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Social mechanisms to guide the

design of peer-
If we consider knowledge to be the result of a negotiation process about references and
meaning between individuals, then, we should consider it also a collective or social
property. This view underlies numerous initiatives worldwide providing unrestricted
online access to educational content, software tools, and implementation resources,
commonly referred to as Open Educational Resources. The projects that create, offer,
and publish OER have been around for nearly a decade. Sustainability, or the ongoing

based learning
ability to meet the goals of a project, has always been a major challenge for all of them.
Sustainability of OER-projects relate to the ability to provide relevant content, manage
the quality, and to initiate and maintain meaningful interactions and incentives between
end-users. Strategies to sustain projects range from direct institutional support and
management to community facilitation. The Library of Labs is a EU funded project

aiming at providing access to remote lab experiments and online simulations through a
portal. This paper focuses on how social mechanisms can contribute to both
sustainability and learner’s engagement, and describe implications for the design of the
online portal.

tex t
Con From publishing
But how to design such an environment such that people will in
fact collaborate, share, and in the end sustain the production,
courseware online for management, and learning from educational resources?
u e stio n
e a rch q
The past decade, various non-profit initiatives
Most top-down organized community initiatives fail to reach
momentum, and fade away shortly after inception. This is Re s
have been started with the intention to openly due to lack of motivation to participate. Because the sustainability of
share educational resources, such as syllabi, peer-based online learning environments depend on the willingness of individuals to contribute,
lecture notes, presentations and videos, the design of such a system requires much attention. Understanding of the factors that influence
software and documentation. motivation of individuals in online knowledge environments can be used to increase willingness
to invest time and share knowledge.
These initiatives have been sustained through ongoing
gro u n d
investments and funds by individuals and institutions, and
content provided by numerous teachers and individual
There are various descriptive and prescriptive frameworks
that relate to the design of social or community software Ba ck
worldwide. (Preece and Maloney-Krichmar, 2005, Bouwman et al. 2007), community
sustainability (Culnan and College, 2008), and drivers of community participation and building learning contribution (Moore and Serva 2007, Kollock 1999, Ardichvili 2008, Yu et al. 2009). Some
research focuses explicitly on communities of practice (Moore and Serva, 2007; Ardichvili, 2008)
communities and others more generally on online communities (Preece, 2000; Garfield, 2006; Rashid et al.,
The emergence of open educational 2006, Kollock, 1999, etc.). We have created an overview of these findings in order to support the
resources have laid the foundation design of a community-based online environment for knowledge sharing and learning. Because
for the next step in open education: many studies point out that social and technical factors need attention in order to enable
decentralization of the development and maintenance of knowledge sharing (Lee, 2008; Yu et al. 2009; Lee and Choi 2003; Preece, 2000; Hendricks and
Vriens, 1999; etc.), the design of such a system addresses technical and social elements.
learning resources, as well as of learning from learning
e stu d y
This is a necessary next step, because an institutional Designing LiLa C a s
approach for sharing educational resources is not We developed a framework that addresses 12 social mechanisms and can be used to increase
sustainable. Sustainability addresses the following 2 motivation and participation, and therefore sustainability of peer-based Open Educational
elements Resources projects. We applied this framework into the design of processes and technology of
the EU-funded project called LiLa. “LiLa” is the acronym for the “Library of Labs”, an initiative for
1. continuously being able to produce and share open the mutual exchange of and access to virtual laboratories and remote experiments. The portal
educational resources; and also disseminates and aggregates learning resources and lessons. The design of the portal is
2. to sustain the use and reuse of these resources by end- based on the concept of active, self-organized, and participative learning. Because funding stops
users. after 3 years, self-organization is seen as instrumental to sustainability. The design is therefore
focused on supporting all kinds of self-organization and co-creation of learning and learning
The first element of sustainability can be achieved through resources. The framework has been central to the design of the portal. Per mechanism, we
"the reduction of friction and decentralization, capturing explain and show an example of its application in the portal.
intrinsic motivation of individuals to contribute without
financial recompense." (Wiley 2006) Wiley literally states that Teachers: SCORM compliancy & Student and teacher roles & Self-management EU project: different cultures
teacher tips expertise are defined in the Self-organization Various disciplines
decentralization means the active involvement of students. personal profiles. Self-categorization
Decentralization happens through the peer production of Content providers: Storage, tools,
analytics Leadership from within the LiLa

open resources and sharing them in P2P (peer-to-peer) consortium, and by active
networks (Benkler 2005,Downes 2007). Students: Personalized
learning,peer assessment

The second element of sustainability concerns the ability to

learn from these resources. More than downloading and
reading materials, learning implies the co-creation of Alignment with user Leadership & Roles Self-organization Heterogeneity
meaning with others. Open education must therefore focus objectives
on online tools and environments to sustain meaningful
interactions between peer learners. Advanced reputation system Scientific Common Ground &
based on contributions: Ontology
Connected I have a problem. I cannot
Knowledge assessment reviews, answers on Renee start the experiment.. Why

forum, and experiment popularity said do I need a plugin? LiLa conference in 2011

ore in Networked

M Authors
Thieme Hennis & Wim Veen
t.a.hennis, Profiling

Hi there.. I think
you first need to
download it. Sofie

Learning & Networking Reputation & Identity Reciprocity & Feedback Common Ground

LiLa-Project Help and support pages
Privacy protected at the Personal profiles
Coordinator: Dr. David Boehringer, Forum topic "Getting started"
institution level and with openID Activity stream See who else is here (institution)
EU legislation very strict Analytics
Invite others

Privacy Sense of community Newcomers Self-efficacy &

& Accountability Social Comparison