Edith Cowan University, Western Australia in association with Khon Kaen University, Thailand and Bansomdejchaopraya Rajabhat University, Thailand.
Second generation web applications (Web 2.0) are transforming elearning and opening new frontiers for learner empowerment, control and engagement. New online technologies allow individuals to filter and control existing content (aggregation), easily create new content (personal publishing) and rapidly communicate, inform and distribute this information with peers through online social networking services. Learners are able to construct highly personalized learning environments, assembled from a very large range of tools available on the internet, including blogs, wikis, podcasts and social bookmarking sites. Together the technical and social advances which characterize this change may even constitute a paradigm shift, which some authors refer to as eLearning 2.0. This paper identifies emergent themes evident in this literature, and relates these themes to social, individual and scholarly empowerment by contrasting traditional eLearning with eLearning 2.0. The analysis is approached from a social constructivist perspective, applied to the technology, its pedagogical rationale and its impact on the university. The paper postulates that if individual empowerment is a necessary precondition for the adoption of these tools, then we will need to reconceptualize the policies, practices and purposes of our educational institutions.