I read about soft peer reviews on George Siemens’ blog and immediately went on to read more about the concept. I am very intrigued because of a discussion I had not long ago with an academician at a prominent university in India about the feasibility of starting an online journal based on intellectual property originating from within India. He was of the opinion that expert quality hard reviews are mandatory for the journal to become widely accepted.
So on the one hand we have a non-scalable, “final”, low volume nature of the traditional journal/learning places, while on the other we have the latest modes of collaborative learning 2.0 experiences.
Given the exponentially increasing volume of virtual places of learning (blogs, wikis et al) and conversations, it is extremely easy for a learner to spend enormous time in locating the right learning and get completely lost in a forest of endless clicks and irrelevant information. I end up doing that a lot (piecing together learning from a host of virtual learning places, sort of becoming an instructional designer myself) and it is going to get worse.
Cut back to PLEs. Let us say I managed to slice through everything in my PLE and gathered relevant information (posts, entries, discussions etc) around a specific learning area. Then, suppose I had the tools to order and sequence that information into a flow that seems intelligible to me. Then, suppose I somehow managed to add supporting information of my own that I would think people would benefit from (maybe a short quiz or an introduction).
Then I sent all that out to my community and said, why don’t you help me refine this…I would like to share my learning experience with others who may have a similar learning style? Suppose, through a process of soft peer reviews, I was able to improve on what I did. At the end, I could then submit the peer reviewed learning material (my shared PLE slice) to the community and let the community rate it.
Suppose you wanted to learn about that particular area. You would go to the virtual learning place, search and find a large number of these shared PLEs with different community ratings. You could pick the one you like the most (i.e. find the most intelligible), import that slice into your own PLE (just like importing a SCORM based course into an LMS maybe, though I know people will dislike that analogy!) and maybe even rate it when you complete.
Lots of suppositions here. But what I am trying to do is think of a process that will allow the greatest flexibility and ease to the learner.