In 1971, in a pre-internet era, Ivan Illich prefigured many of the ideas of creating a personal learning network using social media and other methods in an idea like connected learning”. There are many dating apps like or Tinder which take personal data and provide matches of people to create romantic relationships. Illich essentially asked how computers might match people with similar learning interests?

While we don’t have applications which do this explicitly yet, there are places in social media which facilitate this sort of discovery and interactions. I wonder how platforms like might take this to the next level in matching teachers and students or even co-learners.

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Particularly striking in 1971 was his call for advanced technology to support learning webs”:

The operation of a peer-matching network would be simple. The user would identify himself by name and address and describe the activity for which he sought a peer. A computer would send him back the names and addresses of all those who had inserted the same description. It is amazing that such a simple utility has never been used on a broad scale for publicly valued activity.1


links: pedagogy Ivan Illich personal learning networks

connected ideas:


  1. Ivan Illich | syndication link quote from Deschooling Society↩︎


March 16, 2021