by Stephen Downes
Jul 14, 2015
Learning and performance support systems: personal learning record: user studies white paper
Helene Fournier, Heather Molyneaux,
National Research Council,
This is the second of the White Papers developed in support of the Learning and Performance Support Systems program (meanwhile, development continues apace behind the scenes). This one focuses on the design and application of what we call the 'Personal Learning Record'. "The Personal Learning record component will define how user learning activities are represented, captured, and leveraged in a meaningful way; data associated with learning activities includes ratings, test results, performance measures, and the like, in a distributed learning and work environment."
Six Ways Continuing Education Can Close Canada's Skills Gap
Here are the "six continuing education trends that can help to close Canada's training gap," according to the Dean of the Change School, Marie Bountrogianni (quoted):
- continuing education can provide soft skills that are in-demand and transferable
- working adults can choose the course or program that is best suited to their needs
- teach employees entrepreneurial behaviour, strategy, and opportunity identification
- better linkages between employers and post-secondary institutions, and among post-secondary institutions
- employees (who) understand and efficiently act upon the insights that data can provide
- the experience and expertise older adults bring to their encore careers
Promising Research Results On Specific Forms Of Adaptive Learning / ITS
"The most promising results appear to be for a subset of adaptive systems that provide not just content selection but also tutoring," writes Phil Hill. How do such systems do this? An Intelligent Tutoring System (ITS) "constructs either a persistent multidimensional model of the student’s psychological states (such as subject matter knowledge, learning strategies, motivations, or emotions)." In other words, "ITS relies on a multidimensional model of the student in addition to a model of the subject area (domain model)." This allows the creation of a double-loop system: the outer loop selects learning tasks, while the inner loop "elicits steps within each task (e.g., problem-solving steps) and provides guidance with respect to these steps, typically in the form of feedback, hints, or error messages." Why does this work? It's immediate feedback, response-specific feedback, increased learner control, and individualized task selection.
Bologna With Student Eyes 2015
European Students' Union,
This is a long document and takes some time to work through. In a one-sentence nutshell, though: the ambitious plans outlined in the Bologna Plan have not been realized, largely because of inconsistent application across the member states. As Elisabeth Gehrke, esu Chairperson, says, "It is not reasonable that the Bologna Process has been in place since 1999, yet still basic recognition of degrees and qualifications is not yet a reality. There is no doubt that something must be done or in 2020 the Bologna Process will be obsolete at best." The document looks at recognition, student mobility, internationalisation, employment, financing and the future of Bologna. 108 page PDF.
Introducing the Open Badges 101 course! [pre-alpha]
It took me about ten minutes to go through the entire course as it is, which is basically a series of useful images linked in a linear path (next... next... next... - start here). So, yeah, there's a lot of work to be done in this course and it's totally pre-alpha. Totally fair. And you can connect to the GitHub forums discussing how it can be improved (which, frankly, should be retained as a permanent part of the course - because, why not?) How would I improve it? Well, none of the broad networks of connectivity envisioned in the course exist in the course. How do you make that work by building a course? I don't think you can - I think you have to start with the broad networks of connectivity, and then design learning experiences (possibly including courses) after you've done that.
Some (further) thoughts about ‘agile’ learning design
online learning and distance eductaion resources,
If you want to learn about agile learning design, you are probably better off learning about agile software design - from which it is derived - than from reading about agile learning designe. Agile is a well-established and well-tested approach to designing software in dynamic and changing environments; we are using it at NRC to build LPSS. But note, you'll find some key differences between the two. The agile design I read in this Tony Bates article owes a lot more to traditional learning design than it does to agile. Imagine these principles applied to learning:
- Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
- Working software over comprehensive documentation
- Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
- Responding to change over following a plan
Now compare with what we read in the Tony Bates article summarizing Peter Rawsthorne’s model of agile learning design: "clearly defined and measurable broad learning goals... sub-goals or topics, negotiated with learners... core learning materials and tools chosen in advance by the instructor... assessment based on pre-determined criteria linked." I can see the relation between this and agile - but it's like Rawsthorne can't let go of the core principles of instructional design where they conflict with an approach that would result in, well, a cMOOC.
Stop Blaming ‘The System’
This is one of those posts where I'm half in agreement and half in disagreement. The essence of Dan Haesler's comment is that we should stop blaming what we can't change and start working on what we can change. "I often hear that things will never change until we get rid of NAPLAN or the ATAR and we can’t innovate in the current educational climate," he writes. "Well if that’s your position then it’s a bit of a cop-out. Because let’s be honest, they aren’t going anywhere." I agree in the sense that we should not let the system limit us; I often work outside, around or underneath the system to make things work. And like Saul Alinsky, I try to make the system work toward my own ends. But he's wrong when he suggests we should just let the system be. It often is wrong, it was built to impair progress and equity, and it should change - and if we would around the system well enough, ti will change.
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