Harvard’s Blockstore Technology Will Enable Personalized Learning on Open edX

Zoe Mackay | IBL News

Robert Lue, the Faculty Director and Principal investigator for LabXchange at Harvard has envisioned an advanced way to create personalized learning paths through community engagement on Open edX with the upcoming release of Blockstore.

“The hope is that what Blockstore on Open edX will allow us to do is truly create an environment for learning that is extremely flexible,” he said.

LabXchange, which launches in September 2019, “represents a real effort to see if we can move Open edX to the next stage of evolution where we’ll be able to create much more flexible learning experiences that can be personalized.”

Personalized learning started with MOOCs, and while there are vast libraries of open educational resources, these learning assets are locked within specific learning sequences — or courses.

This is the issue LabXchange wants to fix, by proposing a single dynamic repository called the Blockstore. “Instead of [learning assets] being locked into courses, they are broken up at the asset level — to individual videos, problems, text documents, HTML pages, etc,” which are meta-tagged and searchable.

Lue shows how you will be able to build a new learning pathway, by utilizing individual learning assets, remixing them and creating customized content.

“What we’ve done is created a new environment where content can be used in a variety of different ways…this allows, for the first time, the ability to remix it and issue it with a unique URL that let’s say a teacher can share with her class free of charge.”

LabXchange has also created a learning network to share “what [people] have learned from,” which allows others to share the learning pathways that can be built, have personal profiles, and the ability to mentor.

“The hope is that what Blockstore on Open edX will allow us to do is truly create an environment for learning that is extremely flexible, that will [allow people] to work with an entirely different set of data around how content is used and reused by instructors, by learners, how are things clustered, how that aligns with performance, how that aligns with building proposals, to solve problems and what sort of networks can now form on a platform that allows you to network through learning and trying to solve problems.”

LabXchange will launch in September 2019, and Blockstore plans on being rolled out over the next two releases of Open edX.

Watch the Robert Lue’s full talk at the Open edX conference in the video below.