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by Stephen Downes
January 6, 2010

Massive increase in words consumed
Some people may be sceptical, but I say consuming 6,000 trillion more words must have an impact. In 1980, we consumed 4,500 trillion words. In 2008, that number was 10,850 trillion words. That must have some impact. You can't simply say, "oh, the words weren't in print, and they weren't deep, so (magically!) there's no effect." Donald Clark, Plan B, January 6, 2010 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment] [Tweet]

PLE Push or Pull?
For those interested in following our PLE project (called Plearn) the blog is now available. This post captures some thoughts I had about how the PLE should interact with other PLEs and services. We're still struggling with the mechanics of a group blog for a project for a government research agency (and still working on the visual identity). Me, I want to see it unpolished, informal, ad hoc, and half-baked. As I commented in an internal email today, I am hopeful people will see us thinking out loud, and will offer advice and suggestions (our lawyers and business development people, by contrast, worry that people will see the blog and simply steal the ideas... sigh). Stephen Downes, Plearn Blog, January 6, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Second Life isn't dead, but it's a niche
I've been sent a bunch of Second Life links in the last few days, which I'll recap later. But I want first to highlight this post from Alja Sulcic, who begins, "I did spend a lot of time in Second Life, met many, many wonderful people in there, and I know what great things people are doing there," but adds, I also think it's fair to say that it is a niche service. It's great for content creators, artists, musicians, it's great for people with enough patience and perseverance to put up with the lag and other technical issues. But it's awful for the average internet user." This is my take as well. I know you and your group have a great thing going in there - but telling me that 50 people are doing something is simply not evidence that the service is widespread, viable, and forward looking. Alja Sulcic, iAlja, January 6, 2010 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment] [Tweet]

5 Great Ways to Conquer Self Doubt
Recalling the post from the other day about self-doubt, this post offers a nice antidote. "You won't ever be able to rid yourself of doubt entirely – believe me, I've tried. But I hope that these suggestions will lessen your pain when dark thoughts are all around you." A lot of it has to do with actually recording your doubts and your successes, giving you real data - rather than misleading impressions - with which to assess your own performance. Alexandra Levit, Zen Habits, January 6, 2010 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment] [Tweet]

A persistence paradox
You have worse odds of scoring a YouTube hit than of winning the lottery, and they don't improve with persistence. "The empirical hit probability for a YouTube producer is lower than that of a lottery buyer regardless of the persistence level. In particular, while the success probability of a lottery buyer with persistence level 100 is 63.4 percent that of a YouTube producer with the same persistence level is only 22.6 percent. Thus, the benefit of persistence on YouTube is much worse for content producers than that of a lottery." More from the January edition of First Monday. Fang Wu and Bernardo A. Huberman, First Monday, January 6, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

What's Old Is New Again
"E-learning today appears to be mostly about delivering assessments and designs, testing, personalization, scenarios, and tutorials." This according to a study reported by Allison Rossett and James Marshall. This is very different, they say, from the view of e-learning as seen in conferences, blogs, and magazines. "You would think that the classroom is near death and that the web is the beating heart of training and development." Not so, they write. Classroom delivery, assessment and measurement are the cornerstones of contemporary work in e-learning. They write that they are surprised, but I am not. Web-based personal learning is still a wave of the future (which is why I write about it). Allison Rossett and James Marshall, ASTD, January 6, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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