E-learning with web 1.0


Web1.0-2.pngThe term web 1.0 refers to the first version of the web, sometimes also known as the informational web, which developed from 1991 onwards, as distinct from web 2.0, the social web, which emerged around the year 2000. Web 1.0 was essentially a source of information created by a small number of authors for a very large number of users. It consisted largely of static webpages with little room for real interactivity. Thus, it functioned much like a large reference book, or indeed a whole library of reference books.

Until the emergence of web 2.0, of course, we didn't need to talk about versions of the web: therefore, the term web 1.0 was created retrospectively after the advent of web 2.0 to help differentiate the informational from the social web. The Google Trends diagram at the bottom of this page shows the relative incidence of Google searches for the terms 'web 1.0', 'web 2.0' and 'web 3.0' over the years 2004-2011. It can be seen that searches for web 2.0 became popular before searches for web 1.0. The usage of the term web 2.0 is now also tailing off, partly due to the rise of alternative terms (such as 'social media') and partly because it's no longer necessary to specify that we're talking about web 2.0, since these days it's simply assumed that when we refer to the web, we are referring largely to the social web.

It's important to realise that web 1.0 hasn't disappeared, though. It still exists but is now overlaid with the more social web 2.0. For a succinct but informative list of comparisons between web 1.0 and web 2.0, see Joe Drumgoole's Copacetic blog entry Web 2.0 vs web 1.0 or Tim O'Reilly's What is web 2.0. For a more complex design-oriented comparison, see MacManus & Porter's Web 2.0 for designers. For a thorough overview, see Cormode & Krishnamurthy's Key differences between web 1.0 and web 2.0.

Compared to pre-digital education, web 1.0 offers advantages in terms of student autonomy, use of authentic materials and scenarios, exposure to multiliteracies, and a limited level of interactivity. However, the main educational uses of web 1.0 tend to fall into two categories: information retrieval (as in webquests) or rote training (as in drills). These correspond to very traditional models of pedagogy: a transmission model in the former case, a behaviourist training model in the latter. Notwithstanding more sophisticated uses (such as webquests for problem-based learning, or drill exercises for guided discovery) such activities are not so clearly aligned with the social constructivist model which underpins much of the educational use of web 2.0.

Google Trends: Searches for 'web 1.0', 'web 2.0' and 'web 3.0'.

Credits: The menu buttons were created with the As Button Generator. The image above left was created using Wordle software; the diagram of web searches was created with Google Trends.

Contact: There's no such thing as a finished wiki. Like all wikis, this one is a work in progress and there will be changes from time to time in organisation, content and links. However, don't let that stop you from contacting me at any time with comments, suggestions or questions.