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Standards are bad

Standards are bad: “Standards are bad, he asserted. Or, less confrontationally, standards are an inferior solution to the problem that open source software solves. ”
There are many ways to tackle the problem of getting people (and software) to work together across institutions and platforms. The most common is to standardize the process so that we use the same language, the same naming conventions, the same data formats, etc. The quest for standardization is deeply entrenched in organizational thinking and design. Others (Downes and Wiley) have grappled with standardization in relation to learning objects, so I won’t pursue that angle specifically. I believe that instead of standards (at the application level), we should be talking about spaces. We should be creating ecologies, or open spaces, where we can design our learning, our platforms, our artefacts, in a way that enables them to connect because of the space in which they exist. Any time we agree on a format, someone will come along with a better format, approach, or standard. When we create the space, anyone can take any approach they like…and interoperability is still possible. Think of the internet as the best example. While standards exist on the protocol level, the innovation of the environment is due to the freedom of individuals to write, design, and produce whatever they wish. The standards are used to create the space, not the process or the particular interactions within that space. Put another way, the standards that exist enable innovation, whereas the standards often applied to learning objects, restrict innovation.

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  1. Standards are bad

    Standards are bad Standards are bad: "Standards are bad, he asserted. Or, less confrontationally, standards are an inferior solution to…

    Wednesday, April 26, 2006 at 12:17 pm | Permalink