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Matchmaking Learning?

It’s possible there’s more out there than I know, but I see social media apps that offer great models for connecting people with similar interests, but wonder where is that for education? Today, I came across Micro.Vois— a simple idea that seems elegant, built on (what else these days?) twitter

click to see full image

It simply connects people based on hashtags in tweets to connect freelancers with people who might have work, or people looking for freelancers. So if you are needing, say, a CSS guru or a 3D animator, you just tweet something that has #havework, and if you are someone with skills like Flash Programming or Game Design, you tweet #wantwork, and Micro.Vois tries to put them side by side.

This is compelling because (a) it is simple, and (b) the “posting” can be done in the flow of your regualr twitter communication (which we all know everybody does these days, right?) Yes, it means not having to create another account at some other site, log in, etc to engage in matchmaking.

So I wondered– what if someone created a Learning.Vois? People who have knowledge skills to tweet might send messages with #haveknowledge and people looking to learn something specific can tweet #wanttolearn (note- this is a total mockup, don’t go looking fir it til TechCrunch sez it’s so..)

click to see full image

Now this may not really be a fantastic idea, but I am more after the probing of why academic dont get out of their vertical silos and leverage these channels. Or they can wait until it gets “integrated” inside some “safe” “secure” closed wall LMS. Bleccch.

I speculated a number of years ago what might happen if educational organizations used some sort of recommendation system– e.g. “People who liked Newtonian Physics also did well in Laplacian Transformations” or “25% of people who registered for ENG 101 also signed up for Art History 159” or “Students who successed in Political Science 212 also achieved top grades in Sociology 322”.


Actually I have seen a little of this at the Open University– Tony Hirst has sharing some info about a course he taught and there is s spot that says “Students who studied this course have also studied at some time:” with a linked list of said courses:


Yet in continuing to think about data– Universities (and colleges and welding schools) have information sitting inside their vaults on course offered, when they were offered, numbers of students who took them, even performance information (e.g. grades- detach from IDs of course), which this links out to other courses people have taken offering all kinds of analysis, linking, visualizations… all of this data, data, data, sitting idly, doing nothing.

Not a web of data happens in education, we are a few isolated locked cupboard drawers.

Ain’t much 2.0 in education at all. It’s been 1.0 for 100+ years.

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An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. Forgive me if this is trite and understood by most who read this, but to me it seems you have stumbled onto something Ivan Illich discussed at length in his book Deschooling Society. In the chapter titled Learning Webs (chapter 6) Illich writes “A good educational system should have three purposes: it should provide all who want to learn with access to available resources at any time in their lives; empower all who want to share what they know to find those who want to learn it from them; and, finally, furnish all who want to present an issue to the public with the opportunity to make their challenge known.” His second point in that sentence seems to be what you have found a tool for. If you would like to check it out the book it is free to read online at

    1. @Richie- please never assume triteness or understood-news around here; I’m not all read up on theory and such (though I know a bit about Illich or at least that academics refer to his work a lot).

      So I’d wonder how many “good” educational systems have these qualities- its one thing to espouse them, another to actually operate in said manner. Thanks for the link to the free version. We may need a whole lot more than “deschooling”!

  2. A day late and a dollar short. When I read the blog post, the first thing that came to mind was Ilich’s book – which I recently encountered. Am reading it currently. I was going to point out the same exact comment Richie did; blogged the same exact quote earlier this morning 😉


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