Designing Learning in the Digital Age – Reflections Of the Day

The following post is a collection of notes and thoughts taken at the Designing Learning in the Digital Age workshop.


What do we mean by disruptive?
 Clayton M. Christensen, “Disrupting Class” mentions that we need education to be rebuilt.
A.  The Changing Learning Agenda:
  • From formal to informal
  • Mass to personalised learning
  • Competitive to collaborative
  • Restricted and constructed to Creative and extended
  • Instruction to personal author and innovator
  • Content to knowledge and understanding

eg. University of Central Florida has its own learning agenda but some teachers are already doing this and may find it “insulting” but we are talking about trends.  But what about links to employability skills?

  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Problem solving
  • Initiative
  • Leadership
  • Collaboration
  • Information Literate

But do we teach these in education sectors?  Ultimately we are preparing people for the workforce so the employ ability skills must be the new learning agenda. 

But we haven’t been doing this because “we’ve been stuck in content”

So what’s the point of being a content expert because content is everywhere.  So the question is, do we move along the continuum depending on context?  (There’s a time and place for instructor led training).

So educator’s role has changed from “the person having all the info” to “facilitating learning”.


It’s staggering that the issues are similar across the world (regardless of industry) that all relate to:

  • Collaborative
  • Mobile
  • Openness
  • The cloud
  • Ownership (copyright) and privacy
  • Access and scale
  • Rise of informal learning
  • New business models

There’s a different vision of people who still ‘think’ in the old ways versus those who think in ‘new’ ways

B.  2013 Australian Horizon Report (mostly Higher Ed) will be published in a few weeks say that the following will be the ‘norm’ in one year or less:

  • Learning analytics
  • Mobile learning
  • Social media
2-3 Years
  • 3D printing
  • Information visualisation
  • Location based services
  • Open badges
4-5 Years:
  • Flexible displays
  • The internet of things
  • Virtual and remote laboratories
  • Wearable technologies

C.  Presentation by Leigh Blackall on 10 Radical Ideas for Education

1. Separate teaching and assessment:  

  • could enable lots of mobility for lecturers and students from one similar standard to another.
  • RPL is now much more available because funding model changed (but Leigh said that there could be a more entrepreneurial way to how the course is taught rather than how it is assessed).
  • External accreditation bodies – their role in the future in accreditation? What does this mean for education institutions?
2.  Use Wikipedia

Leigh proposed the use of Wikipedia for many years but institutions don’t accept it: “Thou shalt not reference Wikipedia!”

This caused discussion in the room and general consensus that it is an excellent resource.  He said that every Wikipedia entry has an ‘edit history’ – and then researches more about the background; who’s edited the article; who are they affiliated with – in effect, he is doing a thorough analysis of the article to credit the source.  (“Crap Detection”)

Critical analysis of sentences which are needed for academic literature.  Insert citations when needed.  Sourcing credible evidence to support the claim [the zone of ‘proximal development’ is absent hence serious issues at first year level where students not understanding academic writing].

3.  Degrees By Degrees

A degree by degree puts individual events, modules, projects etc out in the front such as the adult learning community sector and how these will match up to a course of study. “Let’s invert the way we administer the courses and market into other sectors”

4.  Feed Forward Learning

All assignments and activities have benefit public information. Eg editing a wikipedia article and assessed by peers in the Wikipedia community? Activity assessment that benefits public information is currently being used in the health education sector.

5.  Free Learning, Fee Education

Melbourne Internet University holds free learning but assessments can be domain of our institutions (for this point in time) and charge fees here.

6. Die LMS, Die (lots of ‘Yes!’ ‘Yay’ in the room – ah, so even educators hate it!? How interesting…)

LMS is based on a metaphor or framework of how learning happens and this template will drive everything! Leigh said that this is not so and we are just perpetuating bad behaviours around uploading similar things on LMS and not deriving any real value to learner or even the lecturer.

He believes we need to find escape routes out of the LMS line – less technologically focussed and more technologically adaptive.

7. A Crisis for Institutions Is An Opportunity for Individual

Institutions all across sectors are in crisis because we are in a disruptive period.  In the education system, this could present an opportunity.  eg.  “I’m an expert in XYZ, and approach a university and offer to run my subject matter as long as I keep the IP for half the cost and give me the freedom to run it at other universities”  [comparable to “sessional staff” but with a slight difference – and not stereotyped as sessional staff as being something less than the academics]

Note to self:  Wow – the concept of ‘networked worker’ comes into the education sector “networked academic” – freelance academics!  So why wouldn’t this work???

8.  Student Authored Open Textbooks

Automatic print and delivery system, print on demand

(Less notes on this as I was still thinking of the idea of number 7 above)

9.  Use of Marketing Budgets on Education

Why spend $0000 on marketing for billboard exposure – how could this be used for series of videos

“Local” isn’t our market anymore for our educational sector so why are we marketing this way?

All marketing should be educational messages.

10.  A Crisis for Institutions Is An Opportunity for Individuals

“Defensiveness shows that their organisation is in crisis, “says Leigh.

(Unfortunately ran out of time for this excellent presentation!)


Group activity on how to improve an organisational factor eg culture, information not shared, etc using the model of “Design Thinking”

We brainstormed various issues in our organisations and here are the results:

 photo (5)
 photo (4)
Funny that – same same for educational institutions AND corporate learning and development!!

We need people to analyse, evaluate and create because environment has changed.  That is, jobs are being automated; work can be outsourced…technology assists in expanding our networks.
Educators need 3 domains of knowledge:
  • Content Knowledge
  • Pedagogical Knowledge
  • Technological Knowledge
  • (all wrapped around context)

(This is where Corporate Learning and Development may be slightly different – our content knowledge may be our skills in performance analysis and identifying appropriate performance solutions to close performance or skill gaps in the workplace.  In my experience, some people in L&D may not be qualified or accredited with any formalised learning which is due to inadequate professional development in this space in the Australian market.  Many people ‘fall into’ L&D from the business)

What are the pedagogies required for a digital age?

  • Individualised learning plans
  • Action based or project based learning
  • Problem thinking & Solving Learning (Design thinking)
  • Work based/situated learning
  • Peer/collective (tribe/gang) learning
  • Service learning
  • Professional learning communities/ PLN’s (circles)
  • Informal/Just-in-time/Social learning
  • Scenario based learning
  • Others?

(Hello, this is the stuff that we want in our own business learning! This is what corporate Learning and Development teams need to implement within their own organisations )

Other models are:
  • Technology Integration Matrix (TIM)
  • SAMR
  • Social Construction of Technology or SCOT Theory

Papers websites and blogs about DLDA

Personal Thoughts and Reflections about How This Relates to Corporate Learning & Development:

  • Sometimes we need someone ‘radical’ to challenge our thinking and get us out of our comfort zone
  • We need to be open to change, experiment, be self-directed in our learning
  • Be mindful of other peoples place in the technology continuuum
  • Change is everywhere, technology will be threatening but finding out how we can make it work for us is an opportunity
  • It’s not about the “tools”
  • Use the technology for networking to grow your Personal Learning Network
  • Educators are just as challenged with this current environment as much as Learning and Development teams in organisations!

See the tweets of #dlda – click on the graphic below to take you to the Story!


About Helen Blunden

My unique super power is that I see learning experiences in everything I do. #alwayslearning
This entry was posted in Development, Work Narration and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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