I work in 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.


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Practical User Research: Creating a Culture of Learning in Large Organizations


What I like about this article is that it merges the idea of learning and research. It's set in a corporate environment, but the commentary could apply to anyone. The idea here is that companies need to be constantly learning about customer needs and how to provide for them, but it's a challenge to build this need into a learning cultujre. The bulk of the post addresses how to do that. But my takeaway is that when the information environment is rapidly changing, as it is today, the structure and methods of learning and reserach are essentially the same. You can't, for example, merely provide a series of already-solved problems when the problems are still new and unsolved. You have to give people tools and methods to approach these problems anew. Learning isn't about 'knowing the solutions', it's about 'how to find solutions'. Image: Management Primciples.

Today: 158 Total: 158 Sam Moore, A List Apart, 2017/07/27 [Direct Link]

How And Why To Keep A “Commonplace Book”


According to Ryan Holiday, "A commonplace book is a central resource or depository for ideas, quotes, anecdotes, observations and information you come across during your life and didactic pursuits. The purpose of the book is to record and organize these gems for later use in your life, in your business, in your writing, speaking or whatever it is that you do." I prefer a more digital approach to what is offered here, but it's a good structure for learning. Sharing your contributions makes it even better!

Today: 148 Total: 148 Ryan Holiday, Thought Catalog, 2017/07/27 [Direct Link]

We Need More, Not Fewer, Collaborations With Tech Companies


The reasoning here is that since resources for research are so limited, it makes sense for academia to partner with business, and if there are problems with the relationship (as there most certainly are) then the focus should be on making it work better, not on ending it. "We can’t blame scholars, particularly early in their careers, for seeking out the best resources and access to this data to do their work. The question shouldn’t be how to avoid working with tech companies; the question should be how best to ensure that collaborations between tech and social research." Other countries, however (those Umair Haque would say have public goods) would ensure there is public financing and support for research in the public interest, not merely for private gain.

Today: 125 Total: 125 Mary L. Gray, Chronicle of Higher Education, 2017/07/27 [Direct Link]

A multi-disciplinary perspective on emergent and future innovations in peer review 


This is a detailed and well-thought-out contribution to the future of peer review. It is definitely needed. "If the current system of peer review were to undergo peer review, it would undoubtedly achieve a “revise and resubmit” decision," write the authors. Existing publishing platforms "were designed to attract a huge following, not to ensure the ethics and reliability of effective peer review." Something new is needed. The authors propose a system where "peer review becomes an inherently social and community-led activity, decoupled from a traditional journal-based system, and instead becomes part of the commons." 

Today: 140 Total: 140 Jonathan P. Tennant, et.al., F1000 Research, 2017/07/27 [Direct Link]

The End of the American Experiment


Patrick Watson gave us the same message some three decades ago: democracy requires prosperity - universal prosperity - in order to survive. Umair Haque expresses this using the term 'moral universals': "Moral universals are simply things that people believe everyone should have," he writes. And this, he argues, is what separates the United States from the democracies of the world. "Moral universals anchor a society in a genuinely shared prosperity. Not just because they “spread the wealth”, though they do: because, more deeply, moral universals civilize people... in America today, there are no broad, genuine, or accessible civilizing mechanisms left... the natural consequence of failing to civilize is breaking down as a democracy — democracy no longer exists in the sense of “people cooperating by voting to give each other greater prosperity”. They have merely learned to take prosperity away from one another." See also: Rolling Stone on Justin Trudeau.

Today: 120 Total: 279 Umair Haque, Medium, 2017/07/26 [Direct Link]

The Algorithm That Makes Preschoolers Obsessed With YouTube


You might read this article on the level it's presented: an expanation of the popularity of YouTube Kids in the fact that it allows kids to make choices. Or you might read it a bit more deeply and see how the selection algorithm is actually shaping the nature of the videos that made available for seecton. Or even more deeply and see how advertisers already understand this very well and are using YouTube Kids to pump marketing content straight into their subconscious by having them select their advertisements over and over and over (This video of a person pressing sparkly Play-Doh onto chintzy Disney princess figurines has been viewed 550 million times).

Today: 118 Total: 264 Adrienne LaFrance, The Atlantic, 2017/07/26 [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.