I lead the Learning and Performance Support Systems program at the National Research Council, a multi-year effort to develop personal learning technology and learning analytics. I am one of the originators of the Massive Open Online Course, write about online and networked learning, have authored learning management and content syndication software, and am the author of the widely read e-learning newsletter OLDaily.


  • Association of Medical Educators of Europe (AMEE) E-Learning Symposium, Glasgow, Scotland, September 6, 2015.

  • Ghent, Belgium, March 30, 2015.

  • Chang School Talks 2015, Ryerson University, February 23, 2015.

  • Hackademia, Online, to Brazil, March 16, 2015.

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LearningStudio and OpenClass End-Of-Life: Pearson is getting out of LMS market


With Pearson getting out of the LMS market, writes Hill, " there will now be more than 100 LMS changes triggered by this announcement... there are still some very large online programs that now have to select a new LMS." But maybe this is a good point for them to pause and think about whether they need to run a learning management system at all. Pearson says, "we believe our learning applications and services are truly 'where the learning happens.'" That's a bit misleading (and anyways, learning happens in the human brain) but the point is sound: you could remove most of the infrastructure of an LMS, and still support learning. See also Inside Higher Ed.

Today: 236 Total: 236 Phil Hill, e-Literate, 2016/02/05 [Direct Link]

Searching for the Algorithms Underlying Life


I've also come to think there's probably one algorithm underlying perception, evolution, thought and consciousness. Here's how it's represented here: "Valiant’s self-stated goal is to find 'mathematical definitions of learning and evolution which can address all ways in which information can get into systems.' If successful, the resulting 'theory of everything' — a phrase Valiant himself uses, only half-jokingly — would literally fuse life science and computer science together." Or, at least, one family of algorithms (or, whatever comes after algorithms).

Today: 261 Total: 261 John Pavlas, Quanta Magazine, 2016/02/04 [Direct Link]

The only way is ethics


I agree that we need to pay attention to ethics when we teach. But as someone who has taught ethics in college and university, I am acutely aware of the fact that there is not one, but many, approaches to ethics. Which one should prevail? let me illustrate with a case in point. Miles Berry advises, "Honesty, integrity and truthfulness... surely should form part of any ethical approach to computing education.... If pupils sign up for online services, they shouldn’t lie about their age or identity..." Really? Are we behaving ethically if we teach children to respond honestly to what we know are dishonest online services? Perhaps an approach based in reciprocity might be more ethical: treat online services with as much respect as they show for you (which, admittedly, isn't much). I think, as an educator, that it is far preferable to encourage students to think about ethics, and to make wise choices. Image: BeaverOnline.


Today: 191 Total: 499 Miles Berry, An Open Mind, 2016/02/04 [Direct Link]

Workplace Learning-and-Performance -- Four Responsibilities Initiative!


The concept of the 'four responsibilities' is intuitively right and I think serves as a good corrective against approaches that focus exclusively on the client (at the expense of the learner) and vice versa. The responsibilities are, respectively: to the client, to the learners, to peers, and to oneself. So far so good. It makes me think of the multiple value propositions I need to balance in my own work. But the definition of the four responsibilities is followed by an absolutely cheesy questionnaire that is frankly an insult to the reader (I score '5' in all dimensions, of course). These authors can do much better than this.

Today: 163 Total: 481 Will Thalheimer, Will at Work Learning, 2016/02/04 [Direct Link]

The Giant Zero


Doc Searles has come up with a new metaphor to say many of the same things he's been saying for a number of years now. But it's a good metaphor and there's a really nice bit in the middle of the article where he talks about the different frames we use to talk about the internet - the transport frame, the real estate frame, the publishing frame, etc - and some of the implications using these frames has with regard to our intuitions. "All of them," writes Searles, "mislead us into thinking the Giant Zero is other than what it is: a place without distance, and lots of challenges and opportunities that arise from its lack of distance."

Today: 140 Total: 488 Doc Searles, Doc Searls Weblog, 2016/02/04 [Direct Link]

From ACT to Acts


This is a brief commentary on a recent report (32 page PDF) discussing how admissions officers should adapt to support more quality community engagement and less emphasis on simply counting accomplishments. As Richardson summarizes, "stop putting so much emphasis on AP classes and SAT scores and, instead, encourage kids to do meaningful, sustained good work in their communities and families." Sponsored by Harvard's School of Education, the report suggests that "College admissions can send compelling messages that both ethical engagement - especially concern for others and - the common good - and intellectual engagement are highly important."That sounds nice, but I guess I'd rather see these universities leading by example.

Today: 99 Total: 727 Will Richardson, Read Write Connect Learn, 2016/02/03 [Direct Link]

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.
Sponsored this month by: Gavin Moodie