PLEs and Workplace

During the PLE Conference I was asked to chair a paralell session on PLEs and Workplace. Just like it happened with the “unkeynote” that Jordi Adell and I organized, the organization asked the chairmen to avoid the usual dynamics and be… creative.

The communications were:

I noticed that the common denominator of the session was support, in the sense of “let’s tell our ‘supportees’ what does work so they can put it into practice”. With this in mind, I suggested to have the presentations not in a horizontal manner (i.e. projects are fully explained one after the other one) but in a vertical manner: we identify the main and common topics addressed by the three projects and the topics are covered one by one, that is: we choose a topic and all the presenters explain how they faced it.

The topics we identified were:

  • 1.- There are some problems in my learning process that need being addressed.
  • 2.- We (or someone else) have tried several solutions to fix these problems and found that they did not work: which were these (non-)solutions?
  • 3.- We (in our projects) have found some solutions that do work which ones are them?
  • 4.- How have these solutions that work been evaluated and the outcomes assessed?
  • 4a. How sere the solutions put into practice?
  • 4b. How was their performance evaluated?

What follows is the personal notes that I took on the fly (slightly edited for the sake of clarity), both from the speakers and the audience. The notes were taken on a blank presentation that was projected in the room, so anyone could see them and, as it happened, comment on them.

Problems that need being addressed:

  • Career advisors that handle huge amounts of knowledge. How to develop knowledge and share it? How to manage knowledge and make knowledge sharing work?
  • Physicians with low competence on e-tutoring: How to train trainers in the use of digital artifacts for training? How to make, thus, e-tutoring more efficient?
  • How to unclose the classroom?
  • How to avoid the deviations of meaning added by technological mediation?
  • How to fight certain attitudes that represent a barrier that prevent evolution/progress?

Solutions that did not work:

  • Traditional e-learning is not an answer.
  • Traditional training is nor an answer.
  • There are no training programmes or learning materials for specialists.
  • There is a deep ditch between knowledge management and e-learning.
  • Traditional educational systems require “full dedication”.
  • There are no “quick learning” programmes/methodologies, you always have to take the long path (but your needs/goals are in the short run).

Solutions that work (or not…):

  • Stating strategies, defining paths.
  • Designing and sharing models.
  • The PLME: personal learning maturing environment, a place where to test things.
  • Learning from the process itself and the context it is framed in.
  • Process + context = way to fit training into everyone’s needs.
  • Shareing not content but “people” by tagging the experts. Make the experts emerge: expert sharing (i.e. everyone is an expert). Indeed it is more about tagging people’s expertise than the experts themselves.
  • Assessment indicators are (a) relative to everyone’s goals/needs (b) qualitative and related to own path.
  • Assessment is yet another learning tool: feedback as feedback that really feeds the process back.

How were the solutions put into practice:

  • Providing useful tips: starting your own blog, starting following someone you find interesting,
  • Replicating.
  • 1 learner, 1 PLE.

Note: this part was, of course, richer, but got diffused or covered by the other questions.

How was performance assessed:

  • Checking whether the personal benefited the community.
  • A virtual desktop enhances not only sharing but monitoring and co-design.
  • Co-design leads to a certain degree of co-assessment.
  • Co-design is needs-based, not externally based.
  • e-Portfolios.
  • Recursive design, recursive assessment.
  • Extensive and intensive documentation while keeping hot tips simple.

I am aware that this dynamic penalizes knowing more about the projects themselves, so I encourage the reader to get in touch with the speakers or to visit their websites to get a deeper understanding on what they are working on (the how’s and the why’s, covered here ;)


PLE Conference (2010)