When we talk about economies of scale, we are referring to cost savings gained by increased levels of production. But how do you achieve economies of scale when you are customizing and personalizing programs? This issue has many implications that a learning management systems (LMS) does not—and, quite frankly, can’t—deal with. LMSs are the past; something different is needed for today’s learning demands.

To encourage the creativity and entrepreneurial mindset needed for global competition, we need a more individualized and custom approach to learning and development. But how is this achieved at scale? An education sharing economy is part of the answer; an experience economy is the other.

When I refer to a sharing economy for education, I’m talking about sharing pieces of learning. These pieces are granular and composable to be reusable and repurposed. The economy to share these pieces refers to universities, businesses and thought leaders who contribute to the economy. Because no single contributor has all the expertise required to scale custom and personalized learning, each contributor offers his or her piece in return for access to the value derived from aggregating other pieces in the economy. These niche needs amass to solve the challenge of custom and personalized learning, at scale.

A learning piece is a vague concept, so here’s a definition; a digital tool that facilitates learning through interactions with people, and connects with other tools to form dynamic knowledge networks. But it’s more than that. For a collection of digital tools to effectively support custom and personalized learning, they must have certain characteristics:

1. A standardized user experience: Each digital tool must conform visually so that the user experience is consistent.
2. Composability: Each digital tool must have a mechanism to interact with other tools and the ability to combine with other tools.
3. Contextual awareness: Each digital tool must have an awareness of its context so it can behave appropriately for that context.

Welcome to the experience economy; the human interaction with these tools. A personalized learning experience should be seamless and consistent when we interact with learning tools. The tools should flow, have a consistent look and feel, and follow the guidelines of the environment in which they operate. This is the experience economy and Volute’s core mission. The tools are quite diverse, but they abide by the same laws and are identifiable as Volute Tools. This familiarity is critical to standardize human interaction with digital learning and move beyond standardization defined only by interaction between machines such as LTI (Learning Tool Interoperability).

Volute Tools are like LEGO® bricks—with brains. They encapsulate intellectual property of thought leaders, teaching methods and learning interventions. With a small pile of diverse LEGO® bricks, you can create vast numbers of unique structures. Now give them behavior and context, and the possibilities are endless. This is enough to move us to the next generation of learning. Meet Volute.

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