The emergence of Web 2.0 or Read/Write Web is something that goes beyond technological development: more than a technological revolution, we are witnessing a social and cultural revolution spreading to all áreas of society. In a few years, Web 2.0 has radically changed the ways people use the Internet and interact with others and with information and knowledge. From consumers of content and information, these new digital citizens have become producers, creating content which they share and that becomes part of the information and knowledge freely available on the Web, claiming the control of many processes and contexts traditionally under the tight grip of corporations and institutions. From citizen or participatory journalism to the user recommendation systems, a solidary, committed and voluntary digital democracy seems in the making.
When seen through the lens of e-Learning, this new reality brings changes significant enough to give rise to a new concept: e-Learning 2.0. Users bring into their learning experiences a series of needs and expectations, of ways of acting and relating to information and knowledge that call for new ways of facilitating anad guiding their learning. On the one hand, learner independence and autonomy, personalization of learning and learner control of the learning process, which have traditionally been some of the fundamental aspects of Distance Education gain a new dimension and relevance, when the participatory culture of the Web today demands pedagogies which are also participatory. On the other hand, the network experience, based on sharing, conversation and collaboration requires contexts in which learning has a strong social dimension and collaboration and interaction are fostered. New pedagogical perspectives for the digital era, such as Conectivism and Rhizomatic Education, join socioconstructivist approaches enhanced by social software. As people who learn throughout their lives, Web 2.0 users carry with them a compound of contacts, resources, tools and artefacts (dynamic, mutable, evolving), a kind of personal portfolio combined with a social communication and interaction network which constitutes their Personal Learning Environment (PLE).
The characteristics of this sociocultural, technological and educational context and the experience that results from living and learning in it lead to a certain destabilization and questioning of the notions of authorship, validity and certification of knowledge, formal and informal learning, relationship between who learns and who teaches and the purpose of knowledge, as well as the roles of the University and the Teacher.