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- In this age of information abundance, self-directed online learning environments or SOLEs are vital since humans are highly curious creatures and want to find out how stuff works. We no longer primarily are seeking some type of course credit, transcript mark, certificate, badge, degree, or other external learning indicator or credential.
- Countless individuals are learning today in ways they never thought possible. As they do, these same learners are finding new careers and professional interests. They are in the midst of life changing experiences through innovative use of online technology tools and open educational resources. The technology has arrived to alter such personal as well as professional situations and empower learners and educators in ways never before imagined.
- Through MOOCs and open education, lives are being changed, both modestly and in more monumental ways. For many, open educational resources, massive courses, and other online content offer a sense of accomplishment outside of the high stress of most formal educational arenas.
- A surprising number of people in our studies are eschewing extrinsic motivators, and, instead, deciding to pursue their personal learning goals and passions. Safely put, they are not seeking nor expecting a piece of paper noting their accomplishments at the end.
- What is clear is that human learning is now in a state of significant flux. During this flux, we have entered the age of Education 3.0; a time when instructors increasingly act as learning concierges, curators, consultants, and counselors to give voice to their learners and to grant them multiple opportunities and pathways to learn.
- What is clear from our research is that the human species is in the midst of a momentous migration to different forms of environments for its learning needs, much of informal, self-directed, and online, not top down, face-to-face, or formal. Some might refer to these new forms of learning as self-directed online learning environments or SOLEs.
- Learners should begin to grasp that they have untold educational possibilities to learn today. And such opportunities can be widened or narrowed to a specific learning path or goals beneficial to each person. Suffice to say, those raising the flags or banners signaling human learning for all will find much to celebrate in the coming decades.
- It is vital to understand the far edges of learning taking place on this planet given that what is informal or extreme learning today might find its way into formal and highly common forms of learning in the near future.
- As Web-based technologies are continuing to push the limits of learning and education, it is time to make sense of the more open and informal education opportunities in front of each of us. This is an age where global economics have become markedly flatter and human learning is simultaneously becoming much more open, free, and personally accessible.
- Now is the time to conduct research in such self-directed online learning environments (SOLEs). Ask yourself, do you have a SOLE? If not, will you get one before it is too late?