by Stephen Downes
Dec 22, 2015
Trust and the On-Demand Economy
I know that the dominant story today is if "the shift of value from suppliers to consumers." We have seen the digitization of content, then the creation of consumer-generated content, then finally on-demand services like Uber and AirBnB, where consumer provide each other with everything from cars to houses. According to Irving Wladawsky-Berger this shift is made possible by trust. It will reach the education market if we can establish a similar mechanism whereby learning providers can be trusted to provide real learning, not hollow credentials. That day is coming. But it will take more than trust to sustain all of these industries. We need to find a way to exchange value directly for value, because the existing system - money - has become inefficient and corrupt (see below). This, also, will come in time. It has to.
Promoting and assessing value creation in communities and networks: a conceptual framework
Etienne Wenger, Beverly Trayner, Maarten de Laat,
Ruud de Moor Centrum,
This is pre-reading for the next post. Wenger, Trayner and De Laat provide "a conceptual foundation for promoting and assessing value creation in communities and networks." (60 page PDF) By this they mean "the value of the learning enabled by community involvement and networking." They distinguish between networks (the set of relations among individuals) and communities (what I would have called 'groups') (the set of shared values and objectives). They define a set of 'cycles of value' - immediate practical value, potential value (knowledge capital), applied value (changes in practice), etc. They then define levels of indicators for each cycle of value. Taking a set of these together results in the creation of a 'value-creation story'. This gives us a picture of evidence of value (which to a certain degree resembles Kirkpatrick's). It's smart, thorough and directly applicable to the building of business cases for social networking applications.
Examining value creation in a community of learning practice: Methodological reflections on story-telling and story-reading
Filitsa Dingyloudi, Jan-Willem Strijbos,
This paper documents an effort to measure value using Wenger, Trayner and De Laat's framework (60 page PDF). It's not straightforward, as the expectations of the investigators can play a significant role. "To what extent does a theoretically-driven pre-defined typology of values confine or enrich the range of possible values that can be identified?" ask the authors. They add a pre-cycle of "expected value" to the set of cycles. They differentiate between types of values (personal, social, skill-related, etc) for each of the cycles. And they "invited the participants to write their own value creation stories after their participation in the community events" using a scaffold designed for this purpose. What they found was a veritable Pandora's Box of factors that obscure the view of values. "The seemingly simple action of analyzing values experienced by participants in a community is instead a highly complex process that may lead to an endless complication of unravelling the 'real'". More: see additional items from the current issue of Seminar.net.
No, the Best Science Students Aren’t Becoming Financiers
Harvard Business Review,
Money. It's at the heart of so many endeavours. It grabs the attentions of many top graduates (though if this article is to be believed, not the very top graduates). It's also a system in jeopardy. This visualization of all the world's money has been making the rounds this week. What you should notice is this: there's $80 trillion dollars in the world, and there's $199 trillion of debt in the world. That's not as serious as it might appear (you can borrow money in order to loan it to someone else, which is what banks do). But there's between $630 trillion and $1.2 quadrillion in the global derivatives market. That's where all those graduates going into finance are working. It's a giant vacuum cleaner sucking the wealth and productivity of society and turning it into a gigantic gambling racket. It's more money than can possibly be spent. At some point in the future (could be tomorrow, could be a decade from now) it will implode; all that money will flood back into society and the effective purchasing power of money will be almost zero.
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