@Dave as long as you stop squealing like a little girl every time I step out of my Ed Tech Stretch Limo…

I think the key word in your last bit is “eventually” because the “eventually” applies to the learners too, whether they are literal students or faculty or what have you (I belong to the what have you category, I think). There are choices being made at every stage… it’s just a lot harder to make a meaningful choice when you have no idea of the qualities or benefits or drawbacks or even the basic function (or functionality) of what you are choosing from.

Which is why I don’t understand the resistance I’ve seen from various quarters to providing some elementary help, whether it be a kind of map or examples for wayfinding to help learners feel confident in exploring and finding their own way through what can be a bewildering thicket. The best way to learn this stuff is to learn over the shoulder of others, to get those aha! moments when you think to yourself “oh, *that’s* how they did that” or “ah, those X things can actually be woven together,” etc.

And I can’t see that it hurts to help others understand how the pieces and parts we’ve chosen at any particular moment interact with one another, sometimes to enrich, sometimes to aid in efficiency, and in the most awesome confluence, both. Which is why what I refer to as the PLE isn’t anything like the LMS (or the VLE as a I understand the term in use) and why when I talk about it I talk about it in terms of helping people do things they want to do and examples of how others are doing those things.

I do think there are deep complexities and subtleties when it comes to providing patterns and practices in scripted ways and the way those can lead to more power for learners, just as there are counter-intuitive paths to freedom in providing practice through artificial constraints, but I’ve droned on long enough.

I want learners to be able to send stuff to whoever they want, when they want, and retain ownership, pride, and the intellectual currency of attention. Giving them means to both create their own ad-hoc portfolio as a part of their learning and the tools to pull pieces together into more literal portfolios as they want and need to.