This week saw the launch of FutureLearn’s first course, The Power of Brands. FutureLearn is the UK’s answer to Coursera, EdX and the like. It is good to finally see the UK coming to the party with MOOCs in a coherent manner, something that has been sorely lacking over the last 12 months. I’d signed up a while ago, so I was keen to get stuck in…
The experience was very straightforward; nicely presented content, mostly video, some text, completely inoffensive in usability terms. Discussion points were occasionally raised but more often than not the comment stream alongside a video was left up to the user to interpret. There’s no voting system on the comments, so it’s easy to imagine that the sheer weight of commentary will become difficult to sift through quickly.
After I marked each piece of content as ‘complete’ I was invited to try the end of week quiz. A few Multiple Choice Questions of very dubious quality (did Don Draper make an advert for VW?) and I got 12/15. I hadn’t actually spent more than a minute on any of the content pages, so the rigour will need to increase as the weeks go by if this is ever to be taken as a vehicle for higher learning.
I’m not sure if anything is going on behind the hood in terms of data or personalization, but it doesn’t look like it so far. What we have here is a nicely presented set of videos, text and multiple-choice questions. It is not revolutionary, save for the fact that they are giving it away for free. I’ve searched for a legitimate reason for a University to do this beyond marketing and CSR, but honestly, I can’t find one. The genius has been in persuading some of the UK’s top institutions that they need to give stuff away for free with no promise of returns.
MOOCs in this form aren’t really MOOCs at all in the traditional sense. This is very much a bastardised way of interpreting the original theory. It couldn’t be more linear for the learner if it tried. I don’t blame them; Connectivist MOOCs (as the theory originators term their own) are an exercise in chaos; connecting folk with a common interest around a core idea and exploring it organically over time. The FutureLearn way of doing things is the antithesis of this idea, an xMOOC. It is linear, highly structured into sequential weeks (which you can’t skip ahead on) and very much the same as the last 15 years of online learning. The discourse is an after-thought. The educators rely on the content to impart learning to passive students. FutureLearn looks like it knows this; if it set out to deliver highly usable and highly accessible learning, it has. If it set out to provide a revolution in online teaching, it has not.
If FutureLearn is not a revolution in pedagogic terms, is it revolutionary in other terms? A key feature of cMOOCs for me is the chance to create a learning experience very quickly, relying on the network as oppose to content to impart learning. But this course has taken FutureLearn a very long time to deliver – nearly a year. Whilst it is easy to see that much of that time was probably taken up with politics, the cost of delivering this sort of learning must be unsustainable. This is a missed opportunity. The future of learning online is not in the creation of perfect content, but in the curation of learning experiences. Much of the content is only a minute or so in length; this is right. My own experiences suggest that the shorter the material, the better. But without a change in the pedagogy, this just leaves us with a series of very short videos. How will the course move beyond the facile?
The UK has made horrific missteps before. As far as I can tell, the key difference now is timing. There was a lack of a sustainable business model then, much as there is now.
In teaching terms, I want to see much more being made of the discussion areas. I want to see peer contributed content alongside Subject Matter Experts. I want to know that data is being collected throughout to help personalize the experience. I want the platform to be xAPI compliant and I want Badges.
Commercially I probably want to pay for all this. I’d much rather create a sustainable, affordable system for the long-term than give it all away because Coursera does. I’m not adverse to companies putting content up in this area. I’d much rather learn programming from Google than any university in the UK. I also want to really see a shift to more practical, even vocational courses.
Of course, I’ve been quick to judge; I’m sure a huge amount of effort has gone in to getting us this far. I like the fact that the platform is highly useable. I like the look of some of the courses coming; MOOCs have a real opportunity to fulfill niches that are hard to reach with other methodologies. I like the fact that some of the course tutors are outstanding individuals. We needed this in the UK, but it’s the first step on a very tall ladder. Go judge for yourself.
In the next couple of weeks we’ll release our beta version of Learning Locker. With this product we’re going to give people an opportunity to take ownership of the data that is created by them when they interact with systems and people. Previously this data has always been locked away in an organisation’s Learning Management System, or is just lost to the ether. That perhaps wasn’t such a big deal when SCORM was the only standard in town; tracking completions and quiz scores wasn’t invading your privacy in a big way.
But two big changes have collided to change all that; xAPI (Tin Can) and the recognition of less formal learning. The amount of data we create about ourselves and our activities is shooting through the roof. Viewed an article? We’ll track that. Made a comment? We’ve got a record. Liked a post? We like that too!
In the age of Snowden and PRISM, this starts to become somewhat alarming. Not having anything to hide is a naïve argument. Taken out of context, data can be used to construe all sorts of arguments and relationships. What’s more, personal data is a very tradable commodity. When Facebook’s value is tied to its marketing revenues, and its marketing revenues are tied to the quality of the data it holds on users, then it’s not really much of a leap to realise that your data is directly equitable to a dollar value. By giving away your personal data you are literally giving away money to other people. If you value the service you get in return then there is no problem. But we shouldn’t kid ourselves into thinking that Facebook and Twitter are free.
Whilst it is important that people start to realise the value of the data they create, it is even more important that people start to take control of their digital footprint. We all need to take steps towards owning our own data instead of entrusting it to other people and for-profit organisations. I’m very far from being the first person to suggest this and various movements exist in propagate this message. But very few of these movements recognise a simple fact; owning your own data is boring. It is dull as ditchwater. Like watching paint dry.
Dave Tosh and I started thinking about the Learning Locker as a way for learners to take ownership of their learning data. This wasn’t so much powered by a fear of big brother, more from the notion that your data is valuable. Sure, you should be able to trust your data to your organization whilst you work for them but they are going to get careless when you leave. Best case scenario it gets deleted. But then, what was all that effort about? As we make increasing amounts of learning data (be it formal or informal in nature), then you should get to own it. This is your permanent record of working life and it is valuable. What’s more, the holy grail of truly personalised work and learning experiences depends on this record being accessible. Systems that you trust should be able to personalise your interactions based on your previous experiences. That’s not possible if the data isn’t yours.
So data ownership isn’t just desirable, it’s a necessary step for the personalisation of learning. That’s why we built Learning Locker. It didn’t take Dave long, a couple of weeks, to pull together a working prototype. And that’s when we realised. Owning your own data is dull. A never-ending stream of mildly interesting anecdotes and out-of-context strings. Sure you can extrapolate some nice stats and quantified-self type info (turns out I read mostly on a Tuesday, who knew?) but even this stuff isn’t interesting beyond the first few minutes. And that’s a real problem, because if owning your data isn’t a compelling and rewarding experience, it’s going to be very hard to persuade people of its necessity.
We’ve spent the last month thinking and iterating on this idea. I’m a big fan of Self-Determination Theory, so I’ve been thinking in terms of Competence, Autonomy and Relatedness. How can we let you use your data to show your improving skill? How can we do this in a framework that is open enough to provide free-choice, but scaffold so that you actually know how to begin. And how can we let you share your data, on your terms, with other people and systems?
This is what Learning Locker has evolved to become. It will be a long journey to make it a part of people’s everyday lives. But we’re really hoping we can take a small step towards making data ownership an intrinsically valuable experience.
Guest blogger: Dave Tosh
A new product that we are currently working on here at HT2, Learning Locker, has several important aspects at its core, one of which is data ownership.
In a nutshell, Learning Locker provides a destination where users can create a personal locker housing their learning data that they can then put to work for them. The data comes from a variety of sources including the web and any learning platform that exports Tin Can statements.
From the official Tin Can site:
“The Tin Can API (sometimes known as the Experience API) is a brand new specification for learning technology that makes it possible to collect data about the wide range of experiences a person has (online and offline).”
How does it work?
The initial prototype is fairly basic. Users create an account and add any email addresses which they wish to be associated with their learning locker account, similar to a Gravatar account. You might have a personal email address, a work email address and an email address you were given for night classes at a local college. Adding these addresses ensures that any TinCan statement sent containing one of your email addresses will end up in your personal locker.
One statement might relate to something read and shared from Gigom on a personal level:
"name": "Dave Tosh",
"en-US": "Coursera makes first foray into K-12 education with online courses for teachers",
"en-GB": "Coursera makes first foray into K-12 education with online courses for teachers"
Another statement could come from work training:
"name": "David Tosh",
"en-US": "The Tyranny of the Next Button",
"en-GB": "The Tyranny of the Next Button"
"en-GB": "Perhaps we don't need to go through the course development process in the same way. Even exceptional instructional designers struggle under the weight of information that we are often asked to convey in a normal piece of Courseware.",
"en-GB": "Perhaps we don't need to go through the course development process in the same way. Even exceptional instructional designers struggle under the weight of information that we are often asked to convey in a normal piece of Courseware."
"bt_text": "Added to my knowledge"
How do I get my data into my personal locker?
There are a few ways to import and save your data.The first is via our bookmarklet, this makes it easy to capture experiences that occur while you are accessing resources on the web. We are also working on a ‘Learn this’ button which will work in a similar fashion to the Facebook ‘Like’ button but with extra metadata built in such as ‘This challenged my thinking’, ‘This helped me understand X’ and so on (you can see an example above under the object extension). The final method is via learning platforms you use in school, at college, at work or online. If they support Tin Can, then, you should be able to get your learning statements out and into your locker. To help support this we are working on plugins for some of the major players such as Moodle.
As you would expect, with a Learning Locker account, all your data is yours and can be exported at any time. Further to this, we are developing an open source version that individuals can host if they prefer.
While a Tin Can statement appears basic at first glance, they can become complex quickly. To handle this, we are using a combination of tech. For our initial service, we parse incoming statements and abstract a couple of key components; actor, verb, object, and where available, context. This high level data allows us to offer the first phase of the learning locker, which is the storage and filtering of learning statements based on the action, source, time and reason.
To provide deeper analysis we store the full JSON object in a NoSQL database, so, over time, we can drill into the data exposing insights that we hope will lead to useful services for learners; helping predict learning paths, highlight areas of strength, topics needing addressed and so on.
We are currently testing an early prototype and will shortly solicit volunteers interested in providing feedback on the service. Stay tuned.
Dave Tosh is passionate about technology, in particular the web, and its potential for creating new learning opportunities for us all. Dave is a pioneer in the social learning space, co-founding Elgg. He is now working with HT2 as the product lead on a new learning service, Learning Locker and continues to experiment on a new goals based learning platform. Follow him on Twitter @davetosh.
This blog first appeared on the ASTD’s Learning Technologies blog, March 2013.
Two weeks ago we launched a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) in association with the University of San Diego (USD). Based on “Sustainability in the Supply Chain,” the six-week course is aimed at managers working in supply chain positions around the world. For those unfamiliar with the MOOC terminology, this sort of course operates at scale and is open to anyone who wishes to join.
Two Types of MOOCs
Broadly speaking there are two types of MOOCs: cMOOCs and xMOOCs. cMOOCs follow a “connectivism” approach, which is based on the work of George Siemens, Stephen Downes, and others working at the forefront of online learning theory. (Siemens and Downes host http://mooc.ca as a place to host MOOC news and information.)
cMOOCs are something of an experiment in chaos; their mantra is to gather a wide range of people together to discuss and discover a subject that interests them and enables them learn in anyway they see fit. This style of course is open—not because of cost (or lack thereof), but because of the manner in which participants learn.
cMOOCs encourage the use of any platform, any content, and any connection a learner wishes to make. Also, the fact that cMOOCs are massive is important because it creates opportunities for learners to make connections with a diverse range of people. Exactly how massive a course has to be to be considered “massive” is something of a contentious point, but Downes suggests Dunbar’s number of 150 as the cut-off point.
However, cMOOCs are generally not the ones being written about in the New York Times. Instead, folks seem more interested in the MOOCs with hundreds of thousands of participants; those are the xMOOCs.
xMOOCs are those most commonly found on platforms like Coursera, Udacity, and EdX. You know instantly there is a difference because the xMOOC has a platform—the cMOOC methodology tells you to go make your own platform. xMOOCs stick closer to well-known methods of online learning, such as video tutorials and quizzes. There is variation in the form of peer marking and social discussion opportunity, but these aren’t required features.
A Closer Look at Our MOOC
Our MOOC is—in the strictest sense—an xMOOC. We have curated the content, put it into a course framework, and set our students free to roam through it. However, elements of a cMOOC are creeping in. We give a wide range of autonomy to students to browse what they want, and students can add learning content back to the platform right alongside our original learning materials. We encourage participation constantly and use peer review. Organized chaos, if you will.
The biggest job that companies like Coursera perform for those delivering MOOCs is marketing. Getting 100,000 students to sign up for a course outside of these marketplaces is tough. That is why we were delighted when more than 650 students signed up for our MOOC—a testament to social media and good old fashioned marketing organized by the Supply Chain Management Institute at USD.
In the interest of science, we decided to run a few experiments to check out the effect of class sizes and previous exposure to higher education. First off, we wanted to know if engagement varied with class size. So we broke our students into three key groups; one of 300, one of 150, and one of 50. Everything you’ve ever read about education tells you that big class sizes are bad, personalized learning experiences are good. MOOCs claim to run counter to that—by exposing learners to more people, they get to choose those people that they wish to participate alongside.
What We Are Learning About MOOC Learners
We’re only two weeks in, but we’ve got a fair amount of data already. The first thing we noticed is the dropout rate; only 50% to 55% of students registered for the MOOC signed in to the course. This data corresponds with what others have reported elsewhere, so it isn’t surprising. With no skin in the game, many don’t start the course.
From our large group (300 enrolled) 60 learners made it to level three of the module, which is about the halfway mark. In the next group (150 enrolled), 28 made it to the same point. And in our small group (50 enrolled) just 4 made it to halfway.
If we remove those who never logged on in the first place, around 40% made it to halfway in the big group, 39% in the medium group, and 13% in the smaller group. If engagement is any measure to go by, then small class sizes don’t make for a great experience in the world of MOOCs.
Those of you keeping tally will notice that I’ve missed 150 people out of this assessment. This is a deliberate mistake!
We saved another piece of research for three final groups of about 50, whom we sorted based on the amount of higher education they had previously completed. The first group had Master’s-level qualifications or higher, the second group had Bachelor’s degrees, and the third group had high school or Associate’s degrees.
Again those actually logging on was in the 50% region. In the Master’s group, 16 reached the halfway point or beyond; the Bachelor’s group had 9 reach halfway, and in the high school group only 4 made it halfway through the course. Those numbers equate to 60 percent, 33 percent and 17 percent, respectively (of those who logged on at all). When compared with the random selection of 50 students, the Master’s students showed themselves to be much more readily engaged by the learning process—four times more so.
On the face of it, it would seem that those who have already been exposed to an advanced education learn best with MOOCs. The course itself is accredited at the Master’s level, but I don’t suppose this is particularly unusual for a MOOC—as they tend to be aimed at niche areas in advanced subjects, given by the likes of MIT, Stanford, and so forth.
Does this mean MOOCs can’t be used for a wider section of the population? Absolutely not; after all, people still complete the course regardless of their background. But it seems to come most easily to those who have explored learning at its highest and potentially most self-directed level.
It’s been said before, but the biggest challenge ahead for the MOOC Revolution is perhaps to be had in learning how to learn. Maybe then the field will open up to cMOOCs taking center stage in the future of online learning.
And we are still in the early days for our research of our MOOC, so I won’t jump to conclusions—just yet. More important, I’ll have more data when I present the final output at the ASTD conference in Dallas, so please do come by my session on Wednesday morning to find out more and continue the debate.
Anyhow, throughout the talk (and one I did previously, Playing Games with Quality, in the exhibition hall), I littered the place with references, many of which might have got beyond the eager tweeting. So here’s a list of things I referenced. If I miss any, let me know…
Research on the efficacy of game-based learning:
Sara de Freitas – Learning in Immersive Worlds report
Simon Egenfeldt-Neilson – Overview of game-based learning research
Traci Sitzmann – Analysis of the research in to effective instruction using games. or see: PixelLearning
Tom Malone – Toward a theory of intrinsically motivating instruction (1981)
Sara de Freitas – Literature Review of gaming practices for learning
Sara de Freitas & Martin Oliver – evaluating exploratory learning in games
Research on wider theories:
Deci & Ryan – Self-Determination Theory wiki plus academic papers
Benjamin Bloom – The Two-Sigma Problem
Garrison et al – Cognitive Presence
Dan Pink – Drive
Thaler & Sunstein – Nudge
James Paul Gee – Affinity Spaces
Marc LeBlanc – Eight types of fun
Game Design and Gamification books:
Jesse Schell – The Art of Game Design: A book of lenses
Karl Kapp – The Gamification of Learning and Instruction
Raph Koster – A theory of fun for game design
Jane McGonigal – Reality is Broken
Bernard Suits – The Grasshopper: Games, life and utopia
Henry Dobson was one of the few people with whom Greg House ever wanted to form a friendship. It could never have worked out. They were too similar. You see, Dobson’s knowledge of medicine was exemplary, almost as good as House. But if House had wanted someone to agree with his opinion, he’d have looked in the mirror. What Dr. House needed when it came to solving complex problems was diversity. He needed people who would stand up to him; disagree with him. Dobson wasn’t that man. As Dobson put it, you don’t need someone to tell you what you already know.
Which leads me to the obvious question, why should a MOOC be massive? Whilst MOOC’s have grown exponentially, the theory of knowledge underpinning them, Connectivism, has grown more steadily. Somewhere in the hysteria the point kinda got lost. MOOC’s are massive because they operate under the assumption of a network effect; they are decentralized and devolved to provoke connections. What MOOC’s seek is a diversity of opinion. It goes without saying that the quality of the experience is driven by the quality of the dialogue and debate. If this debate is within a small group, or driven by a teacher, or with a bunch of Dobson’s, then the outcome will always be the same. Consensus. Boring, mundane consensus.
I’m afraid that organisations are eyeing up the MOOC trend a bit too readily. On the face of it, it seems like a great excuse to make some content and then make thousands of people watch it. But of course, this misses the point entirely. Content is a trigger for connections at best. It should spur the creation of new content, new ideas, connections. The outcome of all this is unpredictable. Which makes it very much the antithesis of the training and development department.
This is why I’m starting to think that any corporate application of MOOC theory would do well to steer well clear of the training department. Instead it should focus on solving problems. Forget training. Training brings standardisation.
I’m interested in bringing MOOC theory to process redesign. The ability to connect a diverse group of participants around a single topic, to get them to connect with each other and create content, ideas and debate really intrigues me. I believe that it’s only through diverse connections that innovation occurs. Which is why House needs a team that is nothing like him. Anything less would be lethal.
Christmas always brings a conundrum. The kids want new toys, but they don’t play with the ones they’ve already got! Dutifully, you spend your hard earned cash adding to the pile of toys. Recognition is fleeting. By the time you read this blog, all new toys will have become a part of the amorphous mass of toys that sits in the corner of the bedroom. There they are doomed to remain, relatively untouched for the rest of the year, until of course the cycle begins again.
Nothing changes as we get older. Or indeed when we move to the world of work. New toys, that’s what we need. Or do we? Maybe, if we make just one resolution this year, it should be to play with the toys we’ve already got. It’s with that thinly stretched metaphor in mind that I give you this:
50 free sources of learning content for your curation.
I think it’s a bit of a travesty that we spend as much as we do trying to make the perfect piece of learning content, again and again. Of course the learning process takes us far beyond the realms of what content alone can do; we need learners to experience, practice, reflect and repeat real-world actions if they are to truly change behaviour. Content can be the start; it can be the trigger for a new experience, a new insight, a new conversation. But it is just that, the start of a learning journey. So I believe we should spend more time tapping into content that is freely available and putting this to use within our organisations. Our time, money and effort should be spent elsewhere – on the experiences and implementations that allow learners to put ideas in to practice.
With that in mind we’ve quickly curated some sources of information for you to tap. These websites host huge amounts of content on a wide-range of subjects, but in the interests of keeping the numbers down the following sites are of particular use to those looking to trigger learning experiences in the business world.
|OER Commons||http://www.oercommons.org/browse/general_subject/business||Links to over 1000 business related learning content objects||Academic articles|
|Stanford Business School||http://www.youtube.com/user/stanfordbusiness||Stanford Business School videos||Videos|
|Management for the rest of us||http://www.mftrou.com/||Introduction to management topics||Introductions|
|Jim Collins||http://www.jimcollins.com/media_topics/all.html||Video and Audio resources from leading business author, Jim Collins||Management, leadership|
|Team technology||http://www.teamtechnology.co.uk/||Introduction to issues around leadership and management||Psychometrics|
|Free Management Library||http://managementhelp.org/||Huge range of management topics||Management, leadership|
|CIO||http://www.cio.com/||White papers, webcasts everything for the Chief Information officer||CIO|
|Leaders Direct||http://www.leadersdirect.com/||Over 150 pages of tips and checklists on leadership and self management||Leadership|
|PowerHomeBiz||http://www.powerhomebiz.com/||Site for small businesses with good tips and glossary||Small Business|
|Fast Company||www.fastcompany.com||The website for Fast Company magazine contains an easily accessible searchable archive of all its articles, past and present. It contains a number of interesting articles concerning power and office politics. Good for leadership, strategy, teamwork||innovation, web|
|Harvard Working Knowledge||http://hbswk.hbs.edu/||Great papers across the range of management topics from some of the key experts in the field||Management, leadership|
|Frances Hesselbein Leadership Institute||http://www.hesselbeininstitute.org/||Formerly Peter Drucker site, links to Leader to leader journal||Management, leadership|
|Wharton Leadership Centre||http://leadership.wharton.upenn.edu/welcome/index.shtml||Leadership research papers, access to older articles||leadership|
|The Business Publications Search Engine||http://www.bpubs.com/Management_Science/||Good links to articles on BPR, Change, CRM, Leadership Project management and many others||Management papers|
|Customer Care Institution||http://www.customercare.com/||Everything about looking after the customer||Customers|
|PM World Today||http://www.pmworldtoday.net/archives/2012/march.htm#papers||Featured papers on the subject of Project management||Project Management|
|Project Management Institute||http://www.pmi.org/Knowledge-Center.aspx||Knowledge centre – resources to inform and improve the practice of project management||Project management|
|Thinking Managers||http://www.thinkingmanagers.com/||Edward de Bono and Robert Heller site giving clear and concise summaries of the best writing and ideas from the world’s best business media||Management|
|The Work911 series||http://work911.com/articles/index.htm||200 articles covering a range of management topics||Management|
|12 manage||http://www.12manage.com/||Summaries of management methods and models||Models|
|Alliance Training and Consulting||http://www.alliancetac.com/index.html?PAGE_ID=34||Good range of resources covering communication skills, customer service, employee development, leadership and many others||management topics|
|MagPortal.com||http://www.magportal.com/c/bus/strat/||Portal site that gives links to latest magazine articles on business strategy,management and leadership||Magazine portal|
|Bloomberg Businessweek||http://www.businessweek.com/||The latest uptodate thinking, articles, videos||Latest thinking|
|Inc.com||http://www.inc.com/||Latest thinking on leadership and managing, sales and marketing, Finance, Technology and Innovation||Latest thinking|
|Curious Cat Management Improvement Connections||http://curiouscat.net/articles/||Articles focused on operations management and improvement||Operations management|
|Article Planet.net||http://www.articleplanet.net/management/||Shortish articles covering an eclectic range of management topics||Management|
|OER Commons||http://www.oercommons.org/browse/general_subject/business||Great source of open resources, mainly focused on schools but a good range of material on business for the post-secondary level||Open resources|
|MIT OpenCourseWare||http://ocw.mit.edu/index.htm||Incredible resource of lecture notes and videos||MIT Courses|
|MIT YouTube||http://www.youtube.com/user/MIT||Videos of lectures – not all areas covered but those that are are covered in great depth||MIT lectures|
|TED Talks YouTube||http://www.youtube.com/user/TEDtalksDirector||Great range of videos from inspirational speakers||Videos|
|Harvard YouTube||http://www.youtube.com/user/harvardbusiness?ob=4&feature=results_main||Great range of videos from some of the world’s experts||Videos|
|The Ken Blanchard||http://www.youtube.com/user/KenBlanchardCos?ob=0&feature=results_main||Leadership videos||Management videos|
|Wikiversity||http://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Wikiversity:Main_Page||Growing site with some business and management courses||Wiki resource|
|Learn out loud||http://www.learnoutloud.com/Podcast-Directory/Business/Leadership-and-Management||Portal to a range of management podcasts||Podcasts|
|Emerald Research||http://www.emeraldinsight.com/learning/podcasts/index.htm||Podcasts drawn from the latest research published by Emerald||Academic, podcasts|
|Under New Management||http://www.obweb.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&id=42&Itemid=66||Podcasts focusing on rigourous empirical research||Academic, podcasts|
|Bized||http://www.bized.co.uk/learn/index.htm||Whole range of different sorts of materials such as worksheets, case studies||Business studies materials|
|CBS Money Watch||http://www.cbsnews.com/moneywatch/management/?tag=hdr;cnav||Main focus on financial issues but other management issues covered||Finance|
|Business Balls||http://www.businessballs.com/||Businessballs is a free ethical learning and development resource for people and organizations, run by Alan Chapman, in Leicester, England||Business studies materials|
|Khan Academy – Finance & Economics||http://www.khanacademy.org/#microeconomics||College level Economics done in Khan Academy house style – a voiceover with drawings||Finance|
|Business Link Start-up Directory||https://online.businesslink.gov.uk/hub/action/render?pageId=learningdirectory||Everything you need to know about getting started in business – but also useful for those working within organisations||Business Startup|
|Marshall Goldsmith Library||http://www.marshallgoldsmithlibrary.com/html/marshall/resources.html||Personal site of Marshall Goldsmith, the influential leadership thinker||Leadership|
|5min Business||http://www.5min.com/Category/Business||Video aggregation website, taking in content from a range of business websites||Videos|
|Tom Peters!||http://www.tompeters.com/freestuff/index.php||A selection of Tom Peter’s content available freely, as long as you do not charge for their use||Management, leadership|
|Business Insider Document Centre||http://www.businessinsider.com/document-center||A selection of simple (US) templates for business and legal documents||Business Startup|
|Business Model Generation||http://www.businessmodelgeneration.com/canvas||A great method for creating business models||Business Startup|
|The Times 100 – Business Studies Theory||http://businesscasestudies.co.uk/business-theory/||Topic overviews with pay-for case studies available||Business studies materials|
|FastCoExist||http://www.fastcoexist.com/||From The Fast Company, a website focused on breakthrough innovation||innovation, web|
|Systems Thinking – John Seddon||http://www.systemsthinking.co.uk/6.asp||A wide range of articles on Systems Thinking and Lean||Operations management|
|Clayton Christensen||http://www.claytonchristensen.com/key-concepts/||Summary and links to articles by Clayton Christensen, Harvard Professor||Management, leadership|
|Ted ED||http://ed.ted.com/lessons?category_id=41||TED videos with a focus on business and economics and quiz questions.||Business and Economics|
If you’d like to learn more about the role curation can play in your learning strategy, why not come along to CurationCamp, on the Tuesday evening following London’s Learning Technology 2013 conference. It’s free and beer will be supplied (for a bit!) by yours truly and Curatr. If you can’t make it you can follow the event on twitter with the hashtag #ltuk13fringe
This year we exhibited our Curatr course, Service Operations Management, built in-conjunction with Warwick Business School at the DevLearn DemoFest event in Las Vegas. We were really lucky to win the ‘Best Academic Course’ award, as voted for by the audience. Following this we took part in a webinar to show the example and that created a bunch of questions that we didn’t get a chance to answer. So I’ve answered here! More questions welcome in the comments…
What system is used to accrue the points or was it build from scratch?
It was built from scratch. We include elements like Experience Points, Levels and awards (badges). As an administrator you can tweak the difficulty of each level to shape participation. But be warned – our experiments show that quality declines significantly if you force people to comment all of the time.
What kind of instructions were given to participants to teach them how to use this tool?
There is a short interactive introduction when you first login to the system and a help video. That’s generally all it takes to get people familiar with the platform.
Is there a set path that learners must take to level up? Can you level up by doing lots of things in one activity?
There isn’t a set path – it is quite autonomous, deliberately so. You could concentrate on just a couple of objects and gain a bunch of points. But that’s fine with us.
Is it all done on your own or is there any interaction a live person on the other end?
Through the system, no. But in this example course WBS also ran a number of live webinars.
Was Prezi used to develop some of this?
No, but I can see why you asked the question! We love Prezi!
How are you able to zoom in?
The interface you saw is Flash. We also have a native iPad app which uses pinch+zoom
What’s the ‘vetting process’, if any… how do ensure content is valid?
It’s all done post-hoc; so participants can report inappropriate content and a moderator spent an hour or two a week in class. However, this was never needed and (to date) never has been. Content is mostly filtered by the crowd – popular content gets shared and dull content never really goes anywhere.
Is the course accredited or just used in a company?
The course is fully accredited by Warwick Business School – it’s worth 24 MCATs points. Most participants are sponsored by their company to attend and we have students from all over the world in each class. See http://www.wbs.ac.uk/courses/professional/service-operations-management/
Do you not face IP/Copyright issues when curating content of other sources?
We never take content, we only ever link to it. What you saw there was an iFrame in the top half of the screen, so the content still resides with its author.
Is the intent behind the Curatr tool to be an alternative to using an LMS?
We prefer to integrate with an existing LMS. The WBS course I showed you does that – it has a single sign on (LDAP) with the universities LMS. We are also one of the early adopters of the Tin Can standard, which gives a really simple way to export our data to any LRS/LMS instantly.
How did you store all of the contributed content?
Right now it’s within our database, but through channels like Tin Can it will become accessible outside of the environment. We use this ability to allow Curatr to be a part of professional’s CPD, creating a portfolio of evidence and then exporting it as proof of work completed.
What software was used to develop?
Curatr is custom coded by the development team at HT2, lead by James Mullaney. The back-end is PHP/MySQL built on the PureMVC framework. The front-end we have a HTML/Flash (AS3) presentation layer and a Objective C presentation layer for iDevices.
You can play a demo of Curatr at: http://www.curatr.co.uk/demo/?view=demo