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Business Education Faces a Challenging and Disruptive Future, finds Global Research
Press Release, EMFP, Nov 26, 2014

According to this report: "Traditional business education models are being disrupted by technology, the introduction of MOOCs, market competition, university fees and increasingly demanding employer and employee needs, finds a wide-ranging new report called See the Future."

Guidelines for completing the VMPass learning passport
Grainne Conole,, Nov 26, 2014

I'm seeing more and more initiatives along these lines these days. "The VMPass project is developing an accreditation framework for informal and non-formal learning through resources such as Open Educational Resources (OER) and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC). The accreditation is achieved through completion of a learning passport." So the passport is in many ways similar to the concept of the badge (except, it's a passport). There are three sections that need to be filled out for a credential (visa?): one section by the learning provider, one by the student, and one by the assessing/certifying institution. Here's an example.

Online Quizzes Are Data Goldmines for Marketers
Jack Marshall, Wall Street Journal Blogs, Nov 26, 2014

For a short period over the summer I was completely addicted to the online quizzes shared by sites like Facebook - things like "what world leader are you most like", for example - but as fall came it was almost as though they stopped trying to write interesting quizzes and became blatant attempts to collect data. Which is what they are: blatant attempts to collect data. Although for some companies - the article mentions Buzzfeed in particular - it's about collecting traffic, not collecting data.

Building Tomorrow’s Learning Experience:Personalized, Predictive and Connected
Wayne McCulloch, eLearning, Nov 26, 2014

"The world is fast becoming social, automated and more specialized than in the past, and a key factor of the evolution is consumerization of learning." I'm not sure I like the word 'consumerization' of learning, because it suggests a commercialized system driven by markets and advertising. That would be a risky development indeed. Our food distribution system, which is also based on consumerization, leaves some children morbidly obese and at the same time leaves large numbers of children malnourished and even starving. So we need to do better in education (and, for that matter, fix our food distribution system). At the same time, the idea of one education for all (or one diet for all!) is unpalatable. And that's what's changing - different people are getting the education they need, and not some centrally designed standardized fare. That's a good thing. The trick is to get the good without the bad.

How to Get Lectora Game Templates to Send Score Results to Your LMS
Brother Randy, eLearning Brothers, Nov 26, 2014

The new learning web is distributed and connected, just like a network (because it is a network). Here's what I mean. This article talks about how to send results from games templates built using Lectora to your learning management system (LMS). This post is pretty technical and not exactly exciting reading. But that's not the point. What's important is that different providers are thinking about how their applications talk to each other. (I'm looking forward to the post-Flash days though - the most common message on my computer these days (and this page produced yet another instance) is "The Adobe Fl;ash plugin has crashed... Learn more."

Colossus: A New Service Framework from Tumblr
Dan Simon, Tumblr Engineering, Nov 26, 2014

I got this link from Andriy Drozdyuk, one of the developers working on LPSS. It describes a framework called Colussus developed by Tumblr to support the implementation of microservices. "These are small, specialized applications designed to efficiently encapsulate a single feature or component." They are coded using a toolkit called akka, designed to "raise the abstraction level and provide a better platform to build scalable, resilient and responsive applications." This feels a lot like Ruby on Rails did when it was first introduced, and while it had its quirks, Rails became an important and influential framework. Here are some other HTTP frameworks built using akka.

Role of Community Management in Workplace Learning Today
Sahana Chattopadhyay, ID, Other Reflections, Nov 26, 2014

One thing that occupies my thinking is the tension between personal learning and community. Clearly community is important. But if community defines learning, the personal is subsumed. This post looks at community platforms used by organizations and the role of "community managers who can facilitate activities on the platform." This person needs to be, suggests the author, in part a trainer, a content curator, a connector, a brand ambassador, and a consultant. What is not discussed - a nd probably should be - is what happens when these roles conflict.

SCORM and Tin Can API: The difference between DVDs and Netflix
Melanie Moffett, eLearning Industry, Nov 26, 2014

I'd like to think that we can go a bit beyond Nedtflix, but I appreciate the analogy behind this post comparing SCORM and xAPI. SCORM - the Sharable Content Object Reference Model, was designed as a way for published products, like courseware, to report back to a host system, like a learning management system (LMS). Originally known as Tin Can, xAPI, the 'Experience Application Programming Interface', allows multiple services to report on student activities. "The Tin Can API vocabulary is powerfully simple, capable of identifying actors, verbs and objects - the most basic building blocks to convey meaning." And as the author notes, "according to the Brandon Hall Group webinar, businesses are using Tin Can API to develop a learning architecture that supports the following key elements: experience tracking, content brokering, learner profiles and competency networks.

Links and Resources

(presentations include slides and audio recordings)
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Key Articles

Scholarly Articles

Cites:294 Educational Blogging (Local copy)
264 Learning objects: Resources for distance education worldwide (Local copy)
134 E-learning 2.0 (Local copy)
126 Models for sustainable open educational resources (Local copy)
88 The future of online learning (Local copy
75 Learning networks and connective knowledge (Local copy)
70 Design and reusability of learning objects in an academic context: A new economy of education (Local copy)
59 Resource profiles (Local copy)
40 Learning networks in practice (Local copy)
33 Semantic networks and social networks (Local copy)
35 An introduction to connective knowledge (Local copy)
27 Design, standards and reusability (Local copy)
23 EduSource: Canada's learning object repository network (Local copy)
22 An introduction to RSS for educational designers (Local copy)

(Cites from Google Scholar for an H-Index = 14)

Recent Popular Articles

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A World To Change, October 19, 2010.
Connectivism and Transculturality, May 16, 2010.
An Operating System for the Mind, September 19, 2009.
The Cloud and Collaboration, June 15, 2009.
Critical Thinking in the Classroom, June 5, 2009.
The Future of Online Learning: Ten Years On, November 16, 2008.
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About Stephen Downes

Stephen Downes is a senior researcher for Canada's National Research Council and a leading proponent of the use of online media and services in education. As the author of the widely-read OLDaily online newsletter, Downes has earned international recognition for his leading-edge work in the field of online learning. He developed some of Canada's first online courses at Assiniboine Community College in Brandon, Manitoba. He also built a learning management system from scratch and authored the now-classic "The Future of Online Learning".

At the University of Alberta he built a learning and research portal for the municipal sector in that province, Munimall, and another for the Engineering and Geology sector, PEGGAsus. He also pioneered the development of learning objects and was one of the first adopters and developers of RSS content syndication in education. Downes introduced the concept of e-learning 2.0 and with George Siemens developed and defined the concept of Connectivism, using the social network approach to deliver open online courses to three thousand participants over two years.

Downes has been offering courses in learning, logic, philosophy both online and off since 1987, has 135 articles published in books, magazines and academic journals, and has presented his unique perspective on learning and technology more than 250 times to audiences in 17 countries on five continents. He is a habitual photographer, plays darts for money, and can be found at home with his wife Andrea and four cats in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada.


Stephen Downes travaille pour le Conseil national de recherches du Canada, où il a servi en tant que chercheur principal, basé à Moncton, au Nouveau-Brunswick, depuis 2001. Affilié au Groupe des technologies de l'apprentissage et de la collaboration, Institut de technologie de l’information, Downes est spécialisé dans les domaines de l'apprentissage en ligne, les nouveaux médias, la pédagogie et la philosophie.

Downes est peut-être mieux connu pour son bulletin quotidien, OLDaily, qui est distribué par Internet, courriel et RSS à des milliers d'abonnés à travers le monde. Il a publié de nombreux articles à la fois en ligne et sur papier incluant The Future of Online Learning (1998), Learning Objects (2000), Resource Profiles (2003), et E-Learning 2.0 (2005). Il est un conférencier populaire, apparaissant à des centaines de manifestations à travers le monde au cours des quinze dernières années.

Vision Statement

I want and visualize and aspire toward a system of society and learning where each person is able to rise to his or her fullest potential without social or financial encumberance, where they may express themselves fully and without reservation through art, writing, athletics, invention, or even through their avocations or lifestyle.

Where they are able to form networks of meaningful and rewarding relationships with their peers, with people who share the same interests or hobbies, the same political or religious affiliations - or different interests or affiliations, as the case may be.

This to me is a society where knowledge and learning are public goods, freely created and shared, not hoarded or withheld in order to extract wealth or influence. This is what I aspire toward, this is what I work toward.

Canadians who gave their lives in service in Afghanistan

Hundreds of my IAAF Track & Field Photos from Moncton 2010

My calendar

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