Point-and-Click Learning

I was watching this seemingly everyday YouTube video called “A Magazine Is an iPad that Does Not Work”. It was posted as a tribute for Steve Jobs. At the end of the video, it said “For my 1 year old daughter, magazine is an iPad that does not work. It will remain so for her whole life. Steve Jobs has coded part of her OS.”

What other technology have we been taken for granted and consequently have shaped our view of the world? How do we prepare learners that are growing up in this generation and to make learning relevant to them in this changing world and changing platform?


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Learning with Videos

It recently occurred to me that there are such diversity of videos out there that cater to the visual learners in us. Gone is the talking-head shots that just ramble on. Now, when I watch video on the “how to…” topics, I am engaged by the creative ways these videos are put together.

As far as I can tell, these are the broad categories out there:

The “How To” videos
The best example of “how to” videos are undoubtedly WonderHowTo . They have every how to video under the sun, from how to draw a nude model to how to add extra buttons to the navigation bar on your Nexus 5. Users can submit their own how to videos and they can vote the videos up or down with a scoring system.

The Illustration/Draw-in-front-of-your-eyes videos
The RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) animate series are particularly delightful. It uses animation technique to draw out clusters of ideas and topics as the speaker narrate in the background. Check out their animate series here:

The “Edupunk” style videos
Edupunk, as defined by the New York Times, is “an approach to teaching that avoids mainstream tools like Powerpoint and centralized Learning Management System (LMS), and instead aims to bring the rebellious attitude and “do it yourself” ethos of 70s punk music movement to online learning.” The early days of Udacity certainly has the Edupunk feel as you see two slightly disheveled professors recording their lectures in a basement somewhere. The videos are often a little bit shaky and not professionally edited.  However, it is preciously this sense of imperfection that makes these videos so endearing and real.

The Lecture style videos
Of all the lecture style videos out there, I like Khan Academy the best. In lecture style videos, a series of tutorials are usually recorded by one (and occasionally two) teacher. These videos are then broken down by topics/lecture, and ideally are not overly long. Personally, I would recommend 2-5 mins per video before learners losing focus.

What do you think? Any more categories you like to add? Any good examples out there?

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One Slide Said It All: Making ‘Research in Learning Technology’ Open Access

One slide explain it all about the important of open access:

OLDaily: Making ‘Research in Learning Technology’ Open Access

via OLDaily: Making ‘Research in Learning Technology’ Open Access.

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Types of Self-Regulated Learning – An Ontology

I have been developing an ontology for self-regulated learning (SRL) theory for e-learning. It is part of a research paper I am working on, so I thought I would share it here as a work-in-progress.

System initiated – SRL activities prescribed by the system Learner-initiated – SRL activities actively pursued by the learner
Regulation – learners strategically engage in activities that assess, correct, revise, and re-engage earlier activities and plan forthcoming activities Reflection  – learners look back at their learning activities without concrete corrective measures and commitments to gauge their past activities and plan forthcoming activities
Reactive – the learner regulates study activities only as a response to suggestions from the system Proactive – the learner self-realizes and regulates study activities prior to receiving feedback from the system as well as responses to suggestions from the system
Push – learners are dictated to perform a specific set of study activities related to a set of target SRL outcomes Pull  – learners discover and perform specific set of study activities related to a set of target SRL outcomes
Social  – SRL outcomes target groups and communities using personal, collaborative, and/or cooperative activities Individual – SRL outcomes target individuals using personal, collaborative, and/or cooperative activities
Macro-level – SRL outcomes are targeted at a higher level of abstraction Micro-level  – SRL outcomes are targeted at a coarser level of abstraction
Structured – learners follow a prescribed pattern of SRL activities Unstructured – learners do not follow a prescribed pattern of SRL activities; instead, the types and the pattern of activities change dynamically
Personalized – SRL activities are custom-generated to suit the changing nature of an individual learner’s goals, needs, moods, and other such characteristics Generic – SRL activities are pre-defined and do not undergo changes in consideration of an individual learner’s goals, needs, moods, and other such characteristics
Intentional – the system makes it explicit to the learners that SRL activities are guided by intent. E.g. the system intent to assist the learner to set his/her learning goal. Accidental – the SRL activities are designed in a serendipitous way – associative links, tag clouds, multiple ways to explore the same topic, etc are all examples of accidental learning activities that can be self-directed and regulated.
theory-centric – SRL activities and outcomes are closely modeled after specific set of SRL theories theory-oriented – SRL activities and outcomes are loosely modeled (or even not modeled) after specific set of SRL theories
longitudinal – the context of application of SRL activities and outcomes spans multiple skills, multiple activities, and multiple goals skill-specific – the context of application of SRL activities and outcomes targets a single skill and its associated goals and activities
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More on Meta-learning

So I have more thoughts I want to put into draft form about meta-learning.

The idea behind meta-learning: learning is a skill one can improve
Meta-learning focuses on the process of learning – how to help individuals learn how to learn and create optimal learning environment.

Meta-learning includes:

  • continuous reflection
  • think in a holistic way
  • setting learning goals
  • monitoring your own progress
  • keeping track of your learning
  • seeking improvement in the learning process
  • benchmarking
  • sharing the learning with others
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Augmented Reality and Learning

Recently BMW Group is working on augmented reality windshield displays. I think this is a really cool idea and finally we are seeing more use of augmented reality(AR) technology integrated for commercial and practical use. I can’t help but think that perhaps the day when we can share more on how to use AR for learning is coming soon. Tony Karrer’s blog eLearning Technology did a good job summarizing some of the posts on topics relating to AR on e-learning.

For a definition of augmented reality, my trusted Wikipedia did a good job of explaining what it is:

Augmented reality (AR) is a term for a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data.”

For more information, you can read the full article in Wikipedia.

Getting back to AR’s application on learning, here are some thoughts and ideas I have about using it for workplace learning:

  • New employee orientation: I find it especially helpful when your workplace is somewhat enormous such as a multi-level office building or consists of several buildings. It is hard enough to remember every one of your new colleagues’ names, never mind where the kitchen and photocopy rooms are. We could develop something that provide helpful contextual information on where you are going, with virtual indications or “marks” superimposed on actual locations and to guide you around your new space.
  • A portable manual for tools/technologies/equipments: To take it a step further, there are also tools and equipments that you need help to operate. For example, I am terrible at operating a fax machine (old technologies are terrifying), and each time I need to fax something, which is rare, I have to bother my colleague to provide instruction and assurance that I am indeed putting the paper in the right way. Now, if only there is a way for AR to help overlay information and tips when I am at the fax machine, sort of a virtual user manual if you will. Again, the in-context usage is useful.
  • Knowledge management: So far, all the AR applications are being used on roads, buildings, surroundings, etc. Why can’t we have AR that scan human? It is not as scary as it sounds. For example, if I am working on a project on developing social media learning strategies for work, it would be helpful to have a technology to assist me in locating whom I can talk to within walking distance of my workplace. Who has the subject matter knowledge and how can I find out more information before I actually go and talk to him/her. Think of it as a navigation system for knowledge in the workplace. Of course, there are ethical issues and it will be restricted to work-related info and on a voluntary basis in terms of provision of information.

Can you think of any other use for AR for workplace learning? I would love to see some applications being developed and used out there.

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How to Live – Steve Style

A sad day for me and a sad day for the world of innovators, creators and dreamers. Here are a few of my favorite tributes, quotes, speeches and write-ups about Steve and by Steve:

and best of all,

Oh, and I think the fact that 2.5 million Steve Jobs tweets got sent within 12 hours of his passing speak volume about the man himself.

Steve Jobs – you will be sorely missed!


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Lately, I have been thinking a lot about meta-learning.

The idea of meta-learning came from Donald B. Maudsley (1979) in the field of social psychology. Maudsley described meta-learning as “the process by which learners become aware of and increasingly in control of habits of perception, inquiry, learning, and growth that they have internalized”.  Later on, Jon Biggs (1985) simplified it by saying it as a state of “being aware of and taking control of one’s own learning.” More recently, Jay Cross has an entire site dedicating to meta-learning at the Meta-Learning Lab.

When it comes to e-learning, it is even more important to focus on the process of learning – how to improve it, self-correct it, and benchmark against best practices. Often times, in self-paced, individualized e-learning environment, with the absence of a tutor, learners are required to self-direct and self-regulate one’s own learning. This is where honing in meta-learning skills will come in handy.

Here are some ideas and the corresponding tools/technologies that would help with applying meta-learning online:

Setting learning goals Use Remember the Milk to set your goals and check them off. You can break it down into micro-level: e.g. goal today is to watch two YouTube videos relating to your learning topic and read 30 pages on a particular book.
Reflect on what you learned Blog about your learning experiences in Blogger and invite others to comment. Access discussion forums.
Monitor your own progress Digital flash cards can help you review and benchmark how well you are learning a certain concept. Try StudyBlue, they are fairly easy to use and quick to set up.
Keep track of your learning Take copious notes using Evernote,bookmark and annotate sites you visited with Delicious.
Collaborate with others/seek out peer reviews and supports Use an online collaboration tool such as Google Docs
Sharing what you’ve learned with your peers Share your ideas on Slideshare, or on a wiki tool like Wikispaces.
Learn in a holistic way Follow subject matter experts and thought-leaders in your field in Twitter, subscribe to Google Reader on topics that are relevant to your learning.
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People In Montreal

I like to dedicate this to some of my friends in Montreal. They all contributed to making my time there so memorable.Thanks!

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Jean-Talon Market

One of my favorite hang out spot is the Jean-Talon Market and the surrounding area. Good food, diverse neighborhood and good people watching in general. I am drawn to all the colors and the movement of the market. Excellent location for sketching.  Here are a couple of sketches from there.

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