Blog posts

Two discourses on 2020 remote learning… The 2020 Covid-19 pandemic is being talked of in higher education as a big experiment in teaching online but my observation is that two perspectives are emerging.

The Social Dilemma… The Social Dilemma arrived on Netflix at the end of 2020 with a clear message… Technology is controlling us. Here I share my thoughts on the film and some impacts on Education and how we might reframe and resist such controlling discourse.

Don’t just #pivotonline, question everything… Why have an exam? Why have a lecture? Why have a seminar? These learning activities in their traditional sense are not available right now so pretty much every education institution in the world are looking for alternatives…

The part-time undergraduate puzzle… Where are individuals going for lifelong learning and flexible education?

Data or intuition for design? Data is everywhere but can it inform design decisions?

What are universities for? An epistemological view on learning – A tale of extremes… It’s not a new question – What are universities for?

The myth of meritocracy and education… Meritocracy is the idea of opportunity for all regardless of background but based on ability. Sounds fair? Maybe not…

Heaven knows I’m stoic now… If you’re someone who dismisses The Smiths as ‘miserable’ and are prone to a continually positive outlook, dismissing any negativity, here’s a different perspective.

Let’s take our thinking beyond learning ‘styles’… As long as we accept that our knowledge and understanding is in constant beta and that there is no simple answer, we’ll be just fine. This week the argument against learning styles has gone mainstream.

Trump – culture, information and nationalism… Politics and culture in 2017 through the eyes of some classic sociologists.

The philosophy of learning objectives…In learning and education there is nothing that causes as much debate as learning objectives. Use the word ‘understand’ to articulate a desired outcome in a learner’s skill or knowledge and the room erupts into booing, hissing and alarms going off.

Connectivism – the knowledge of the connected individual… Knowledge is everywhere. In a mobile phone, a fitness tracker and our brains. Not a science fiction film but the learning theory of connectivism.

Politics is broken. Do we have any choice? Civic duty and voting feels like wandering down a homogonised global high street  for a coffee and only ever having the decision between Starbucks or Costa. Democracy in 2016.

The algorithm as your learning mentor… LinkedIn are using massive amounts of data on people to offer tailored learning courses and resources. Learning could be breaking out of the organisation. Can an algorithm produce your development plan?

Design thinking and education… Design thinking is getting a lot of attention in lots of areas – urban planning, services, technology, risk management and many more. Thinking like a designer can help everyone and you don’t need an expensive laptop, iPad or a beard.

The myth of talent and what next? This coming Friday, Rio will host the opening ceremony of the 2016 Olympic Games. When you marvel at sporting brilliance over the next few weeks consider the deep learning and practice that has gone on over years and thousands of hours. What happens when it’s all over?

Gareth Bale and language… Could Gareth Bale’s new found cognitive flexibility help on and off the pitch?

A divided UK – Bourdieu’s habitus… The results are in and the UK are starting their slow and cumbersome withdrawal from the Europen Union.

Knowing me, knowing EU… If you listen to TV soundbites you would think that we are certain to be heading out of the EU door on June 23rd. To be precise, the people ‘on the street’ picked for good TV soundbites are storming out of the door, shouting lots of expletives and waving a union flag! The EU referendum takes place this week. It’s all getting a bit real now.

Assessment… Words that strike fear into people – assessments, exams, appraisal, evaluation, tests! What is assessment and what is its purpose?

Cognitive load… It’s very easy to overload learners with information. We can reduce cognitive load.

Divide and conquer – grouping individuals… Dividing individuals into groups based on a multiple choice questionnaire is dangerous. The grouping of experts and novices may however be a good way to differentiate learning ‘styles’.

Interactivity… Often learning is described as interactive. This has become an adjective for good learning. It’s interactive, it must be good. It’s not very interactive means that it’s not very good seems to be the discourse in the world of learning. So, what do we mean by interactive and what is interactivity?

The learner and content… The relationship of the learner with media content is a fractious one.

Face to face and online learning… Online is just another medium which should be treated equally alongside it’s grandiose, moral high ground taking, well to do, face to face cousin.

The process of learning – How do we actually learn? How long is a piece of string?

Universal basic income – A revolution of choice as well as necessity – An income for everyone regardless! Utopian thinking or a solution to many 21st century issues?

A part time degree when you’re 30 – Reflections on my 4 years studying with the Open University.