by Stephen Downes
Jul 28, 2014
Ed tech promoters need to understand how most of us learn
Annie Murphy Paul,
The Hechinger Report,
Jul 28, 2014
This article dredges up the straw men arguments offered by Paul Kirschner et.al. against self-directed learning: people don't know enough about the subject to make good choices, people choose to learn what they like rather than what they need, and the making of choices interferes with learning. The counter to Kirschner is that some people do learn on their own, but not everyone, posits the author, is an autodidactic; she even suggests that the skill is innate. But is it? Is learning on our own really so difficult? Is it reserved only for certain special people? No, to both questions. The author writes, "the psychology of motivation and interest suggests that self-directed learners are not only born, but can be made." Take a bunch of people who don't care what they're learning, as Kirschner does, and they won't learn unless you pretty much force them to. But when people are pursuing their own interests, they'll find help, they'll try again and again, and they'll figure it out. That's not unusual or innate: that's true of every person.
The Talent Management Systems Market Surges Ahead
Bersin by Deloitte,
Jul 28, 2014
The flip side of learning management in the corporate world is talent management. These systems are every bit as involved with learning as the systems used in colleges and universities. But they go beyond learning, incorporating things like performance management, succession management, and other business-related functions. The market is very fragmented; while companies like SAP and Oracle play a leading role, they have less than a 25 percent share between them. Companies like Ceridian and SumTotal occupy the second tier. But technology is moving so quickly nobody stays on top for long.
Confound it! Correlation is (usually) not causation! But why not?
Jul 27, 2014
When somebody proposes a simple mechanism to improve (say) learning outcomes, they're most always wrong. But why? It's because they have ascribed a simple cause-effect relation onto a complex phenomenon. But why should complexity impact causation? Complex phenomena are densely connected networks where correlations are increasingly likely to be the result of underlying conditions rather than the result of one thing causing another. This article makes the point, with mathematics, and a good example drawn from the literature on cancer research.
Municipal nets, municipal electric power, and learning from history
Joho the Blog,
Jul 26, 2014
David Weinberger writes, "The debate over whether municipalities should be allowed to provide Internet access has been heating up. Twenty states ban it. Tom Wheeler, the chair of the FCC, has said he wants to “preempt” those laws. Congress is maneuvering to extend the ban nationwide." This is not just a U.S. issue because similar pressures exist worldwide. There`s a good list of four lessons from the deployment of electricity: private firms won't provide universal service (or even close to it); unregulated growth leads to the emergence of huge monopolies; these monopolists will use their wealth to influence policy; and the best way to keep process low and service high is to ensure competition from the public sector. All these are also true of learning and learning resources.
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