by Stephen Downes
Nov 23, 2016
There's this common belief among innovators and thought leaders that if other people do the same thing they did, they can achieve the same results. That's true to some extent - if you read and write newsletters for fifteen years like I did, you'll attain a similar base of knowledge. But in other important ways it's not. Here's George Couros: "like every other person who starts on Twitter, I had had a network with the same amount of people that everyone else starts with; zero. A network takes time, persistence, and effort, to develop." This is true, but another principle of networks is that if you put in the same effort Couros did ten years ago, you will not get the same result. You will get a much smaller result. Networks favour the first mover. You would have to go back in time to do the same thing Couros did. The only way around this is to find something that's just starting now, and run with it for a decade. What if it's the wrong thing? Well, tough luck. The best you can do is to cast your net really wide and work a lot harder than Couros did.
Some nice news about MOOCs working as intended. "The platform reports that it has more than 900,000 registered users with figures growing by 1,000 a day and reaches people in 22 countries in the Middle East and north Africa. The majority of students come from Egypt, Jordan, Algeria, Saudi Arabia and Morocco." I've seen the platform called Raaq, Edraaq, Raak, and Rawaq.
I'll skip past the details of the survey of 300 Malaysian students (at least they're not from a small midwestern university) and get to the factors identified by the authors (all quoted, but paraphrased):
This all feels a bit made-up, honestly, because these attributes and factors read more like platitudes than real findings. You can read the web version (in Flash - ugh) here.
Good article on a topic we don't discuss a lot. The idea of a learning audit is to determine the current state of affairs of learning in a company or institution, such as McDonalds (the case used in this article). There's no secret to conducting a learning audit, but there are choices to make - for example, whether to conduct it internally or hire an outside consultant. You look at people's attitudes ("What are people thinking? Are they thinking that the training’s accessible? That it’s easy to find? Do they like the content? Are they using the content?") an you look at the job profiles. And you have to assess the learning itself. "You forget to do things like encouraging learners to reflect, to think about how it’s relevant, to give them decision-making practice, to give them repetitions in learning.”
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