Welcome to the ProSolo blog.
ProSolo is a social learning platform for the development and credentialing of competencies. . The concept of ProSolo was initially inspired by the results of an earlier research project with several European Partners.
The education sector is undergoing an unprecedented level of change. From open badges to course modularization to the growth of open education resources such as MOOCs are but a subset of the drivers impacting on how we undertake and provide education. In developing ProSolo, we recognized that the traditional model of education and training of classroom centered practices and formalized credentials were rapidly being challenged, in part due to the growth of new and open education models. Increasingly, private, and public industry are now recognizing the importance for all forms of learning from formal, to informal and workplace based. There is growing acknowledgement within and outside the education sector that the achievement of competencies, learning outcomes and awarding of credentials is not limited and cannot be limited to universities and colleges alone.
ProSolo harnesses the transformative power of adaptive and personalized learning to unbundle degrees, programs and courses and re-aggregate in new ways that better match each student’s learning needs, interests and career goals. ProSolo provides all learners with the ability to personalize their education experience. There has been much anticipation and debate around the capacity for technology to provide “adaptive and personalized learning”. ProSolo is developed with an intention to provide learners with the opportunity to customize, modify and personalize their learning journey. This is done with a belief that education is for everyone and learning occurs everywhere. ProSolo’s design and conceptual model captures the essence of personalized learning. ProSolo’ provides users with the ability to unbundle education programs, courses and units into discrete yet inter-related competencies to allow learners to construct their education pathway in a manner that better reflects their interests and future career motivations and requirements.
At the core of ProSolo are the following principles:
- competence is a social object – learners develop their competencies by harnessing the opportunities offered by social media and connections learners create while learning, working, or playing;
- learners are unique and so are their profiles – understanding and documenting what learners know, regardless of where learning happens, is essential for creating adaptive learning opportunities;
- learning is credentialed – although learning may occur in informal and authentic contexts, a robust credentialing pipeline is necessary to assess and validate the evidence learners provide in order to demonstrate the achievement of stated competencies.
The growth of informal learning opportunities such as Massive Open Online Courses and their associated certifications has forced universities to rethink the processes for credentialing and learning to establish more flexible models for recognizing alternate educational pathways. ProSolo’s mapping of personal goals and experiences directly to the achievement of competencies and granting of credentials provides learners with greater flexibility in their study options, as well as the recognition of alternate learning pathways and prior experience. For education providers, ProSolo maps curriculum activities directly to learner competencies and outcomes allowing for easy unbundling and reassembling of degree programs and courses. ProSolo unpacks the rigidity of existing programs to cater for alternate educational pathways and provide students with new opportunities to gain recognition for prior and alternate credentials and experiences. ProSolo doesn’t just break the concept of the credit hour – it totally removes it.
After performing numerous user experience studies, we have officially launched ProSolo Beta for the use in Data, Analytics and Learning (DALMOOC) offered in partnership with edX, University of Texas at Arlington, Carnegie Mellon University, Teachers College, Columbia University, and Athabasca University. With its innovative course design, DALMOOC creates a great opportunity to learn more about the needs of learners for creating a learning environment that will help them develop and document their learning experience, link them with social networks of relevance for their learning goals, and credential competencies acquired through their personal pathways.
During this stage, ProSolo can be accessed by using the accounts created with edX. Once enrolled in the DALMOOC, ProSolo will allow users to create their ProSolo accounts and continue using it without the need for any external identity management provider.
This is merely the first blog in a series about ProSolo. In future blogs, we will touch on many important concepts as well as providing tutorials such as how to use ProSolo, social learning in ProSolo, credentialing work, what the ProSolo socio-technical architecture looks like, and what the use and implications of ProSolo are for higher education. We look forward to your feedback and comments.
The ProSolo team