Learning content should be hackable

Early in my training/education career I did a bit of content development; some classroom training, a couple of web-based courses, and some CBT. I found content development rather boring and have spent the last decade focusing on analysis (what would be best?) and evaluation (how does the current program work?)  George Siemens raises a good point about learning content development:

Key point: while much of the initial process for gathering information (or, if you will, creating a course) is unchanged, what is most unique now is the iterative, corrective, and subsequent interaction and enhancement around the content after it has been created (again, think courses and programs if you’re an educator).

We have a lot of material on what works for training or education and how to make better programs from a pedagogical perspective.  One example is Ruth Clark’s Six Principles of Effective e-Learning (PDF). However, there is one principle that is not taught or followed in instructional design that would really reflect the nature of the Web. There should be a principle of  making learning content hackable, so that it can change with the times, the needs of instructors or learners. Licenses such as CC-By-NC would allow remixing. Perhaps we need a special “CC-Education Remix” license.

Anyway, if you want your content to live a long, healthy and even diverse life; make it easier to hack.

9 Responses to “Learning content should be hackable”

  1. Jon Husband

    Doc Searls (and others, including yours truly) have talked in the past about the iterative scaffolding of knowledge and meaning available to all of us through hyperlinked interaction and the subsequent publishing of the synthesized material.

    Same point basically, no ?

  2. Anto

    Well. this reminds me a discussion within the past “Intro to Open Education” course by David Wiley.
    I argued that adaptation was a key point for reusing content.

  3. Tom Campbell

    Maybe it is helpful to think that the learner is constructing meaning when ‘hacking’ the original content. “Learning” is after all, always a problem solving opportunity and given a creative opportunity – a learner more successfully and personally engages with the content.


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