I am pleased to announce the alpha (0.1) release of the
Action Learning Environment (ALE), an open source environment for
building experiential learning environments as interactive
as classrooms at their best. ALE is open source (free) software
and is available for
This is a radical claim so I'd better explain. How could a collection
of mere web pages, with all the limits of bandwidth and technology,
possibly compete with a great teacher, face to face with a room full of
eager students, using all of their senses to achieve their learning
objective? Its actually easier than it seems if you consider the
We live in an experiential learning environment more interactive
than anything on the web. ALE's goal is to bring to the web the
interactivity we enjoy in everyday life. So ALE forms are automatically
, like the writing on a blackboard.
Form contents are automatically preserved in a database and restored
each time the page is revisited. This makes it easy to build
web-based hand-outs, syllabii, quizzes, grade sheets, and custom
logic for processing task submissions.
Structured interactivity requires custom logic to specify who can do
what to whom when. So ALE pages are fully
anyone that is willing to learn XML. Each ALE page is an
an entity that "knows how" to present itself by sending HTML text to
a browser and how to handle fields in the page's forms and the database.
ALE's audience is anyone who thinks experiential learning is
better than memorization and that hauling education to the students
is better than the other way around. The stampede to put "computers in
the classroom" (why?), and the rash of mindless web-based page-flippers
being marketed as "distance education solutions", show a deep and
tragic misunderstanding of both technology and education.
for more about how ALE departs from such goals and how students
respond to the difference.
This is an alpha release so it is rapidly changing, incomplete in some
areas, and untested in production. It is released early to comply with
the open source
release early and often
dictum to encourage
join Brad Cox
in its development.
(343kb), which contains the full
distribution including source, binary, supporting libraries, reference
documentation and tutorial. It does not include a servlet engine (Jetty or
Tomcat), MySQL database server or Java Runtime Environment.
These should be downloaded separately from
. Then see the
instructions for how to proceed from that point.