#Astd2014 session report: Four ways to use curation in learning

ICE2014 logo

I will blog from the ASTD ICE 2014 conference over the next few days. I will write about separate sessions. My first session was about curation. I do believe that curation will be one of the future skills of any elearning professional. I have put my notes in the mind map below.

What I got from this session was that curation is making a selection out of a collection and adding context and meaning to it. And, the process of curation is aggregation, distillation and reflection. Not enough for 75 minutes. The most surprising thing for me was that he applies curation to formal courses. I have to check that out in more detail later, but it feels like a contradiction to me. I promise that the other two posts from today will be more interesting!

Four ways to use curation in learning


#ASTD2013 First day report: sessions by @marcjrosenberg on the quality of eLearning and @LnDDave on Curation

Today I attended two sessions at the ICE conference. One by Marc Rosenberg on how asses the quality of your eLearning and one by David Kelly on Curation. Click on the mind maps to enlarge them.

Marc Rosenberg – Building eLearning that people will (really) want to use.

Marc has created a 13 topic survey that you can fill in asses  the quality of your eLearning courses. it will also indicate how you can improve it. Great overview of all elements that make up good eLearning. A very helpful tool. Here is the link to his presentation, which includes the assessment.

#ASTD2013 presentation by Marc Rosenberg on the quality of eLearning

#ASTD2013 presentation by Marc Rosenberg on the quality of eLearning

David Kelly. Curation beyond the buzzword

Another interesting presentation by David Kelly, the master of curation. Great overview of the what, why, how and who of curation. here is a link to his presentation and more resources.

Mind map of davids #ASTD2013 presentation on curation

Mind map of Davids #ASTD2013 presentation on curation

LSCON: day 2 Erik Wahl (wow!), curation and again a lot of people

Today began overwhelming. We entered the Grand ballroom and they announced the keynote of the day: Erik Wahl with a presentation on ‘The art of Vision’. Music started (a beautiful day by U2) a guy jumps on stage and starts painting. After the music stops he has painted a portrait of Bono. This video will give you an idea his of performance.

He also proved to be a great and inspiring presenter. His message is simple. We need creativity and passion to change and innovate. It was a great start of the day, a pleasure to witness and a real energy booster.

The largest part of the day we worked in our booth, talking to people and demonstrating easygenerator. I did another presentation on the ‘Emerging technology stage’. In between I was able to attend a session by Reuben Tozman. That turned out to be interesting. The topic was Curaytion. In his definition you have aggregation (collecting information) and then you have curation which he defines as added a story to a selection of the aggregated information. Like a museum a curator that makes a selection out of a collection of art and present it with a storyline. A great definition and I am with him all the way. But Reuben is a technology believer. He is convinced that the technology will make it possible to completely automate this process. This leads him to the conclusion that we should stop making e-Learning courses and focus on aggregating and curation information. Over time we even don’t need any human involvement anymore. Software and complex algorithms will do this for us.

And here I don’t agree. I believe that the software will improve and will become better in selecting information for us and present it to us in a coherent way. But in my opinion it will be still information or even data. It will not be knowledge and it certainly will not be a learning experience. I believe you will always need a human to moderate that information for you, give meaning to it, sometimes presenting an opinion and create a learning experience based on didactical and instructional design principles.

This was the last day of the expo. That gives me the opportunity to attend more sessions tomorrow. I’m looking forward to it.

Google is failing us: how to manage the information overflow?

We are all struggling with the ever-increasing amount of information that we need to manage. Websites, blogs, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, newspapers, TV, radio to name a view of the overflowing sources that we need to manage and process. Steve Rosenbaum pointed out in his key note address at DevLearn that search engines like Google become less reliable and that we have to find other ways to manage the information overflow.

I decided to test Google myself. I entered the search term ‘Kasper Spiro’ in Google, searching for images of myself. The starting point is perfect, I happen to be the only Kasper Spiro on this planet, so how difficult can it be? In the first 60 results there where 12 images of me, 9 other images were related to me (either images I posted, or images of my wife or my brother). The rest has no relation to me at all. That is far from perfect but it is sort of OK. But the real problem is that the results contained 3 images that are definitely not me, but they have my name attached to it and my even role as CEO of easygenerator. I don’t have any idea who these people are and why they mixed them up with me.

This is just an illustration that shows that search results are not that reliable as we assume. I’m not sure if the source of the problem are the sites that contain this incorrect information or that Google screws up. Either way, I’m quite shocked, I expected it to be hard to find the correct information, but I didn’t expect to find false information like I did.

Steve Rosenbaum’s solution for this problem is curation. Curators (people not software) who filter information for you. A great example is e-Learninglearning that curates blogs on e-Learning. This is great, but it is not enough. Thanks to this filter I will get more reliable and correct information but the information I get this way still isn’t complete. So I follow all kinds of other blogs with Google reader (via RSS feeds), follow people on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. This still leaves me with a lot of information to go through. As I wrote before my Ipad and especially Flipboard are really helpful in helping me to manage that problem.

I had dinner with my former colleague Hans de Zwart recently. He pointed out to me that this way you always search for information in your own ‘circle’. He uses Zite, an app that looks a lot like Flipboard, but it doesn’t show you your own feeds (RSS, Facebook et cetera), but you can select sections (search terms). It will get the information for you based on these terms. It works and it presents relevant information but it does mean that I have even more information to cover.

So there are other ways to get information than using search engines and they will give you more relevant and accurate information. But this doesn’t solve my problem of information overflow even though I use curators, apps and everything. I was wondering how other people try to solve this. So if you have tips for me, please let me know.

How to keep formal e-Learning relevant

We all know that e-learning is changing, we all know that our learners have changed. The rise of the internet, social media and mobile devices have changed our world. It turned out that it is much easier for a learner to adapt to these changes than for a e-Learning manager or developer. Over the past 16 months I have written all kind of post researching this change. I was recently asked to present on this subject in a webinar. In my preparation I went through all the posts and was for the first time able to merge them in a coherent way. I wanted to share this presentation with you.

Additional information on a lot of the subjects that are in the presentation I wrote about earlier. These post contain a lot of links to other resources on the internet on these subjects:

•Output management
•Agile development for Software, and for e-Learning
•Learning metaphors, learning maps
•Outcome learning (series of posts)

You can attend the webinar if you like (Wednesday February 15th 2012 10.00 am and 2.00 pm EST). See for details the site of Interactive Advantage.

DevLearn follow up: Not only curation but also moderation and didactics

One of the most interesting topics at DevLearn was ‘Curation’ and the question attached to it was: “Will e-Learning (developers) become obsolete?”. I took some time to reflect on this and my answer is: “Yes curation is an important development” and: “No, the e-Learning developer will not become obsolete. I believe that the role of e-Learning and e-Learning developers will become even more important in the near future.” In this post I will explain why.

There is now software available that gathers information (based on RSS feeds), republishes it and stores it.The great thing about it that if you find an expert on a certain field that does this, you can tap in to his selection of content. Tony Karrer with his elearninglearning site is someone who does this for e-Learning. And it really is a valuable source of information for me. He selects and filters information about e-Learning. But can this phenomenon replace (e-)Learning?

No, it can’t. Curation filters the information and it will help you to manage the information overload. But you will have still a huge amount of information. Leaving you with two problems. Too much information and no learning experience. Curation is not a new thing at all. Decades ago people where creating publications with clippings from newspapers and magazines and they made them available to others by copying them. The only difference with the modern form of curation is that we have more information and it is digital.

The conclusion must be (as always): There is not one simple solution to a complex problem. Curation is part of the solution. So the question is what else do we need?

In order to help me manage the information overload I need someone who processes that curated  information and gives meaning to it: A moderator. Somebody who discovers trends, makes cross connections, summarizes this and makes it available to me. I want more than tapping into a persons network, I want to tap into his knowledge and experience. I do believe that there is an important role here for learning departments en developers because it is not about the technology, it’s about the content and knowledge.

But we are not there yet. learning is more than the transfer of knowledge. Learning is about acquiring knowledge, skills and new behavior. Learning is about change. In order to make that happen you don’t need information, no matter how well curated or moderated it might be. You need lessons and a teacher, you need learning experiences. That is one of the reasons I believe e-Learning will never replace face-to-face teaching completely. And the same goes for curated and moderated content. I do believe that E-Learning courses will become a bigger part of the formal learning that is offered to the learners. For me the difference between information and learning content are didactics, e-Learning developers, instructional designers and teachers.

My conclusion is that e-Learning will become even more important than it is now and for e-Learning developers there is a whole new role as a moderator. I foresee that e-Learning courses in the future could become the carrier of curated and moderated content. Of course with a didactical approach.

Devlearn conference 2011: retrospective

I’m back home after a great DevLearn conference. Looking (and reading) back at the conference there are several things that stick out for me.

This was my second Guild conference (been to Learning Solutions in March) and one thing that really struck me at both conferences is the atmosphere. It’s a world of difference if you compare it to the Online Educa in Berlin or the Learning Solutions in London. Both guild conferences have the feeling of a gathering of peers. I really like that, London and Berlin don’t have that at all.

For easygenerator it was an important conference too. We set out in a very specific direction and this was the first time we could actually find out if it was any good. Well we got that confirmation and more. It will be interesting to see how many leads will convert into customers and hopefully fans in the end.

For me on a professional level the biggest take away is the curation of content. I knew the phenomenon being a user of the sites of Jay Cross and Tony Karrer but up till now I wasn’t really aware of the strategic impact. And it’s something that will affect e-Learning development. It is something we need to take into account in our road map. I do believe that it is not a threat for e-Learning authors but a great change to get a greater and even more meaningful role. I believe that you have to add moderation to curation in order to be effective. I you point me in the direction of a new book that’s helpful, if you tell me what the content and the relevance is, it has a greater value to me. I’m still processing this, but I will definitely come back on this.

It was a great opportunity to network and I did meet and speak with lots of interesting people.

I’m a huge fan of an agile approach (I wrote about that in previous posts) and this was the first e-Learning conference that I heard people talking about it and where presenting on it. That’s great, I really believe that such an agile approach has great advantages over ADDIE and other methods. I hope it catches on. I’m even considering adding support for the agile process to easygenerator. Another point I will come back on.

LINGOs 3.0
The initiative of LINGOs to make learning and education available to everyone in the developing world is really amazing. I really hope that this will succeed.  Another topic I will definitely get back on.

It was a great conference, very valuable from a business perspective and from the perspective as an e-Learning professional. The people, the organization and the facilities where great, the only negative thing I can come up with is the location. O boy, do I hate Vegas.


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