Successful learning within the individual's comfort zone

Swiss students want to have access to their personal learning contents all the time and wherever they happen to be, using their tablet, mobile phone or other device. Once they have finished their studies, they would like to retain complete control over the learning environment they have built up for themselves. Swiss universities would like to act as facilitators in this respect, but face large stumbling blocks. Eliminating these is precisely SWITCH's declared aim with the "Learning Infrastructure" cooperative project.

 

First step: reconnoitring

In an initial phase, SWITCH, along with the university community, is analysing the user requirements for personal learning and working environments. Which knowledge artefacts (web services, programs and tools) facilitate optimum learning? At the same time, it is setting out to clarify what opportunities these use scenarios offer for rearranging the national teaching and educational sector.  That includes considerations in the fields of:

  • data management
  • skills management
  • earnign aids
  • possibilities for cooperation, for instance the integration of popular communication services like Skype, Twitter, etc.
  • integration of social networks
  • job vacancies and job seeking
  • access control, and
  • flexible expandibility.

 

Second step: enhancements

SWITCH has already built up experience with PLEs through the AAA/SWITCH projects. The project is now taking a big step forward with the development of a PLE concept which will allow the universities or their members to use all sorts of social-software tools and to keep doing so throughout their lives. A further aim is for the learning tools developed to be offered at as many institutions as possible for setting up the corresponding learning environments and configuring them attractively.

What is my personal learning and working environment?

The particular feature of a personal learning and working environment is that it looks different for everyone – from the fountain pen through to the Winchester disk, from the university locker through to a complete collection of lecture notes. It may include all those things and much more beside. It depends on each individual’s learning habits and needs. The technological concept underlying this is known as the personal learning environment (PLE) or personal working environment (PWE). With the correct PLE, it is possible for learners to keep on studying efficiently and autonomously not just while at university but throughout the whole of their professional career.