four premises:

- Knowledge and learning are two sides of the same coin.

- Knowledge and learning are fundamentally social in nature.

- Knowledge is in the network, or even more knowledge is the network.

- Learning is a matter of knowledge networking across knowledge ecologies.

The LaaN perspective views learning as the networking of knowledge nodes. A distinction that is often cited in the literature is made between explicit and tacit knowledge. Explicit knowledge (or information) is systematic knowledge that is easily codified in formal language and objective. In contrast, tacit knowledge is hard to formalize, difficult to communicate and subjective (Nonaka and Takeuchi, 1995). Consequently, we have two types of knowledge nodes:

- Explicit knowledge nodes are different explicit knowledge assets available in a variety of forms such as texts, images, sounds, videos and captured in distributed information repositories such as blogs, wikis, pod/vodcasts etc.

- Tacit knowledge nodes are people performing in diverse, frequently overlapping social domains.

Learning is the networking of explicit/tacit knowledge nodes. What we are trying to do all the time is either to pull together explicit knowledge from more than one source, reflect, detect patterns, remix and assemble it to form a new explicit knowledge asset or to expand our personal social networks by connecting to different social domains to create and share tacit knowledge in a collaborative way, through participation, dialogue, discussion, observation, and imitation.

Within a LaaN perspective, everyone is treated as a knowledge networker, one who has the ability to:

- Create, harness, nurture, maintain, and extend her personal knowledge network.

- Identify connections, recognize patterns, and make sense between different knowledge nodes.

- Locate the knowledge node(s) that can help achieving better results.

- Cross boundaries, connect and collaborate.

- Navigate and learn across multiple knowledge networks.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Requirements of a PLE Framework

A personal learning environment framework (PLEF) needs to fulfil the following requirements:

  • Personalisation: PLEF should provide the learner with ability to incorporate myriad of tools and services; and ability to determine and use the tools and services the way she deems fit to create her own PLE, adapted to her own situation and needs.
  • Social features: PLEF should offer means to connect with other personal spaces, so that learnres can engage in knowledge sharing and collaborative knowledge creation. Social features such as tagging, commenting, and sharing have to be supported.
  • Social filtering: The problem with a knowledge-pull approach is information overload. Therefore, there is a need for “filters” (e.g. recommendation, rating, ranking, review, votes, attention metadata) to help learners find quality in the Long Tail.
  • Incorporate various Web 2.0 concepts and technologies. The web as platform, mashup of services, widely use of widgets, content aggregation, opened identity, small pieces loosely joined Web and rich user experience are the concepts which should build up PLEF. Web 2.0 technologies, such as, RSS, openID and social tagging have to be adopted as the basis to develop PLEF.
  • Flexibility and extensibility, such that new services/modules can easily be plugged into the basic framework. PLEF should be based on a Web Oriented Architecture (WOA) that makes it possible to extend the framework with new Web modules. It should also provide a public API that can be used by third party applications.
  • Web browser platform: With web browser as the platform, the independence of operation system can be assured. This also enables PLEF to aggregate and integrate third-party services.
  • Aggregation/Mashups: PLEF should allow a learner to aggregate and remix different learning artefacts (e.g. feeds, widgets and media).
  • Ease of use: PLEF should provide rich experience with e.g. AJAX support. A learner should be able to copy&paste and drag&drop elements to personalize and manage her PLE with minimum effort.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Yes We Can - Barack Obama

Thursday, February 14, 2008

OpenSocial 0.7 released

Dan Peterson, Product Manager at Google, announced the release of the OpenSocial 0.7 API specification. He writes:

This API iteration represents significant enhancements to 0.6; in particular, viral-spread functions and activity stream templating have been introduced to support the needs of app developers. In addition, the gadgets specification and the emerging gadgets.* JavaScript API have been codified, and include details about letting containers cleanly support different views (e.g. profile or canvas).

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

GoNokia: Google and Nokia Team Up on Search

At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona yesterday, Google announced that they're going to be working with Nokia to provide access to Google search on Nokia devices via Nokia Search. More details about this collaboration are availabe here and here. Is this a sign that Nokia will switch to Google's Android as its mobile platform?

Google Social Graph API

Google announced the release of the Social Graph API with a focus on public connections between people on the Web.

Here's how it works: we crawl the Web to find publicly declared relationships between people's accounts, just like Google crawls the Web for links between pages. But instead of returning links to HTML documents, the API returns JSON data structures representing the social relationships we discovered from all the XFN and FOAF. When a user signs up for your app, you can use the API to remind them who they've said they're friends with on other sites and ask them if they want to be friends on your new site.
Social Graph API homepage
Developer documentation
Social Graph API Group
XHTML Friends Network (XFN),
Friend of a Friend (FOAF)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

GWT Ext 2.0 Released

GWT Ext 2.0 has been released with several new changes and widgets.
Demo :
Project Site :
Release Notes :

GWT-Ext is a powerful widget library that provides rich widgets like Grid with sort, paging and filtering, Tree’s with Drag & Drop support, highly customizable ComboBoxes, Tab Panels, Menus & Toolbars, Dialogs, Forms and a lot more right out of the box with a powerful and easy to use API. It uses GWT and Ext.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Metadata 2.0

Last week I participated in the Metadata 2.0 workshop in Leuven. It was indeed a very successful event, well organized and chaired by Erik, as usual. I presented there our automatic metadata generation system ALOA. The slides are available on slideshare. All presentations are available at the workshop wiki. Interesting people have attended this workshop either in person or remotely via flashmeeting. We discussed several crucial metadata issues. In my opinion, there are still many open issues to work on in the metadata research area.
I enjoyed talking to Martin Memmel who turned out to be a colleague of Bertin Klein, a very good old friend of mine with whom I enjoyed playing soccer at my former soccer team Eintracht Kaiserslautern. Martin has also given a nice talk on ALOE (not ALOA:-). We discussed ways to join forces. We are planning for instance to make ALOE use ALOA as its metadata generator. Hope this can be realized soon.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The Future of e-Learning: a shift to knowledge networking and social software

Our journal article "The future of e-learning: a shift to knowledge networking and social software" has been published by INDERSCIENCE PUBLISHERS. The article can be downloaded here (.pdf). Your comments are welcome!

The main aim of Knowledge Management (KM) is to connect people to quality knowledge as well as people to people in order to peak performance. This is also the primary goal of Learning Management (LM). In fact, in the world of e-learning, it is more widely recognised that how learning content is used and distributed by learners might be more important than how it is designed. In the last few years, there has been an increasing focus on social software applications and services as a result of the rapid development of Web 2.0 concepts. In this paper, we argue that LM and KM can be viewed as two sides of the same coin, and explore how Web 2.0 technologies can leverage knowledge sharing and learning and enhance individual performance whereas previous models of LM and KM have failed, and present a social software driven approach to LM and KM.

Chatti, M.A., Jarke, M. and Frosch-Wilke, D. (2007) ‘The future of e-learning: a shift to knowledge networking and social software’, Int. J. Knowledge and Learning, Vol. 3, Nos. 4/5, pp.404–420.
Special Issue on Learning and Interacting in the Web: Social Networks and Social Software in the Web 2.0.
Guest Editors: Miltiadis D. Lytras, Sheizaf Rafaeli, Stephen Downes, Ambjorn Naeve and Patricia Ordóñez de Pablos

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Metadata 2.0

On Thursday I'll be attending the Metadata 2.0 workshop organized by Prof. Erik Duval at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium. I'll give a talk there about the automatic metadata generation system ALOA. From the announcement of the workshop:

Current metadata standards (DC, LOM, MPEG, ...) are all based on early work inn the mid 1990's.
In the mean time, technology has advanced and some or many of the assumptions that held 17 years ago may no longer be so relevant...
That doesn't detract from the huge success that these standards have realised: there are probably many millions of DC, LOM or MPEG instances. Yet, there is probably orders of magnitude more metadata that does not conform to these standards. And, the interoperability between the DC, LOM and MPEG world remains quite complex. Consequently, their application domains remain too disconnected.
In this workshop, we will reconsider how metadata could be generated, managed and put to use. We believe that the current standards and technologies will remain dominant for at least 3 to 5 years. The workshop will consider a longer-term perspective, and consider approaches, paradigmas, techniques and technologies that could enable a more unified, flexible, modular and versatile metadata world in 2010 and beyond.

I'm really looking forward to this special event. I'm also happy to have again the chance to meet Erik who is in my eyes one of the greatest researchers I've ever met.