Stephen Downes works with the Digital Technologies Research Centre at the National Research Council of Canada specializing in new instructional media and personal learning technology. He is one of the originators of the first Massive Open Online Course, has published frequently about online and networked learning, has authored learning management and content syndication software, and is the author of the widely read e-learning newsletter OLDaily. Through a thirty year career Downes has contributed pioneering work in the fields of online learning games, learning objects and metadata, podcasting, open educational resources. Today he is developing gRSShopper, a personal learning environment, offering a course on new e-learning technologies, and supporting research and development in the use of distributed ledger technology in learning applications. He is a popular keynote speaker and has spoken in three dozen countries on six continents.


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General capabilities: A perspective from cognitive science


This article (10 page PDF) represents a bit of a retreat from the traditional position that "capabilities cannot be considered general or transferable across knowledge domains" and addresses the need to teach some 'capabilities' (though, of course, always within the context of some domain of 'content knowledge'). But citing Barry McGraw, the authors observe "capabilities such as the capacity to work with others, and meta skills such as metacognition, or learning how to learn, may be thought of as domain-independent competencies that can be developed in any learning area of the curriculum and applied to any other learning area." Even given this limited retreat, I still think the core argument from cognitive science is fundamentally mistaken, and that statements like "the only difference between the expert players and the novice players was their knowledge of chess" are fundamentally wrong. Via Steve Zanon.

Today: 225 Total: 302 Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation, NSW Department of Education, 2019/07/15 [Direct Link]

Learning Technology Evolves: Integrated Platforms Are Arriving


Josh Bersin discusses the evolution of the Learning Experience Platform (LXP) out of the LMS and the increasing range and complexity of learning support tools these platforms need to integrate in today's environment. "Tools for VR, embedded micro-learning, intelligent search, mobile content development, and many forms of assessment and video authoring are everywhere. In fact, we are in one of the most exciting cycles of innovation on all levels of the 'learning stack,'" he writes."Most customers tell me they’ve spent a lot of money on their LMS and they’re trying to buy easier to use tools around it, so this is likely to be where the market will go.

Today: 207 Total: 290 Josh Bersin, 2019/07/15 [Direct Link]

Four Recommendations To Support Evidence-Informed L&D


This article lurks in that dark corner where education and pedagogy mix with politics and policy. It starts with the obvious presumption that decisions in education ought to be made according to the evidence, but elides the questions of which evidence? and whose evidence? and what counts as evidence? The resulting treatment is not very sound. For example, in the first paragraph it tells us that "for physicians, evidence-based medicine is the norm," but just a few sentences later it asserts, "around half of current diagnosis and treatment is not (yet) evidence-based." In fact, as the footnotes note, "the debate about evidence medicine is lively." Hardly the norm. The real message of this post seems to be the use of 'evidence' to support rationing. "Evidence-based research is also used by doctors to develop a better do-not-do list," writes the author, noting that "university medical centers in the Netherlands are working together to build this list of 1,300 pointless medical procedures for the time being."

Today: 158 Total: 265 Jos Arets, eLearning Industry, 2019/07/15 [Direct Link]

How the biggest decentralized social network is dealing with its Nazi problem


If a Nazi wants to use my software - or to use HTML, or to use RSS, or to use ActivityPub, or to use English - there's no real way to stop them. That's the core of the dilemma faced by the developers of Mastodon, the open source social networking application. But what they can do - and what they have done - is to block Nazis using the application from communicating with their own instances, including, which is the instance I use. Beyond that, it's up to internet service providers, who allow Nazis to use their servers, or better yet, it's up to government, to finally criminalize Nazi hate - or to at least treat it as seriously as it treats copyright violations.

Today: 146 Total: 292 Adi Robertson, The Verge, 2019/07/15 [Direct Link]

No Need to Ask: Creating Permissionless Blockchains of Metadata Records


This article (17 page PDF) works really well on several levels. First, it will reward a careful reading with a really good overview of blockchain technology, one that is technologically detailed, but reasonably accessible. Second, it identifies some of the issues around an educationally-relevant application area, the creation and maintenance of bibliographic records. And third, it presents a solution to some longstanding issues in digital metadata: centralization and a lack of traceability.

Today: 43 Total: 745 Dejah Rubel, Information Technology and Libraries, 2019/07/12 [Direct Link]

What are the drivers and innovations shaping tomorrow’s higher education landscape?

The four over-riding trends, as identiifed by Holon's Maria Spies:

  • collapsing learning-work boundaries
  • new ways of engaging with a global cohort of learners
  • microcredentials, nano-degrees, digital badges and a revival of competency-based education.
  • technology-led personalized education

Now while I think that these four storylines capture the bulk of what we're reading in the education business press, I don't think that any of them is particularly relevant as a predictor, and the latter three might actually be active forms of misdirection.


Today: 39 Total: 515 Maria Spies, FutureLearn, 2019/07/12 [Direct Link]

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