In this chapter, the authors formulate a critique on the contemporary models and theories of learning environment design, while at the same time proposing a new approach that puts the learner centre stage. It will be argued that this approach is more apt to explain technology-enhanced learning and is more helpful in guiding (even end-user driven) engineering and maintenance of personalized learning environments. The authors call this new approach a mash-up personal learning environment (MUPPLE) and it is a vision (and prototype) of the future of personalized, networked, and collaborative learning.
The mash-up personal learning environment approach is strongly based on three assumptions on which the subsequent approach builds. First, we assume that learning to learn while at the same time learning content is a better approach than just (re-)constructing domain-specific knowledge. In other words, we believe that the acquisition of social, self, and methodological competence (i.e. transcompetences, also known as rich professional competences) prior to or in addition to content competence is superior to only acquiring content competence (i.e. domain-specific skills, facts, rules, and the like). This is not only justified through the added value of transcompetences, but additionally by the decreasing half-life of domain-specific knowledge and through the challenges imposed by lifelong learning (see also Wild et al., 2009). The competence to adapt both flexibly and quickly to changing context becomes vital especially at the transition between education, training, and work – and in between different work places or job roles. Monitoring ones own competence portfolio, identifying knowledge gaps, and remediating shortcomings planfully with learning are key competences in our modern society. We deliberately say ‘constructing’ as in constructivist theory a ‘transfer’ of knowledge does not exist: knowledge can only be created from within the minds of the learners, though of course influenced on sensory experiences provided by their environment.