By Stephen Downes
March 21, 2005
Pedagogy-Agnostic Standards and a Much Needed
I've said before that I like David Wiley's writing better when he's on a rant, and this weekend's submission only reinforces that. IMS Learning Design, writes Wiley, "not only pedagogically-neutral, it is pedagogically agnostic – capable of modeling in machine interpretable format the wide range of human activities." So is this good or bad? Well - why would we automate human activities? "In asking over 2,000 people now if, when they need support, they choose the autoamted system or a real-live human support engineer, guess how many hands I have seen go up for the autoamted system?" And more: "Why would we turn the greatest enabler of social interaction into a simple data download service?" P.S., David also invites previews of the USU Open CourseWare project. By David Wiley, Iterating Toward Openness, March 18th, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]
Is the Semantic Web Hype?
Let's start here: "There are many cognitive costs associated with adding formalized information to a computer system. Foremost, users must learn a system s formal language," from Shipman and Marshall, Formality Considered Harmful. Scott Leslie writes, "dryly academic but still useful." Now let's get to the current item: "In the Semantic Web, someone has to provide a mapping to allow different vocabularies to interoperate." Worse, these mappings are highly formal and arcane; a recipe for disaster. What do we need? "If we can get people to make more data available, we can do some interesting things just by aggregating data from different sources, without even using some the Semantic Web technologies." But it has to be part of an everyday activity - writing, taking pictures, speaking - and not some specialized 'information management' function. Tough, dry reads, but very rewarding. Both links PDF. By Mark H. Butler, HP Labs Bristol, March 7, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]
Podcasting About The Podcasting
A company in the United States has applied to trademark the term Podcast. Were I in charge, this would be called theft. By Martin Schwimmer, The Trademark Blog, March 14, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]
Packaging and Publishing Learning Objects:
Best Practice Guidelines
This popular guide from BECTA is well worth the download of a PDF (though HTML would have made it rather more accessible). Good outline of SCORM and content packaging with intuitive illustrations and descriptions that, where necessary, get right into the code (of especial value, for example, is the SCORM run time environment described in Appendix 4). By Unattributed, BECTA, January, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]
New Paradigms for Learning
How's this for cynicism? "The canned-learning supply chain is easy to manage and control, which is more important than any ultimate impact on business performance." Still, when we observe that "corporate employees, particularly knowledge workers, learn three times more from informal experiences than they do in formal courses," then we need some explanation of the emphasis on formal learning, however cyncial. Via elearnspace. By Godfrey Parkin, Parkin's Lot, March 18, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]
Computers 'Can Harm Learning'
Once again the Woessmann-Fuchs study that I criticized last November is getting media play (they must have hired a publicist), this time because it is being presented at the Royal Economic Society’s annual conference. I wish someone would go down tot he conference and heckle. By Louise Gray, The Scotsman, March 21, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]
ActiveWidgets Grid 1.0
Shifting Mindsets: The Changing Work Roles of
Vocational Education and Training Practitioners
Role expansion, role diversification, changing balance and tension: these are the changes in workplace being experienced by vocational education and praining practitioners as documented in this newly released report. Change, influenced by worldwide trends and reflected in new policy, has been sweeping through the system and has had an impact on how these practitioners do their jobs. And, for the most part, practitioners have welcomed the changes and adapted, though some - such as managers - less readily than others. "The size and complexity of the VET sector demand a rethinking of a 'one size fits all' approach to policy implementation." By Roger Harris, Michele Simons and Berwyn Clayton, Australian National Training Authority, March, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]
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