Archive for the ‘Trends’ Category

The last set of readings in my emerging technology class was on the “maker movement.” The Horizon Report subtitled that as “shift from students and consumers to students as creators.” Those of us in learning and development are usually appreciative of ways to engender active, hands-on learning, so “making” is a trend we should watch.

Online, we had a lot of discussion about whether people who created intellectual products (e.g. writing, plans, designs) were included as “makers,” and we discussed whether we had to see “making” as usually about new ways to make money. I liked Hagel, Brown & Kulasooriya’s definition of maker as “someone who derives identity and meaning from the act of creation.” I can tell you that I certainly feel that way about all the slide decks I create!

There is a lot of interesting material on this trend – enjoy these readings.  And please share other references if you like.

If you’ve been following along, this post is the final one in a series which reading lists for the overview of emerging technologies, social media, MOOCs, and learning analytics. Thanks for following along.


When you first start looking into the “maker movement,” you might think that it is especially important for modern day entrepreneurs and not necessarily of interest to corporate learning and development strategists. But the movement at its core is about the freedom to create, and from a learning perspective, the depths of learning that comes out of that creation.  (See the Maker Manifesto, under recommended readings, and notice that making, learning, and playing go hand-in-hand.)

There is a lot of discussion about “making” in the education arena, and it will, I think, eventually come to the T&D space as well. Corporations already try to encourage innovation by giving employees a chunk of time to do their own projects – they know that the employees will come up with great ideas that the company might never have developed otherwise.

The constructivist and constructionist learning theories would strongly endorse this approach, and some of your readings dig into those theories a bit more deeply. I would encourage you to pull out your adult learning texts and remind yourself of constructivist theories as a way of understanding how learners as creators makes a great deal of sense.

In T&D, we should look at how making can be an important learning and teaching technique – and consider what hands-on projects might really help our learners to more fully understand key concepts and approaches. Some of our existing techniques, like problem-based-learning, action learning, and other “hands on” strategies fall in alignment with the spirit of “making” I think. But I’ll be interested to hear how you see it.


A Movement in the Making. By John Hagel, John Seely Brown, & Deleesha Kulasooriya. (Deloitte University Press, 2014)

What Is the Maker Movement and Why Should You Care? By Brit Morin (Huffington Post, May 2, 2013)

What’s the Maker Movement and Why Should I Care? By Gary Stager (Scholastic Web Site, Winter 2014)

The Maker Movement and the Rebirth of Constructionism. By Jonan Donaldson. (Hybrid Pedagogy, January 23, 2014)

How the Maker Movement is Transforming Education. By Sylvia Libow Martinez and Gary S. Stager. (We Are Teachers web site, nd).  See also the links provided to the left of the article.


What We’re Reading.  (Making Things Happen, Agency by Design project, Harvard Graduate School of Education)  This post lists quick reviews of a variety of books on the subject of “making” – great for bibliophiles! The Agency by Design web site is worth exploring.

The Maker Movement Manifesto. (Sample chapter PDF available here) By Mark Hatch.

A Defense of Constructionism: Philosophy as conceptual engineering. By Luciano Flroidi (Metaphilosophy, 2011) Available through Penn State’s databases – Wiley Online Journal Library.

Mapping Digital Makers: A review exploring everyday creativity, learning lives and the digital. (PDF) By Julian Sefton-Green

Learning Creative Learning (MOOC-like course). By MIT Media Lab and P2PU, supported by the MacArthur Foundation. March-May 2014, materials still available.


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This is the fourth in my series of posts sharing the reading list from my summer emerging technologies course. So far, I’ve posted the overview, social media readings, and MOOC readings – and up this time is BIG DATA.

The conversation online focused quite a bit on privacy issues, and students were surprised about how much data is already collected and how it is being used. We didn’t reach any conclusions, of course, but several of the students have chosen topics for the final white paper, and I’ll be interested in seeing what they have to say in that context.

Enjoy these links, and feel free to share additional ones if you have recommendations.


Evaluation has always been an important part of the process in training and development; the ubiquitous Kirkpatrick model was proposed in the 1950s. Many training and development organizations, however, have a difficult time identifying, capturing, analyzing, and acting on the kind of data that can measure outcomes and prove value.

Enter big data. In the last several years, the business world has been clamoring for the power of “big data” – the practice of analyzing huge data sets and mining them for information about customers, human behaviors, correlations, and other valuable insights. HR and training and development organizations have been responding to this trend by thinking about the ways we might use big data to provide insights on learning and performance. Educators at all levels (K-12 through university) are analyzing data to discover ways to improve outcomes as well.

While some analytics have been spectacularly successful (notably in sports and politics), talent data is just beginning to get attention, and the industry is sorting out possibilities. The readings this week will give you both an introduction to key concepts related to “big data” and an overview of where the training and development industry may be heading.


Big Data in Corporate Training and Development / Talent Management

The Age of Big Data: A progress report for organizations and HR (preview edition). (PDF)  (i4cp, 2013) here

Talent analytics in practice: Go from talking to delivering on big data. By Josh Bersin, John Houston & Boy Kester. (Deloitte University Press, March 2014)

Introduction to Talent Data Reporting (PDF). By Dave Vance and Peggy Parskey (Center for Talent Reporting, 2012)

The Growth of Learning Analytics: Five identifiable stages of learning analytics in the learning reporting market. By Stacey Harris and David Grebow, Brandon Hall Group. (Training, August 2013)

New Learning Analytics for a New Workplace. By Reuben Tozman. (T+D, February 2012)

Big Data in the Education Sector

Improving the Quality and Productivity of the Higher Education Sector: Policy and Strategy for Systems-Level Deployment of Learning Analytics. (PDF) By George Siemens, Shane Dawson, and Grace Lynch. (Society for Learning Analytics Research, December 2013)

The Rise of Big Data in Higher Education. Webinar by Louis Soures. (EDUCAUSE, 2012) Summary available.

inBloom to Shut Down Amid Growing Data-Privacy Concerns. By Benjamin Herold (Digital Education, April 2014)

The Future of Ed-Tech is a Reclamation Project. By Audrey Watters (Keynote at the Alberta Digital Learning Forum May, 2014)


Big Learning Data. Edited by Elliott Masie.  (ASTD & The Maise Center, 2014) – this is a short book that does a terrific job giving an overview for training and development professionals, and it contains a number of case studies. Highly Recommended.  On Amazon here.

Big Data: Seizing opportunities, preserving values. (PDF) (web site)  A report from the office of the President of the U.S. (Executive Office of the President, May, 2014)

From invisible to visible . . . to measurable: Social analytics extends enterprise performance improvement. By Eric Openshaw, John Hagel & John Seely Brown. (Deloitte University Press, March 2014)

8 Realities Learning Professionals Need to Know About Analytics. By Ellen Wagner. (T+D, August 2012) ASTD members can view online here.

What’s the Big Deal About Big Data? By Gail Dutton. (Training, Mar/Apr 2014)

The Role and Function of a Learning Analytics Leader (PDF). White paper by Knowledge Advisors (2013)

Web Sites

Center for Talent Reporting

Society for Learning Analytics Research

The Journal of Learning Analytics

IBM’s Big Data web pages (the conversations page has links to a number of articles and reports)

McKinsey & Company’s Big Data and Advanced Analytics web pages.


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I’ve been sharing the reading list from my Emerging Technologies course. So far, you’ve seen the overview and the social media lists. Here’s the reading list about MOOCs, which was our next topic of conversation. The students debated the relative merits of xMOOCs and cMOOCs and the “vote” at the end of the week favored the cMOOC variety, primarily because the students felt there was more opportunity for interaction.  Here’s the (very long) list that got us started.  Enjoy!


Making Sense of MOOCs: Musings in a Maze of Myth, Paradox and Possibility  (PDF). By Sir John Daniel (Journal of Interactive Media and Education, 2012) – solid review of xMOOCs, without much attention to cMOOCs (see Stephen Downes critique in comments here).

The MOOC Model for Digital Practice (PDF). By Alexander McAuley, Bonnie Stewart, George Siemens and Dave Cormier (2010) – long article; read the executive summary and skim other parts.

MOOCs: Expectations and Reality. (PDF) By Fiona M. Hollands and Devayani Tirthali. (Columbia University, 2014)) – Read executive summary, Introduction, and Conclusions and Recommendations.

The Scoop on MOOCs. By Catherine Lombardozzi (4 Your Development, 2013) – this brief describes the important distinctions between cMOOCs and xMOOCs.

What is and what is not a MOOC: A picture of family resemblance (working undefinition) #moocmooc. By Dominik Lukeš (blog post, August 2012)

xMOOC Communities Should Learn from cMOOCs. By Michael Caulfied (Educause blog, July 2013)

Multiple pathways: Blending xMOOCs & cMOOCs. By George Seimens (Blog post, May 2014)

RE: Corporate MOOCs (or why those of you in corporate T&D should care about an academic phenomenon)

How MOOCs Will Revolutionize Corporate Learning and Development. By Jeanne Meister. (Forbes, August 2013)

Putting MOOCs to Work. By Josh Bersin and Todd Tauber (Slideshare. December 2013)

10 big reasons for rise of corporate MOOCs. By Donald Clark. (Blog post, December 2013)



What is a MOOC?

Terrific “explainer” videos by Dave Cormier:
What is a MOOC?
Success in a MOOC
Knowledge in a MOOC

Theoretical Base

A pedagogy of abundance. (PDF) By Martin Weller (Spanish Journal of Pedagogy, 2011).

Rhizomatic Learning by Dave Cormier (2012) – video recommended!      Rhizomatic Education : Community as Curriculum by Dave Cormier (From Innovate – Journal of Online Education 2008)      Rhizomatic Learning – Why we teach? By Dave Cromier (blog, 2011)      See also materials from Dave’s 2014 P2PU open course, Rhizomatic Learning – The community is the curriculum

What is the theory that underpins our moocs? (connectivist) By George Siemens (blog post, June 2012)

On the “blogosphere” (primarily about xMOOC phenomenon)

What is a MOOC? By Cathy Davidson (HASTAC Blog, August 2012)

If We Profs Don’t Reform Higher Ed, We’ll Be Re-Formed (and we won’t like it). By Cathy Davidson, HASTAC Blog, January 2013)

If MOOCs are the answer, then what is the question? By Cathy Davidson (HASTAC Blog, Februarly 2013)

Let Them Eat MOOCs. By Gianpiero Petriglieri (HBR Blog Network, October 2013)

Some things MOOCs are good for. By Dave Cormier (Blog post, October 2013)

The Spectrum of Opinion About MOOCs – A MOOC Round-Up by Doug Holton as of November 2013

Also Recommended

Open Univerisity’s course on Open Education (free standing content). Materials found here.

Educause coverage of MOOCs: Search results here.

Chronicle of Higher Education coverage of MOOCs. Search results here.

MOOC News and Reviews online magazine

MOOC Platforms

MITx:  http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/mitx-related-courseware/

EdX:  https://www.edx.org/

Coursera: https://www.coursera.org/

Udacity: https://www.udacity.com/

P2PU: https://p2pu.org/en/

Intrepid Agile Corporate MOOC product: http://intrepidlearning.com/what-we-do/learning-technology/corporate-mooc/

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As promised in my last post, I’m sharing my reading list from my graduate course on emerging technologies. The first topic we took up was social media learning, since I thought it might be somewhat familiar even if students weren’t able to use these kinds of tools much as yet (entirely possible given the roles they play and the kinds of organizations in which they work).

Here’s the reading list. Enjoy!  And please share any resources that are your favorites in the comments.


Minds on Fire: Open education, the long tail, and learning 2.0. By John Seely Brown and Richard P. Adler Educause Review, Jan/Feb, 2008.  A classic article.

Social Networking Theories and Tools to Support Connectivist Learning Activities. By M.C. Pettenati and M.E. Cigognini. International Journal of Web-Based Learning and Teaching Technologies, 2(3) (2007)  Download from here.

A Framework for Social Learning in the Enterprise (PDF). By Harold Jarche. Inside Learning Technologies and Skills, December 2010

The Social Economy: Unlocking value and productivity through social technologies. McKinsey Global Institute, July 2012 (executive summary recommended, but full report also available)

Playlist: Our Digital Lives, Collection of curated TED Talks Please review: Beware Online “Filter Bubbles” by Eli Pariser (March 2011, 9 minutes) and Connected, But Alone by Sherry Turkle (February 2012 – 20 minutes).  Transcripts available.


Six social-media skills every leader needs. By Roland Deiser and Sylvain Newton McKinsey Quarterly, February 2013

What is Social Business Really About? By Thierry de Baillon Future of Collaborative Enterprise, 2013.

Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age. By George Siemens (2004).

Teaching in Social and Technological Networks. George Siemens Blog post, February 16, 2010.

The Seek-Sense-Share Framework. By Harold Jarche. Inside Learning Technologies, January 2014. (See this post as well.)

Social Media Basics

CommonCraft Explainer Videos (2-5 min each).  Navigate to the Social Media tab.

7 things to Know About… (from EDUCAUSE):
Personal Digitized Magazines
Social Content Curation

Social Media and Social Learning for Learning Professionals (resource list) plus Additional Thoughts – David Kelly

Why You Need a Personal Learning Network and How to Develop One (resources) – David Kelly

Personal Knowledge Mastery (resources) – Harold Jarche


Social Media for Trainers. By Jane Bozarth.

The New Social Learning. By Tony Bingham and Marcia Conner (ASTD, 2010)

Social Learning Handbook 2014. By Jane Hart (Jane Hart, 2014)

Social Media for Educators. By Tanya Joosten (Jossey-Bass, 2012)

The New Culture of Learning. By Douglas Thomas and John Seely Brown (Douglas Thomas and John Seely Brown, 2011)  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


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This summer, I am privileged to be “teaching” a graduate course on emerging technologies for Penn State Harrisburg’s Training and Development master’s program. I hesitate to say I am teaching it because I’ve designed it more like a graduate seminar / MOOC (with only 14 people).

In that vein, I am providing a list of readings on specific trends as a starting point, and we go wherever the conversation goes. It’s an online course, and we begin each week with everyone contributing a “411” post: based on the readings, they summarize 4 key points, 1 implication for their practice / career, and 1 discussion question for the group. These have been a real treat to read and ponder – I’ve learned a lot already, and have enjoyed engaging in the conversations.

The readings have provoked a wide range of reactions and comments back and forth, so I thought it might be interesting to share the reading list with my blog readers… assuming you all might be interested in some of the same topics. There are five major technology-enabled trends we will discuss before we move into student-selected topics: Overview of emerging technologies, social media and learning, MOOCs, learning analytics, and the “maker movement.”

I am posting the readings that gave us an overview of emerging technologies below, and the rest of the topics will be posted one at a time in the coming days. We will be happy to hear what you all think of these trends as well! And it’s not too late to share some of your own favorite references on these topics.

Overview of Emerging Technologies


2014 Horizon Report and 2013 Horizon Report, New Media Consortium

Deloitte Tech Trends 2014 (skim, with particular attention to Inspiring Disruption (video), digital engagement, and exponentials)

How Disruptive Innovation Changes Education. Martha Lagace Interview with Clayton Christensen, Michael B. Horn, and Curtis W. Johnson Harvard Business School Working Knowledge, August 2008

Cultivating the Entrepreneurial Learner in the 21st Century. John Seely Brown. Keynote for the Digital Media Learning conference 2012. John Seely Brown is a leading expert on the new culture of learning – the one that is unleashed by 21st century technologies. This speech gives a sense of his insight into the disruption we are seeing in training and education. Transcript / Video (skip ahead to 14 min mark; speech is approximately 45 minutes, followed by Q&A)


A New Architecture for Learning.  Rob Abel, Malcolm Brown, and John J. Seuss. Educause Review Online, October 2013

Top 10 IT Issues 2014: Be the Change You See. Susan Grajek. Educause Review Online, March 2014

Connected Learning: An Agenda for Research and Design. Mizuko Ito, Kris Gutierrez, Sonia Livingstone, Bill Penuel, Jean Rhodes, Katie Salen, Juliet Schor, Julian Sefton-Green, and S. Craig Watkins. Digital Media and Learning Research Hub, 2013

Teaching in the Connected Learning Classroom. Antero Garcia, Christina Cantrill, Danielle Filipiak, Bud Hunt, Clifford Lee, Nicole Mirra, Cindy O’Donnell-Allen, Kylie Peppler. Case studies of connected learning from the Digital Media and Learning Research Hub, 2014

A New Culture of Learning. Book by Douglas Thomas and John Seely Brown. 2011

The Future of Learning Institutions in a Digital Age (pdf), Book by Cathy Davidson and David Theo Goldberg. MIT Press, 2009


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When it comes to demonstrating the effectiveness of our learning strategies, is badging the answer?

The current paradigm
In corporate learning, we often talk about ways to evaluate the effectiveness of training. Primarily, we are interested in a) whether or not our participants learned what we aimed for them to learn, and b) whether or not they applied that learning to support or improve their performance on the job. There are so many problems with the methods we have traditionally used to measure these outcomes that we too often can’t find the time or support to effectively measure them. And the expansion of self-directed (informal) learning complicates the issue even further. (I could write several entire posts on the strategies and issues of evaluation, but that’s not the point I’m trying to get to here.)

A paradigm shift for consideration
Since the old paradigm is so problematic, the concept of “badging'” is intriguing as a potential paradigm shift.  Our colleagues in the academic community – and especially those folks interested in do-it-yourself-education – are working to formalize a strategy of digital badging as a way of documenting knowledge and skills in ways that can be shared with employers and others interested in knowing what we have learned and what we have to offer. If you haven’t heard about this approach, take a moment to check out these resources:

Mozilla Open Badges – web site describing Mozilla’s efforts to develop a badging platform
‘Badges’ Earned Online Pose Challenge to Traditional College Diplomas – article from the Chronicle of Higher Education
Could Badges for Lifelong Learning Be Our Tipping Point? – HASTAC blog post by Cathy Davidson

So what you think about the possibility that we could use this strategy for documenting the outcomes of workplace learning activities? Imagine, for example, that a learning “transcript” inside an organization would document specific skills that have been demonstrated in the workplace. We could put in place criteria-referenced evaluations to be completed by designated evaluators (e.g. managers, peer experts, learning facilitators) based on observation of the skill in the context of day-to-day work. It wouldn’t matter how the skill was developed, although we could offer both formal and informal learning to support the development of the most critical skills in our organization.

This is another way to think about competency evaluations in organizations. One of the most frustrating things about annual competency reviews is that competencies are defined at such a high level that different evaluators provide completely conflicting ratings. If, however, we broke the skills down to a more nuanced level, we might actually be able to develop a better picture of what skills a particular employee has developed.

An example, and a possible can of worms
Let’s look at an example close to home. Let’s say we want to know the degree of skill an employee has in the area of conducting needs assessment.
>  On a learning transcript, we might find a course on needs assessment – but what exactly did the employee learn? And did he or she ever successfully apply the specific concepts and strategies offered in the course?
>  On a competency review, the skill of needs assessment is likely evaluated in one line, even though that skill is complex and multi-faceted. How a professional is evaluated may depend on how challenging his or her needs assessment projects were that year and how expert the evaluator is in the subject.
>  With a badging system, we may be able to evaluate separately different aspects of needs assessment: for example: assessment planning, job analysis, focus group facilitation, qualitative data analysis, quantitative data analysis, survey construction, performance analysis – the list of specific skills goes on. And there’s a possibility of creating meta-badges that roll up a longer list of skills, as well as a possibility of “leveling up” which would document increasing levels of skill. With a badging system, our learning records could be more nuanced, but the system of documenting learning would be more complex.

Why consider an alternative?
 Our systems of tracking learning don’t hold up when we move to a more informal learning strategy. Our competency evaluation systems don’t seem to be nuanced enough to be helpful, and they certainly aren’t consistent across multiple raters. We all agree, I think, that what is really important is whether or not employees “know” something – and more to the point – whether or not they are capable of “doing” something (knowing at what level of proficiency would be a nice bonus). A badging strategy may get us there.

Your thoughts?
The conversation around using digital badging as a learning record is interesting on many fronts. On a global scale, there are tons of problems to solve – establishing the quality of the badge issuer’s process, preventing gaming the system, measuring discreet skills without overwhelming a “badge backpack” with too many details, promoting badging as evidence of knowledge and skill, and more.  And in the end, maybe badging is just the “degree” and “certification” dressed up in new clothing.

The conversation continues. What do those of you in corporate learning and development environments think about this hot topic?

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Think Different

I’m just returning from my annual trek to the Academy of HRD conference, held this year in the mile-high city of Denver, Colorado. I enjoy the conference as much for the conversations held in the hallways and lounge areas as I do for the insights I gain from symposia and other sessions.

While academics of our field and practitioners in organizations are talking about the same trends and implications, I was struck by new perspectives on often talked-about topics. We were urged – in the words of Steve Jobs – to “think different.”

Globilization. We talk about attending to cultural differences and language barriers when we globalize our training efforts. The academics reminded me as well that people from other parts of the world – other cultures – often have very different ideas about how we learn, and about what is important for creating environments that promote learning. The core tenets of characteristics of adult learners and effective approaches to learning may not hold true with learners across the globe. Our learning theories need to be further tested and updated for a global world. I know I’ll be having different conversations with designers and learning leaders regarding how we globalize our learning programs – and I have much more learning to do myself in this regard.

Workforce pressures. HRD leaders are very concerned about the pressures being brought to bear on today’s workforce. Employees are increasingly contingent, global, and virtual, and expectations for productivity and responsiveness are high, leaving them exhausted. At the same time, because of the access to knowledge and expertise afforded by the internet, support for wider deep professionalization and individual expertise-building may be limited. That kind of deprofessionalization decreases employees’ levels of engagement and capacity for rapid, customized response in organizations, and learning leaders should be raising caution flags about this trend. It’s clear that we can’t both expect employees to care about and manage their own development and demand more than 100% of their time and attention to getting the work done. It’s simply not sustainable. The question is, as a learning leader, what can I do about that?

Bottom line orientation. Contrary to popular belief, academics do place value on bottom line results. They contribute theory and research to define which activities and processes will have the most impact, and they support guiding learning in ways that improve performance and facilitate change. But more than that, many of the thought leaders I listened to were encouraging HRD professionals to change the world. We are encouraged to think about how our work can focus on the well-being of all humanity. We need to be concerned about ethics, morality, and even spirituality. Learning is key to fulfilling the promise of our future world, and we don’t need to limit our efforts to individual organizations. We can focus on the people themselves. I’m left wondering how I want to change the world, and what actions and advocacy may be important for me to embrace.

Need for scholarly, evidence-based practice. Questions were raised about whether or not our current understandings of learning, performance, and change are even adequate to address the needs of our rapidly changing, connected, global environment. Have things changed so much that we have to reconsider our theoretical underpinnings and assumptions? We were reminded that the tension between theory and practice is a good one – it leads to advances in our thinking and changes in our actions. There is quite a bit we do know about how to operate most effectively in the 21st century, but there too often remains a big gap between what we know and what we do in organizations. I am reminded why the conversation between academics and practitioners is so important, and I want to continue to do my part to be a bridge between the two worlds and to encourage other practitioners to find ways to get connected to the theory and research tha can make us more impactful in our work.

For me, the Academy conference is always a head-spinning few days. I’m glad that my choice of transportation is train travel, because the trek across the plains states has given me time and space for mulling over insights, implications and next steps. While my colleagues are already back at work facing an overflowing in-bin, I am still able to be in my head a bit.

Whether you travel by plane or train or automobile, I would encourage you to consider attending the Academy of HRD conference in Alexandria, Virginia (just outside Washington, DC) next year. Or find other means of getting plugged into theory and research, and cutting-edge conversations among the academic thought leaders and leading researchers of our field.

Only by coming together can we learn to “think different” for the future.


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