“The University of California at Davis is creating what may be higher education’s most promising digital badge system. But the badges are no threat to the university’s degrees. They’re add-ons – perhaps valuable ones for students.”
Self-directed learning was used to describe how adults learn for many years (it was part of Malcolm Knowles’ definition of andragogy.) With access to everything, everywhere – and people of any age being able to easily pursue interests – it is used with broader strokes. “Self-directed learning is a necessary component of education and yet there is little emphasis on this in both public and private schools. Here and there one will hear about a pilot program that addresses the power of autodidactic learning but it is infrequently assimilated as a pedagogical alternative to traditional education. Our teachers are stuck within the confines of a system that no longer serves our children.”
Great tips from Chronicle. “Tweeting at conferences is a great way to share what you’re learning in a session with your followers and the wider world. It’s also a great way to be in two places at once, as you can read tweets from other sessions that you weren’t able to attend. You can read those tweets as they come in or—if you’d rather not fracture your attention—read them after the fact using a Twitter search.”
Thanks to Stephanie Sandifer!
I’ve always loved the Google 20% time for innovation. “Many of the successful organizations that we see around us today attribute their success to employees who are empowered to learn and innovate at great speeds. These are organizations that have buried their outlook about traditional styles of learning and development (L&D) and embraced new strategies or models. They have realized that, with the traditional approach, it is impossible to achieve a high growth or efficiency because the way people learn has undergone a disruptive transformation…from formal ‘structured’ learning’ to informal ‘social learning’.”
From Gamco – According to Charles Handy, success belongs to those who learn to embrace complexity by reconciling the contradictions of this world. Gabe Zichermann gives an example of these contradictions with gamification: If you want to design a great educational game, focusing on making it educational as the main priority will make your game fail.
Fantastic lesson plans and experiential learning opportunities come from an extraordinary walk across the world. Article written by my friend Homa Tavangar (on Edutopia’s Blog) who is the educational advisor for the initiative. “You are invited to accompany the Out of Eden Walk, as two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and National Geographic Fellow Paul Salopek takes a seven-year, 21,000-mile trek across the planet. The journey is showcased as National Geographic magazine’s cover story by Salopek and is the first cover story available free for nonsubscribers. His epic walk began in January 2013 in East Africa’s Rift Valley, the region that paleoanthropologists consider to be the human race’s “Eden.” He will head north into the Levant; across the steppes of Central Asia to China; by sea from Siberia to Alaska; and then down the length of the Americas to the continental “Land’s End” of our species in Patagonia.” The route looks like this:
Though there has been a good deal of research done on informal learning in the workplace, I haven’t seen an attempt to put structure around it (that’s why it’s called informal, right?) But perhaps informal can still have parameters and structure, and it would be interesting to see how they fit with the literature. This blog post is from the E-Learning Curve Blog, and covers initiatives such as Lunch & Learns, ‘Brown Bag’ , and Information Sessions.” It goes on to say they are a great way for organizations to enable staff to find out about (current and proposed) procedures, standards, and best industry practice implemented in any project they are might be involved in. Both the initiative as a whole and the individual events themselves adhere to a comprehensive project plan. There are three phases in the project lifecycle, and each discrete Information Session event is a ‘micro-project’ that broadly adheres to project parameters of the project-at-large (see Table 1).
I might say that Lunch and Learns or brown bag/information sessions are not truly informal learning – but they definitely are less formal than other types of workplace curriculum, so they become something in between that can be planned with overarching goals and defined learning outcomes.
Sophie Quinton from the Atlantic shares what she anticipates will be the 5 top Higher Ed Trends for 2014, and I agree with them in an overarching way. CBE (Competency Based Education) and PLA (Prior Learning Assessment,) CTE (Career and Technical Education,) Student-Loan Outrage, Data Privacy Concerns, and Teacher Effectiveness. “A number of education trends made their mark in 2013, from massive open online courses to evaluating colleges based on their graduation rates. The underlying forces that drove change this year aren\’t likely to change anytime soon: declining public funding, changing demographics, advancing technology, and a tough job market.”
MIT Tech Review offers a synopsis of current MOOC studies – completion, etc. They cite a Princeton study that says “participation falls precipitously and continuously throughout a course and that almost half of registered students never post more than twice to the forums. What’s more, the participation of a teacher doesn’t improve matters. Indeed, they say there is some evidence that a teacher’s participation in an online discussion actually increases the rate of decline.” There is an art – and best practices – to facilitating discussion boards and I do wonder if these teachers/instructors are ever given that insight before diving in.