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.

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European guidelines for validating non-formal and informal learning


This document (64 page PDF) is more of a framework than a final statement on the topic of recognizing individual achievement, but as such it's a great start and will likely become a document of reference in the field. The structure constitutes the areas most people can agree on (for example: the four stages of validation are identification, documentation, assessment and certification) while the questions it leaves open are precisely those that need to be solved at a national or even a domain-specific level (for example: how is the credibility of the authority/awarding body assured?) The section on the centrality of the individual goes a bit further than the rest, and correctly so: "Validation aims at empowering the individual and can serve as a tool for providing second chance opportunities to disadvantaged individuals... The individual should be able to take control of the process and decide at what stage to end it."

Today: 410 Total: 410 Cedefop, 2016/07/22 [Direct Link]

Does Our Social Contract for Education Need a Reboot?


The idea of the social contract was introduced by Thomas Hobbes in the 1600s as a means of justifying the continued rule of the monarchy. Without the stern rule of the monarch, he wrote, we would return to the state of nature where the lives of men were "solitary, poore, nasty, brutish and short." The myth of the social contract persists to this day, and is used for the same purpose. This is important, because when authors of articles like this one reference the unequal access to educational technology, and education, in terms of the social contract, it has to be noted that the prevailing social contract in western democracies is that there will be two-tiers, indeed multi-tier, access to everything. And there is no appeal against the social contract - as Locke said, you have two choices: rebellion, or emigration.

Today: 254 Total: 254 Lindsey Tepe, Pacific Standard, 2016/07/22 [Direct Link]

Share This or My Blog Will Self-Distruct: A mini-lesson on digital citizenship


As you can see, I wasn't willing to see Heather Ross's blog self-destruct. More to the point, I wanted to share her thoughts on digital citizenship, thoughts which go well beyond digital literacy. She cites Mike Ribble’s list of the Nine Themes of Digital Citizenship, a list which includes digital access, digital commerce, digital communication, and more. She ends with "video about the 'filter bubble' that explains why you see a lot of what you as an individual see online." I don't really experience the filter bubble - there are days when I wish I did. But this isn't one of the posts I'd filter.

Today: 312 Total: 866 Heather M. Ross, McToonish, 2016/07/22 [Direct Link]

Adaptive Learners, Not Adaptive Learning

George Siemens gets this right. "This is where adaptive learning fails today: the future of work is about process attributes whereas the focus of adaptive learning is on product skills and low-level memorizable knowledge. I’ll take it a step further: today’s adaptive software robs learners of the development of the key attributes needed for continual learning – metacognitive, goal setting, and self-regulation – because it makes those decisions on behalf of the learner." As I (and no doubt many other people) have been saying, learning is about becoming a certain sort of person, not acquiring a certain body of content. So learning management is not a content selection and delivery problem.

Today: 382 Total: 960 George Siemens, elearnspace, 2016/07/22 [Direct Link]

HundrEd Interview with Stephen Heppell


Stephen Heppell is Professor of New Media Environments at Bournemouth University and has a long and good reputation in the field. "Lots of people spend time talking about 21st century skills," he says. "I don’t think any  of that has changed very much.  In the last century we thought about  20th century skills. I think pace is  the thing that has changed, the speed of change is so great... I think the role of the teacher is to be passionate about learning. If you look around the world, teachers have become more and more driven to just deliver the curriculum, mark the books, organise  the children, to do governance, and some of that passion has been lost."

Today: 181 Total: 743 Andrew Robertson, Microsoft UK Schools Blog, 2016/07/22 [Direct Link]

Moocs can transform education – but not yet


This article runs through some of the standard pronunciations to the effect that the MOOC is not disruptive, throws out some stats attesting to their popularity, and then shifts into a discussion of what can be done to make MOOCs work, for example, by employing them in the flipped classroom model. Most of the article is structured around a conversation with Stanford University president John Hennessy, which I think explains the focus on traditional education models. The middle part of the article focuses on the Stanford model for universities. "If you look at the threat to most universities, it’s that their cost model currently grows faster than their revenue model," Hennessy says. "So now the question is, can you find a way to introduce technology and help reduce your cost growth?" Which brings us back to MOOCs, and Rick Levin, chief executive of Coursera. "Yale professors, instead of teaching a 15-person seminar three or four times a year, can teach 6,000 people in one sitting," he says.

(Note: to disable the sites limit on articles, search for and delete cookies with the string 'timesh' in your browser.)(The broken image accompanying the article is deliberate; I'm not sure why.)

Today: 155 Total: 883 Ellie Bothwell, Chris Havergal, Times Higher Education, 2016/07/21 [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.
Sponsored this month by: Rory McGreal