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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10 Things I Learned From My 3D Printer: An Early Adopter's Diary

What I like about this story is that it's not just a story about being an early adopter, it's a story about learning. And it's not one of those "you can learn it in ten minutes" stories, it's a story about what it takes to learn something big, complicated, and unfinished. "It turns out that there's a "dark Web" of Thingiverse full of parts people have designed to make their cheap printers not only functional, but behave like the $2,000-plus models. There's an entire economy and community of people, not unlike the popular VR world Second Life, who are devoted entirely to upgrading and modifying printers..."

Today: 371 Total: 371 Michael Lydick, PC Magazine, 2015/11/30 [Direct Link]

Canada's Innovationm Challenge and Opportunities

We again revisit the state of innovation in Canada (international readers can just look away). This is the latest report from the Science, Technology and Innovation Council (STIC), which reports to the federal government. It's not a pretty report. "Canada’s business enterprise expenditures on R&D (BERD) intensity (i.e., BERD as a share of gross domestic product) dropped further between 2006 and 2013, to the point where Canada ranked 26th among international competitors... Canada’s most profound and urgent ST&I challenge lies in increasing the number of firms that embrace and effectively manage innovation as a competitiveness and growth strategy." In a nutshell: Canada's businesses have stopped investing in research and development, and the previous government's strategy of giving established businesses more money has failed. This report has it a bit better: we need to support basic reserach and development, and we need to fund high risk ventures (ie., startups).

Today: 385 Total: 385 Elizabeth Cannon, et.al., 2015/11/30 [Direct Link]

Mobile App Developers are Suffering


Good article explaining why it is nearly impossible today to break into the app market with enough impact to build a sustainable revenue base. Essentially, the market (consisting of the apple and Google app stores) is rigged in favour if the incumbents (and those apps with a special relationship with Apple and Google). Yes, the app market could be reformed - but this would require the cooperation of the platforms, and the platforms have zero incentive to do so. I think (along with the author, and Ben Werdmuller) that if we're looking for innovation, we should look for it in the web space (and for apps that can be loaded and discarded instantly, like web pages).

Today: 147 Total: 815 Alex Austin, Medium, 2015/11/30 [Direct Link]

TEAMMATES peer feedback system – review


This looks like an interesting and useful tool. Teammates is "a free online system that facilitates anonymous peer feedback between students working in groups." The one real weakness is that you need a Google account to use it.

Today: 111 Total: 1039 TELICS, 2015/11/30 [Direct Link]

No Rich Child Left Behind, and Enriching the Rich: Why MOOCs are not improving education


I've heard this argument a lot, and here it is again: "All the evidence I know suggests that MOOC learners are typically well-educated, more affluent from the developed world, and male." OK, let's suppose that's true (it might not be). So what? First, MOOCs nonetheless provide more access than previously to people without access to education (mostly for people outside the United States, which is why they don't show up in the US-only statistics cited here). And second, it is true of pretty much all really useful things (like, say, the internet itself) that the first users are well-educated white males. That fact does not make the thing less useful. Consider another example: money. Most of it is in the hands of well-educated white males. But it doesn't follow that it would not be useful (even more useful, actually) in the hands of non-educated, non-white non-males. Image: E-learning Consortium.

Today: 69 Total: 1275 Mark Guzdial, Computing Education Blog, 2015/11/27 [Direct Link]

Genes Influence How Drugs Work


The medical profession is taken as the standard-bearer for evidence-based learning theory, and the model here is large-scale trials with control groups and carefully measured interventions. The presumption in medicine (and so to for the corresponding education theorists) is that people are physiologically the same. Sure, there are variations in height, weight, and gender, etc. But where it really matters, at the biological and chemical level, there is no significant difference between people. Except... there is. "Do you reach for Tylenol or Advil? Most people have a preference because they have learned over time that one works better than the other at relieving their pain. This type of variability from person to person is true for nearly every medication." That's why we have doctors who work individually with patients when considering prescriptions and treatments.

Today: 49 Total: 1037 Julie A Johnson, Humanity+, 2015/11/27 [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.