Tag Archives: open learning

Digital Badges

Initial sketch for structure of Digital Badges

Initial sketch for structure of Digital Badges

I’m currently working on an open content course – the learner proposes the learning activities, the evidence they will gather and how they will demonstrate that they have met the agreed learning outcomes. It is pretty interesting stuff and opens up huge opportunities for experimenting on learning and education. To help in keeping students on track in the course, we are looking at developing a couple of sets of process-based digital badges and this is an early sketch of the possible structure of the badges.

Open innovators

There’s an interesting series of blogs from Nesta and 100%Open on a joint project on supporting open innovation in charities which can be found here. The main common points emerging for charities to further develop, although these could be applicable for any organisation, are:

Breaking down internal siloes

Focusing innovation investment on core business concerns such as increasing giving

Taking well managed risks and not being afraid to be seen to ‘fail’

Developing a culture that embraces testing of ‘imperfect’ ideas as a way of developing ones that will work 

Again, the emphasis is placed on organisational learning through testing, iteration and “failing fast”.

Opening Scotland – funding, if

See on Scoop.itNetwork learning

1. I get ‘open’, I really do…but why should I share anything when the enemy down the road gives fuck all? 2. I would, but that would mean asking other members of staff for their packs,… and the…


Peter Evans‘s insight:

An interesting post on the challenges of implementing openness in education in terms of the networks and discourses mobilised as barriers to ‘spontaneous sharing’. The post is focused on open learning resources rather than open scholarship including research. A radical and spontaneous openness may generate a radical reform of education, a ‘de-schooling’ of tertiary ‘education’. But the implications for existing institutions are not really addressed. If resources are open and available, are tertiary education institutions really the best places and spaces to use these resources? Could a plethora of alternative learning providers and alternative delivery models emerge (no bad thing) and if so, what might the purpose of educational institutions be in such an ecosystem?

See on postmodeblog.wordpress.com

Badge that learning

An informative presentation from Doug Belshaw on Open Badges:

I find the approach of badging to be very interesting – another lighter form of credit accumulation – but will be interested to see how effective they’ll be seen to be beyond accrediting skills and extending to vague and wicked problems (nonroutine interactive skills? see slide 28)?
But in terms of skills and the demonstration of actual competence (competence as having done rather than competence as having the potential, possibly, to do …), I think the open badges approach is a really good one (would have been really great when I was working in community media).

Social network: knowledge and learning at work

Here are my slides from a workshop held for the University Forum for Human Resource Development (UHRD)

My talk was followed by Amy Woodgate talking about the University of Edinburgh‘s experience with MOOCs. There is a detailed report on the University’s first round of MOOCs available here. What surprised me, was the extent of the treatment of MOOCs as Open Education Resources  and the positive way the University was supporting other universities in using MOOC content for their own degree programme, other organisations in using MOOC resources for workplace learning and even schools using the MOOCs for classroom teaching. All in all, an inspiring talk and discussion.

Designing culture

An interesting summary post here from Emergent by Design on organisational culture and learning for adaptive capacity giving a summary of The Culture Game book.

I would particularly pick out the following

Treating various tasks and interactions as experiments has been a way to give myself permission to ‘fail.’ When that’s followed by an honest retrospective and an openness to learning from the experience, habits seem to change quickly.

  • announce your intent taken as making a call for help or the need for support
  • conduct frequent experiments alongside developing a iterative and adaptive approach to work:

Frequent experimentation means frequent learning.

  • manage visually

One wall of my office is graced with whiteboard paint, another is covered in corkboards that have my personal kanban daily workflow, weekly and monthly goals, book chapter themes I’m fleshing out, storyboards for video projects, and various photos that inspire me. Keeping up with these boards gives me a tremendous sense of location in the larger narrative of my life, and a sense of control and progress.

  • open the space and be playful as work should be open, flexible and fun!

I’m frequently amazed at how little people think about organisational culture as linked to organisational success – you’ve got to remember that culture eats strategy for breakfast

Visualising open education

An interesting post on open education from Amber Thomas that explicitly acknowledges two key aspects: the tensions within [open is not necessarily “good” in the eyes of all] and the economics of [provision costs]. The concluding image emphasising the porous boundaries of both learning institutions and the learners’ concept of learning and how that opens spaces for new providers and, perhaps, demands new business models is an interesting starting point for discussion. What may be key to how this nascent model evolves will be the attitude of learners and whether their demand is for learning or validation – which I’ve discussed a bit previously. Although potential changes in the graduate jobs market *may* lead to a greater focus on learning over certification which would (a) be a good thing in itself and (b) potentially shake up the educational institutions in a fairly fundamental way

Next Generation University?

Came across an interesting post here on profound changes to higher education. To quote:

New alternative paths towards higher education are opening up every month. The growth of open educational resources mean that the content for a course is freely available and does not need to be developed by the university or school. Collaborative learning means that students learn in groups and through their own personal learning networks. The missing ingredients in the mix are the teacher’s role of facilitator/guide/mentor and role of examiner. Those elements do not necessarily have to be provided by the same institution and thus courses can be offered free of charge and based around a flexible and personalized infrastructure. Students of the future will be able to follow personalized learning paths following courses provided by a variety of providers, sometimes completely net-based, sometimes work-based and sometimes more traditional campus-based courses. In the end the student’s e-portfolio can be presented to a university or accreditation institute for assessment and a degree can be awarded.

Its an interesting and, in many ways, attractive proposition especially at postgraduate, post experience levels where the learner is seeking the recognition of prior learning (RPL) or new knowledge and skills related to their interests, hobbies and professional development. But for qualifications as a route in to the labour market the status of such a degree as is being described to employers (or recruitment consultants) will remain a major barrier. I think it is safe to say that qualifications based on RPL are less valued than more traditional qualifications by employers and, to an extent, by the learners themselves. This barrier is reinforced by a number of factors such as academic self interest in preserving the status of the institution as well as the diversity fo motives for students attending higher education in the first place. While learning will feature in these motives, so does gaining a valued product (qualification) to access ‘better’ jobs alongside basic things like leaving home in a ‘safe’ environment, meeting new people and developing new networks of strong and weak ties – I’ve discussed this previously in the context of institutional virtual learning environments and branding.

These will remain significant barriers to Open Education – its not all about the actual (formal/ subject) learning folks!

More monkeys with typewriters

I completed Jemima Gibbon‘s book Monkeys with Typewriters just before Christmas. As I mentioned in my comments on the first chapter here, I enjoyed the span of sources drawn on such as Arie de Geus and his book, The Living Company to de Moivre on distribution curves to Charles Darwin. As such, I found the “novelistic approach” of the book a powerful way of making-sense at different levels of social media at work and so is a useful companion to Andrew McAfee‘s book on Enterprise 2.0. What also comes through very strongly through the six chapters is the diversity and warmth of relations between people facilitated by but not limited to social software. Technology may enable and extend relationships but does not replace more traditional notions of friendships, acquaintances and collegiality – the limitations of an fb ‘friend’ are well understood.
The chapter titles: ‘co-creation’; ‘learning’; ‘openess’; ‘passion’; ‘listening’ and ‘generosity’ reflect the importance of attitude and ethos in really gaining the benefits of social media and, to some extend, the culture of the organisations that understand the potential in the medium. The Tuttle Club is an obvious hero here – and team Tuttle pointing the way to how alternative organsiation forms are more feasible on the back of social media.
A good and timely book.

riding the Google Wave

… well technically more like watching someone else ride the Wave. Anyway, a very clear and helpful post on Google Wave from Dion Hinchcliffe here. The potential of Wave in terms as [tacit/ social] knowledge ‘management’, collaboration and learning is immense [or will be a big disappointment – assuming, of course, that organisations have the leadership and vision to embrace that potential.

What this post and others on Wave really bring home to me is the extent we in higher education are or are not preparing future talent to live, work and change things in this sort of environment. I feel, but would be delighted to be wrong, that too many Programmes are no where near understanding the implications of all this. Understandably to a degree – if learning is social, networked, experiential and collaborative, then what is the point of a “lecturer”?