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.

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4

CIBC CEO Victor Dodig says colleges and universities need to make more innovative grads


Let's take it as a given that "Canada... lags its international peers in training graduates in areas geared for boosting innovation. Those fields include science, engineering and mathematics" and that "Canada has likely missed out on billions of dollars because its innovation economy has shown zero growth for three decades." How do you fix this? Not simply by educating people in science, engineering and mathematics, because basic research does not by itself drive innovation. And these graduates will mostly get jobs with US-based multinationals, and if they do any real development, it will be through their US or European offices. And you can't drive innovation by directing funds toward 'Canadian' companies for 'research', because as we saw over the last ten years, they'll take the money and still not invest in research.

The best made-in-Canada (and stay-in-Canada) innovation is based on spinoffs from funded academic research that is supplemented with business innovation support and services. Instead of simply taking the R&D and giving it to a well-connected company, it is better to help the people who developed it bring it to market. The problem is, the people who really benefit from that are the people who created the innovation, and the people who are employed by them, and not the well-connected incumbent business and political interests. So it's an uphill battle getting the funding and support in place. 

Today: 207 Total: 207 Canadian Press, CBC News, 2015/11/26 [Direct Link]

How Freelance Clients Find Me


Some useful and so far as I can tell accurate advice to help people find clients as freelance instructional designers. One element you need is a portfolio - "Prospective clients need to see what kind of work you can do." Networking is another essential, but you have to do it right. Christy Ticker writes, "I’ve found it helpful to approach networking with a focus on how I can give to other people, rather than what I can get." Social networks are good places to connect with clients. Tucker writes, "You can demonstrate your expertise. I once got a major project as a result of a question I answered in a LinkedIn group. "

Today: 171 Total: 171 Christy Tucker, Experiencing E-Learning, 2015/11/26 [Direct Link]

Understanding knowledge network, learning and connectivism


This is a terrific paper that describes and explains connectivism as a learning theory. What I really like is that it demonstrates a deep understanding of connectivism, and recognizes that connectivism thinks of knowledge differently from previous theories. It spends a lot of time on this. "In Connectivism, the structure of the knowledge is described as a network. The network is a set of nodes connected to each other. These relationships/connections may not be seen as a singular link between two nodes. Instead, they are more like patterns: groups of relationships that come together as a single whole. The network is not static; it is dynamic and those patterns may change over time. Learning, according to Connectivism, is a continuous process of network exploration and patterns finding; it is a process of patterns’ recognition." So good. So well stated and correct at a deep level. The whole paper is like this. Don't miss it. (p.s. Page 17, should be "fuzzy logic" not "fussy logic" though I love the new terminology!)

Today: 1238 Total: 1238 Alaa A. AlDahdouh, António J. Osório, Susana Caires, International Journal of Instructional Technology, Distance Learning, 2015/11/25 [Direct Link]

Why Are We Not Boycotting Academia.edu?


This is an event announcement asking a very good question (which is why I am running it). My papers are also listed on Academia.edu (and also on ResearchGate, which is the same sort of model) but I find it very difficult to access other people's papers even when they're uploaded - the site demands that I be logged in before allowing me to download. That's not how open access works. So I don't actively contribute (they harvest my papers from other sources, including NRC's NPARC repository). I don't mind that it depends on free contributions from academics - most of the internet depends on that, why should this site be any different? I do mind that it restricts access to these contributions, and acts like it owns the papers.  (Please not that I do not run event announcements in OLDaily; this is an exception.)

Today: 290 Total: 290 Janneke Adema, The Centre for Disruptive Media, EventBrite, 2015/11/25 [Direct Link]

Education 2030


It has taken a couple of weeks to get to this item, for which I apologize, but UNESCO has released the 'Incheon Declaration' and framework for action toward inclusive and equitable education and lifelong learning for all (yes, all of that is in the title). 52 page PDF. "We reaffirm," write the authors, "that education is a public good, a fundamental human right and a basis for guaranteeing the realization of other rights. It is essential for peace, tolerance, human fulfilment and sustainable development." It's a comprehensive plan, includes language for inclusion, quality, contributions from civil society, open learning resources, the role of government, funding, and more. I'm basically in agreement with its recommendations (though not so sanguine as the authors about the role of the private sector). See also the Open Education Consortium's blog post which also supports the declaration. Image: Kenya Delegation.

Today: 280 Total: 846 Various authors, UNESCO, 2015/11/25 [Direct Link]

Foundations for OER Strategy Development


I participated in a couple of the conferences where this document was discussed and thoroughly harangued the drafting committee through several online versions, and while they've blended seamlessly with the rest of the document I can see the evidence that the perspectives I advanced were listened to and respected. This makes me happy. Not just because I like to be listened to and respected (though I do, who doesn't?) but because it resulted in a stronger and much more inclusive document. And because it is so inclusive, and respectful of diverse perspectives and approaches to open educational resources, while at the same time underlining the value the community as a whole sees in OERs, I think it's a particularly strong work, and one I have no difficulty endorsing. Image: Pierre-Yves Cavellat via Wordnik.

Today: 266 Total: 722 Nicole Allen, Delia Browne, Mary Lou Forward, Cable Green, Alek Tarkowski, 2015/11/25 [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.