CCK08: Connectivism Week 1 Additional Readings

Here’s some thoughts on Week 1 Additional Readings:

Maarten de Laat Networked Learning. An outstanding piece of research that shows how learning and human resources managementneed to be linked to provide outcomes based learning that results in improved performance. This is the way industry needs to go. He notes Human Resources Departments must think strategically what are core competencies.

Too often I have seen private libraries or companies create learning, hosted on an LMS that can provide content, testing, and progress (great for HR tracking) but it is not in any way linked to on the job performance, which is the critical indicator.

Stephen Downes The Buntine Oration: Learning Networks. Stephen slams the commercialization of learning into private for profit LMSs. This has forced me to rethink the companies I have worked for, because this is exactly what they do. My current company provides training in the telecommunications space because the original equipment manufacture recognizes training is essential, but does not want to do it, so they outsource to us. We listen to what content the learners what to learn, however, we don’t have all the Learning 2.0 tools in place. We do recognize when pure e-learning will work, when mentoring has to happen, and when a live classroom is best and when you can run virtual classrooms.

In response to Stephens int ital criticism of e-Learning, much of the content was developed in proprietary tools that made it hard to truly interact with the content. We are now at a place with DITA XML where many of those concerns can be alleviated. OEMs are starting to realize the power of topic based authoring and access by the customer and feedback on a much more granular level than before. This goes with learning too. If the documentation is written properly with task flows etc, do you even need training courses? This is a fundamental questions I ask but would my company be out of business?

Stephen criticizes learning designs for packaging of learning. It was needed under the old regime of learning, but as I point out in the previous paragraph, new authoring and publishing technologies allow the user to consume whatever amount of info they want and that they can enter and exit the information at whatever point they desire.

Stephen promotes EDu_RSS and its filters for aggregating and filtering, but in a sense, is this no different than a learning design “filtering” out information that an “expert” has deemed more useful? I question his critique on learning designs and being too formal. What is wrong with having a learning design for people that have little knowledge about a subject? Why can’t an expert design a “guided tour” to ensure base knowledge? Stephen says LEanring Designs are a dea end, but Even Connectivism has a learning design to outline what is in and out of the course. It lets everyone know what will be covered. It ensure a basic level of knowledge is discussed. Companies often want to know employees received training although I point out earlier that the lack of good HR performance measure tools mean they default to tracking training received as opposed to performance outcomes. I wonder if a decentralizedweb can provide the needed learning for performance improvement especially for web novices.

George Siemens Connectivism: Learning as Network-Creation offers good ideas that higher education and the corporate world need to move more to Web 2.0. However, George does not offer very complete ideas or implications for the Human Resources management role for performance improvement. In Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age, George indicates that leanring is about outcomes but again he doesn’t link this with the human resources function.

All in all, I found these additional readings to be even more interesting than the required readings with more “practical” implications.



One Response to “CCK08: Connectivism Week 1 Additional Readings”

  1. gsiemens Says:

    Hi Bradley – I appreciate your reflections on the readings. In particular, your focus on making the readings relevant to your work.

    There is an interesting book to be released in fall (unless it’s out already) called “Numerati”. The book addresses how data collection activities by organizations are providing far greater insight into how/what employees do. In the process, many ethical concepts are challenged. A similar problem can exist with networked learning. The better we are able to track activities of learners, the better we are able to provide needed interventions or next stage learning opportunities. Yet, in doing so, we need to consider what rights an organization (or HR dept) has to observe the activities of learners…

    I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts or comments on this.


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