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December 10, 2001

The Human Element: Knowledge Management's Secret Ingredient Addresses three 'misconceptions' about knowledge management (which actually aren't really very widely held, but form a good basis for the discussion) and three 'humanizing' techniques to address them. The underlying message is that good content is as important as good technology, and that experts in the organization are the best source for good content. While I could quibble with some of the finer points (the 20 percent rule seems arbitrary to me, for example), I would rather take this space to recommend the article as a whole. By VisionCor, Learning Circuits, December, 2001.[Refer]

Can LMSs Survive the Sophisticated Buyer? In my various seminars and talks I've been making snarky remarks about learning management systems (LMSs). This sort of thinking is becoming more mainstream as some of the common shortcomings of LMSs are becoming clear. The list of five major criticisms, to me, centers around this theme (expressed in criticism number two): "LMS implementations are empty highways." They are oriented toward courses, but there are few courses (anything like a true course marketplace being off in the distant future), and moreover, "LMSs fail to track a surprisingly large number of self-paced formal learning options, including books, magazines, conferences, meetings and speeches, mentoring and apprenticeship programs, and such group projects as designing a new product or helping a company develop a new marketing plan." By Clark Aldrich, Learning Circuits, November, 2001.[Refer]

Scrollable Screens For those people who defend the book because it's so much more convenient than the computer... don't compare the book to today's clunky desktop, compare the book to this bendable screens that can be rolled up and stuffed in your back pocket. By Paul Eng, ABC News, December 7, 2001.[Refer]

Year in Review: Who will Thrive and Prosper in the Pivotal Year Ahead? Farhad Saba weighs in with a short but acute look at the trends that shaped 2001 in e-learning. After noting the consolidation now sweeping through the field, Saba notes that practitioners have two choices: "1- To adopt a model of distance education and eLearning, which is as close as possible to face-to-face instruction, or 2- To unleash the real power of distance education and eLearning." Yup, the same seems true from this part of the world too. By Farhad Saba, DistanceEducator.Com, December 10, 2001.[Refer]

E-text Finds Its Way on Campus Throwaway article looking at the University of Phoenix's adoption of electronic learning materials instead of textbooks. May as well be a press release, but disguised as a news article. Doesn't raise any of the issues involved, such as the concern about cost (should online learning materials really cost $70?) and proprietary formats. Have a look, though, because this is the public face of the campaign to push expensive content into the hands of a captive student audience. By Marsha Low, Detroit Free Press, December 5, 2001.[Refer]

Internet Tools for Facilitating Inquiry How might we realize the potential of the internet to improve learning? Well, take inquiry based learning, for example. As this article suggests, most science classes do not have the resources on hand to do a lot of inquiry based learning. That could change with the help of the net. This article gives a good definition and background about inquiry based learning and steps through a number of exemplar inquiry based learning sites (links are provided). The author concludes that two types of internet resource are especially suited to this task: those that provide online simulations, and those that provide real-time access to large data sets. By Christopher J. Moore and Richard Huber, Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, Volume 1, Issue 4, 2001.[Refer]

On Truth
This short article iterates my approach to the question of truth and objectivity. By Stephen Downes


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