E-Learning 3.0 – Conversation with Shelly Blake-Plock

“Technology is easy, Culture is a bitch” Col. Bob Reddy DARPA Program Manager.

From my distant past efforts in implementing new technologies into training, education products, Bob’s words echoed into the present as I reflected on Stephen’s and Shelly’s conversation.

In the year plus that I have interacted with Shelly with his IEEE LTSC xAPI WG and ICICLE effort to define what a learning engineer is, I have found him to be consistently thoughtful and pragmatic. His leadership and energy were a great part of successfully leading 100 odd folks in the development of the “xAPI: A Guide for Technical Implementers” document.

The conversation with Stephen did a great job on presenting a xAPI 101 tutorial with Stephen as the straight man in the duo asking leading questions and getting at the xAPI “so what”. In the “xAPI: A Guide for Technical Implementers” you can take a deeper dive in how folks from K-12, HE and Industry are implementing the technology in the Case Study section of the guide. I am sure after reading that section, you will walk away intrigued with the idea of collecting a variety of experiential data besides course completion that can potentially provide you the course designer or you the student with some idea on how effective the material or activity was and how you are progressing. Because of the breadth and variety of experiences that can be instrumented it is easy to imagine capturing all of those lifelong learning experiences from K-HE and your work career to include the context of those experiences.

I wasn’t surprised to hear Shelly’s response to Stephen’s line of questions on how you might roll up experience data from multiple application data and from multiple LRSs (26:40 min) when he said it was “more of a policy question than a technology question”

He goes on to say in the example of data coming from a Higher Education institution and employer that the issue is one of their policies that allows them to work together. From the corporations’ point of view, “the training may contain intellectual property rights or trade secrets and methods”. Not openly sharing that traning data becomes a policy issue for them of protecting their competitive advantage.

I get that but…… isn’t it my data? Not so much is the answer.

The issue for me is open transportability of our longitudinal training, education, and performance data.

A bit of a digression to a previous blog post of mine “What, Why and How“, which was a reflection on Dexter Fletcher who I consider to be the godfather for  Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL). and the man behind SCORM’s Phil Dodd.

In 2005  Fletcher publishes “The Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL)Vision and Getting From Here To There”, that essentially repeats the 1997 ADL vision with updates on new and maturing methods and technologies e.g Intelligent Tutoring System (ITS), Semantic Web, Web Services, Personalized System of Instruction (PSI, and adaptive learning

One of the more salient points in his comment on structural and organizational changes when he says –

“With or without ADL, fully accessible, anytime, anywhere education, training, and performance aiding seem inevitable. They are likely to require structural and organizational changes in current procedures and practices. Sooner or later, existing organizations must deal with this evolution and its emerging processes, capabilities, and opportunities. It may be time to begin addressing the procedural and administrative opportunities and issues presented by ADL technical capabilities.”

Leaving out the references to ADL and substituting Corporation X or Institution Y for ADL, Dexter’s insight applies to today and the issue of free and open transportability of our longitudinal training, education, and performance data. The conversation with Shelly and Stephen on this issue of policy highlights and reminds me of the need for all of us to identify structural and organizational changes in current procedures and practices. Privacy and data governance are the top policy issues on my list if we are to leverage the possibilities of an instructional tutoring system or machine learning in the areas of training and education but also because I believe I have a right to share and access my data.

Maybe my “right to share and access my data” also lies with Tim Berners Lee’s SOLID project combined with my attempt to reclaim by internet identity with Tim Owens and Jim Groom’s Domain of One’s Own

Thanks Frank