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08 Apr 07:16

How to Use Microsoft Teams Live Events

by Ella Murphy
How to use Microsoft Teams Live Events

Microsoft Teams Live Events, part of Microsoft Teams in Office 365, allows you to broadcast online events to audiences of all sizes, both publicly and internally.

In this article, we discuss exactly what Teams Live Events are and give you step-by-step instructions that will get you running your own live events in no time.

What are Teams Live Events?

At its simplest, Teams Live Events enables you to stream live video and digital content to audiences of up to 10,000 attendees.

Teams Live Events is designed for situations where the few are presenting to the many — contrasting with standard Teams Meetings which are designed for interactive and collaborative participation from many members of the meeting.

Ideal use cases for Teams Live Events include webinars, product demos, corporate presentations and conferences.

Additional features which add to the user experience include:

  • Live Q&A
  • Post-event video downloads
  • Attendee engagement report
  • Live captions and translation
  • Transcripts

With Teams Live Events, you can assign members of your event team as producers or presenters. With each member of the team using a different device, you can coordinate seamless and engaging online events from anywhere in the world at any time — regardless of where your presenters are based.

Do I need a Teams Live Event Licence?

You don’t need a specific licence, however you will need one of the Office 365 E1, E3, E5, A3 or A5 licences which include Microsoft Teams. The person creating the event must be a member of the organisation and can’t be a guest or from another organisation. They will also need to have an Exchange Online mailbox.

You may need to ask your IT administrator to use the Microsoft Teams Admin Centre to grant you permissions to create live events in Microsoft Teams and enable any associated permissions.

Teams Live Events vs Skype Meeting Broadcast

Teams Live Events is the new and improved version of Skype Meeting Broadcast, however there are a number of differences – which we’ll only briefly touch on here as Teams will be replacing Skype for Business on 31st July 2021.

For example, in Teams Live Events you can screenshare, which wasn’t possible with Skype Meeting Broadcast and Live Events also supports dial-in presenters.

Teams also supports external encoders and hardware for those who want to produce their events with external production tools and media mixers etc.

Event Team Roles and Responsibilities

Before we guide you through setting up you Live Event, you need to understand the four key roles involved in running a Teams Live Event properly:

  • Organiser
  • Producer
  • Presenter(s)
  • Attendees

Organiser in Teams Live Events

The organiser is the person responsible for selecting the event team members and their responsibilities, scheduling the live event, configuring the event permissions and settings and distributing invitations to potential attendees.

The organiser should also take responsibility for the event setup and any testing required before the event.

For example, you might simply decide to use your laptop’s integrated webcam for your video and produce your live event straight in Teams. Even if you do this, you should think of testing variables such as the acoustics in the room, lighting and your connection.

Microsoft have a great Teams Live Event Organiser Checklist here that’s worth reading.

Producers in Teams Live Events

There is only one producer. The producer sends the event live and also finishes the event.

The producer controls the live event, taking responsibility for ensuring the correct content and format is being presented at the right times to the audience. The producer can share their own video or screen share, as well as video and content from the presenters.

Presenters in Teams Live Events

You can have multiple presenters on your live events. Each presenter can present their audio, content (screen sharing), or live video (webcam or camera) during the event – but only if the event is being produced in Teams (as opposed to an external platform).

Presenters can also act as moderators if you have switched on the live Q&A session option.


Your Teams Live Event attendees can be external or internal attendees – depending on whether you make your event public or private. Attendees can join the event via their invitation link and can either view the event in their web browser or Teams app if they have it.

Public attendees can choose to either view the event as ‘anonymous’ or they can log in with their Microsoft account. If they do choose to join anonymously, they can still set a name for themselves if they wish to — which can optionally be displayed when asking questions during a live Q&A session.

How to schedule a Teams Live Event

To schedule a Live event, simply go to your calendar in Microsoft Teams. In the top right corner of the screen, click on the drop-down arrow and select ‘Live event’.

+ New Meeting

You’ll now be presented with the live event set-up screen. Here you can add the following details:

  • Title: Give the live event a name
  • Location: Add a physical location to the event, such as the conference room from which you’ll be presenting – if you wish
  • Start and end: Set the date and time of the event
  • Details: Provide details of the event for attendees
  • Organiser: you can choose if you’ll be the producer or presenter
  • Presenters: Add any other colleagues who will be presenting by typing their name or email address

Click next.

New live event

You’ll now be given the choice of attendee access permissions for your Teams live event.

  • People and groups: If you select this, you will see a box where you can add a person by name or email address – or you can add an Office 365 group (e.g. your Finance Team)
  • Org-wide: This will enable anyone within your organisation to join the event simply by signing in
  • Public: This means anyone can join the live event – as long as they have a link to the event

N.B. if the ‘Public’ option is greyed out, this is because it is switched off by default. You will need to contact your IT administrator and request that the public option is enabled.

Live Event Permissions

Below this, you will see further options to choose from.

How will you produce your live event?

The options are split into ‘Teams’ and ‘External app or device’.

We’ll be focusing on the Teams option, as the external device option is for situations where you might be recording and presenting from something like a professional film set-up with an external encoder – which is beyond the scope of most employees’ needs.

  • Recording available to producers and presenters: this is greyed out as this is automatically enabled
  • Recording available to attendees: this means a recording of the event will be created for anyone that missed the event or for those who want to watch the event again later
  • Captions: this is greyed out as we haven’t enabled this option, but if you choose to enable it you will be able to see text captions created based on the audio – and you’ll have the option to translate this to up to six languages
  • Attendee engagement report: this report gives you the option of accessing an engagement report which gives you information on the attendees
  • Q&A: this is toggled off, but you can toggle it on if you want event attendees to be able to ask questions to the presenters to inform a Q&A session during the live event

Once you’ve selected the options you want, click the ‘schedule’ button and you’ll see the following screen.

Get attendee link

The ‘Get attendee link’ button will copy a URL link to your clipboard, which you can then paste into anything from an email to a WhatsApp message – enabling you to share your link with potential attendees.

Following the event, attendees will be able to watch the event again with the same link — but only if you ticked the ‘Recording available to attendees’ option during the event set up.

Starting your Teams Live Event

If you have added presenters to your live event, they will receive an email invitation as in the example below. They just have to accept the invitation and add it to their calendar.

Join live event

Anyone acting as a Presenter, must use the Teams desktop app. It doesn’t matter if it’s Windows or Mac, but you can’t present using the web app or mobile app.

If you decide to remove them as a presenter, simply go into your calendar, click on your live event and then ‘edit’. You can remove the presenter and click ‘update’ which will send them an email saying the event has been cancelled with the option to remove it from their calendar.

As the producer, you can now get the event started. Simply go into your calendar and click on the live event. This screen will appear and you’ll be able to click the join button to join the event.


N.B. the event won’t be live straight away, this will just take you to the producer’s user interface where you can get your content ready before going live.

As you can see below, the producer’s screen is split into two separate windows with ‘Queue’ and ‘Live Event’.

You will also notice a yellow button stating ‘pre-live’ towards the top of the screen, which means the event isn’t live yet.

Queue and Live Event

At this point, if any of your attendees were to join the event via the link, they would see the following screen.

The live event hasn’t started

Adding content to the queue in Teams Live Events

On the producer’s screen, you can add content to the Queue. If a presenter has shared some content, you will see a small thumbnail image of their content at the bottom of the screen – which you can select.

If you are both the producer and the presenter, click the ‘share’ button and you will see all of the different windows you have open on your device. You can select any of these to share.

Microsoft Teams Live Events
Different windows

Select one and it will send it to the queue window.

If you’re on a laptop with a smaller screen, the window may crop some of the content so it appears as if some of the content is missing. Don’t worry about this — the content will display fully for attendees.

Attendee display

If you want to share video of you or a presenter next to the content, you can use the small button below the queue window to toggle between views (known as ‘single source’ or ‘content left’).

Queue format button
Content left

The ‘Content left’ layout appears like this, with the content on the left and a space for video on the right side of the window.

Microsoft Teams Live Events

To add video, click ‘add video from below’ and it will highlight purple.

Microsoft Teams Live Events
Add video from below

You can now select a video feed from yourself or one of your presenters and it will display next to the content in the queue.

Next, you’ll want to click the ‘Send live’ button which will add the content to the ‘Live event’ window too.

Microsoft Teams Live Events
Send live

The event is not yet live, so next you’ll need to click the yellow ‘Start’ button.


This will bring up the following prompt. Click ‘Continue‘ and the event will be live for attendees.

The start live event message window
Live Event Now?

You’ll know that you are live as you will see a red ‘Live’ button towards the top left corner of the screen — along with a red dot (recording), the event name, how long the event has been running and the numbers of attendees viewing the event.

Microsoft Teams Live Events
Live Event Demo

Now that the event is live, your attendees will see the content live on their screen — likely following a delay.

There will also be a red ‘End’ button under the live event window – which you can use to end the event once you’re finished.

Microsoft Teams Live Events

How to switch between content in Teams Live Events

Switching between content isn’t quite as simple as you might expect it to be. It’s very important that you run test events before your main event to ensure that you’re comfortable with the functionality and how to switch between your content and presenter’s content.

If you’re sharing some content live, you can’t add multiple pieces of content to the queue at once — which would be ideal.

For example, if you were sharing a PowerPoint deck and wanted to switch to sharing an application like Dynamics 365, you would ideally want to queue up the Dynamics 365 window in the queue and then send it live once you were finished with the PowerPoint deck.

However, you can’t do this. What you can do is click ‘stop sharing’. This will stop sharing your content and the attendees will see this screen while you find your next piece of content to share.

N.B. if you were displaying your video next to your content using the ‘content left’ view, your video will then be shared full screen with attendees while you find the next piece of content to share. 

Microsoft Teams Live Events
Stop sharing screen

You can then click ‘share’ again and pick the next piece of content which will be pushed straight into live – so be aware of this.

If you are sharing content, you can queue your live video and then click ‘Send live‘ (whilst you are selecting your next piece of content to share). This creates a more seamless transition, without showing attendees the ‘live event will continue in a moment’ screen.

N.B. It’s also worth noting that when content is being shared during the live event, if a Producer or a Presenter clicks ‘share’ and selects some different content, this will push straight into the live and attendees will see the content. Therefore, you’ll want to do a rehearsal of your event beforehand and make sure each member of the teams knows the timings for actions such as sharing and when their video is going to be live.   

Q&A in Microsoft Teams Live Events

If you enabled a Q&A when creating your live event, the attendees will have the option to ask questions in the right-hand Q&A window. They can either post anonymously or add a name above their question.


When an attendee asks a question, you’ll see a small notification above the ‘Q&A’ icon in the menu bar in the top right of your screen.

Q&A notifications in live events

If you click on the icon, it will open your Live event Q&A window on the right of your screen. You’ll see the new question(s) under the ‘New’ tab. You can either send a private reply, or you can click ‘publish’ which will make the question visible to all of the event attendees. If you choose to click ‘dismiss’, the question will be parked into the ‘dismissed’ tab.

Microsoft Teams Live Events

The questions you choose to publish will appear as ‘Featured’ questions to attendees. As you can see in the screenshot below, attendees can see featured questions as well as questions they have asked under the ‘My questions’ tab.

Microsoft Teams Live Events

You can also use the button ‘Make an announcement’ to publish message to all attendees. This is useful if you want to say something along the lines of “Hi everyone, the event will be starting in around 5 minutes”.

What to do after the Teams live event has finished

After the live event has finished, go back to your calendar in Teams and open up the live event calendar item.

Once the pop-up window opens with the event details, scroll down and you’ll see ‘Live event resources’.

Live event resources in teams live events
Live event resources

Here you can download:

  • Recording: a video file of the live event
  • Q&A report: a .csv file with record of questions asked, responses and identities
  • Attendee engagement report: a .csv file with names of attendees – where provided – and actions taken/roles

An example of the Q&A report is below where you can see a question asked by an attendee and the moderator’s response.

Microsoft Teams Live Events

The final thing to do is to follow up with your attendees with any resources you want to share as a take-away and your call-to-action.

About the Author:

Mike Smith is a Digital Marketer at Chorus, a UK-based Microsoft Gold Partner that helps organisations to implement and adopt Microsoft 365, Azure and Dynamics 365.


Smith, M. (2019). How to use Microsoft Teams Live Events. Available at: [Accessed: 1st April 2020].

The post How to Use Microsoft Teams Live Events appeared first on European SharePoint, Office 365 & Azure Conference, Amsterdam, 2020,.

31 Mar 14:17

Teams for the Office and Teams from the Home

by Brad Sams

On this edition, of Enterprise Dish, it’s all about how Teams has grown up as it turns 3 and adapting to the new environment of working from home.

You can find Dux on Twitter and learn more about his remote work tips, here.

The post Teams for the Office and Teams from the Home appeared first on Petri.

31 Mar 14:17

Microsoft Under Pressure to Improve Teams Video to Stop Customers Going to Zoom

by Tony Redmond
A Teams meeting with the 2 x 2 layout for the last speakers A Teams meeting with the 2 x 2 layout for the last speakers

2×2 View Doesn’t Cut Mustard Anymore

The recent upsurge in demand for cloud services (775% according to Microsoft) includes a large increase in Teams usage as customers move from working in offices to work-from-home due to the Covid-19 virus. As part of the transition, a huge number of Teams online meetings now take place, including many in the education sector as teachers figure out how to deliver classes to students.

As the number of Teams meetings grow, the 2 x 2 configuration Teams currently uses for participant images in online meetings has come in for a lot of criticism, especially when compared its video conferencing competitors, especially Zoom. Figure 1 shows a typical Teams video meeting in progress with the video feed for the last four speakers shown in the main meeting window and icons listed for the other participants below.

Figure 1: A Teams meeting with the 2 x 2 layout for the last speakers (source: Microsoft)

Although Microsoft has added features like background blur to meetings with the promise of more features like custom background, a new codec to deliver better audio quality, background noise suppression, and “raise a hand” (when you have something to say) to come, the layout used for participants has remained the same since Teams launched in preview in November 2016. It’s remarkable how this element of Teams has remained intact since.

Zoom’s Gallery Layout

The problem faced by Teams is that competitor offerings deliver more functionality for large meetings. A lot of recent comment has focused on the gallery layout used by Zoom to display meeting participants (Figure 2), with people saying that the gallery is more visually attractive and engaging that the Teams layout.

Zoom’s gallery shows up to 49 thumbnails of participants in a grid pattern per page, with multiple pages used to accommodate all participant. Zoom free plans and standard paid plans allow up to 100 participants in a meeting, with add-on Large Meeting options available (at extra cost) to bring the number up to 500.

Some might not like the way Zoom displays a large number of participant feeds in its gallery, especially if they are in the habit of turning their video off when they step out of meetings to take calls, but you can see how useful it is in a classroom environment to be able to see everyone, which is where a lot of Teams growth is today.

Figure 2: The participant layout for a Zoom meeting is more visually attractive (image credit: Zoom)

Teams Meeting Limits

Teams meetings support up to 250 participants and Teams Live Events, which need some production effort, can cater for up to 10,000 attendees, including guest and anonymous users. The level of interaction in a live event is much less than a regular meeting as attendees are restricted to asking questions via moderated Q&A.

A Longstanding Request for Expanded View

The demand for a Zoom-like layout is in Teams User Voice “Show video for all people in video meeting,” which has attracted 2,567 comments (at the time of writing) since the idea was first posted in November 2016.

In line with the recent surge in Teams usage, hundreds of contributions have been posted in the last few days. Some point to the need for early action by Microsoft, one saying “This is seriously killing our adoption of Teams. Request to purchase Zoom licenses for a few departments is being processed 30th March 2020.” Another bluntly noted: “Just lost 400 users who have now gone to Zoom.” Other commentators said that they have people switching to Zoom just to get the gallery view. And still more underline the desire for teachers to view a full classroom of students and not just those who are speaking, just like the view that they’ve have in a physical classroom.

Zoom and Privacy

Those considering Zoom should make sure they know what they’re getting into. Any application categorized as “a privacy nightmare with a terrible security track record” deserves some attention. There are many articles available to read about problems with Zoom. I took the quote above from this one; this LA Times article is also a sobering reminder of what can happen on videoconferencing platforms. Getting a gallery view is all very well, but would you trade your privacy for a feature?

Microsoft’s Response

On March 31, Microsoft responded to the pleas of its customers, saying: “Based on recent feedback, we have elevated the priority of the remaining work to increase the number of participants shown in the main meeting window. Stay tuned for more updates.”

This is no more than a holding statement to buy some time while the Teams product group figures out what to do next. They could move to a 3 x 3 (9 participants) or 4 x 4 (16 participant) grid or use a gallery view like Zoom’s. Microsoft demonstrated a 3 x 3 layout at the Enterprise Connect 2019 conference. Figure 3 is a screen capture from the keynote delivered by Teams GM Lori Wright.

Figure 3: Teams with a 3 x 3 video layout as demonstrated at Enterprise Connect 2019 (source: Microsoft)

All of this is idle speculation on my part, but whatever number of participants Microsoft chooses, speed is of the essence because classes need to be taught and people need to be seen in video calls.

Accelerating Developments

On the upside, there’s evidence that Microsoft is serious about moving up some other Teams developments to help customers cope with the effects of the Covid-19 virus. An example is the recent doubling of the membership limit for a team to 10,000 announced on March 27.

Perhaps the explosion of customer interest in increasing the number of participants shown in a Teams meeting allied to some healthy competition will encourage Microsoft to make fast progress with the Teams video view. In the meantime, if you want to add your weight to this debate, vote the suggestion up in User Voice.

The post Microsoft Under Pressure to Improve Teams Video to Stop Customers Going to Zoom appeared first on Petri.

31 Mar 14:16

Virtual Education Dilemma: Scheduled Classroom Instruction vs. Anytime Learning

K-12 teachers are faced with a question many likely thought they'd never have to ask: How often during the school day do my students need to see me and when?
31 Mar 14:16

Digest #142 (COVID-19 Edition): Online Teaching and Learning Resources

by Learning Scientists

In today’s digest, we would like to provide resources for teachers, students, and parents during the challenging COVID-19 quarantine. Learning and teaching is still going on, but mostly shifted online. In the past few days, we have all probably come across different resources to support this online learning experience and we thought it would be helpful to feature some of these here. If you come across a resource you want to share with us and our community, please feel free to do so here. We will collect all additional suggestions in this speadsheet. Thanks and stay healthy.


Resources for teachers

  1. Learning to Teach Online: Understanding & Optimizing an Online Learning Experience by Elizabeth Syben King (@elizabethonline) for Medium.

  2. Welcome to ACUE's Online Teaching Toolkit by Association of College and University Educators (@ACUE_HQ)

  3. Uploading lecture videos on YouTube by Dr Megan Sumeracki (@DrSumeracki)

  4. Going Online in a Hurry: What to Do and Where to Start by Michelle D. Miller for the Chronicle Vitae

  5. Teaching from home - advice for teachers and parents by BBT Bitesize (@bbcbitesize)

  6. Hope Matters - 10 teaching strategies to support students and help them continue to learn during this time of uncertainty by Mays Imad for Inside Higher Ed


Resources for students

  1. Students Can Respond to Daily Writing Prompts, Inspired by The New York Times, at Home for Free by The New York Times, @nytimes. This is part of a larger project, The Learning Network.

  2. Staying Productive During COVID-19 by Anna Salonen, Ellie Brownlie (@E_Brownlie), and Tereza Valová (@ValovaTereza); Year 2 Psychology (@UofGPsychology) students at the University of Glasgow (@UofGlasgow)

  3. ‘Keep calm, stay focused’: Expert tips for State exam students studying at home

  4. A guide to conquering the virtual instruction transition

  5. Use These Flashcard Apps to Make Your Study Session Less Analog

  6. 10 Online Tools for Better Attention & Focus


Resources for parents

  1. Education Companies Offering Free Subscriptions due to School Closings: Amazing Educational Resources

  2. NRICH Mathematics: “The NRICH Project aims to enrich the mathematical experiences of all learners. To support this aim, members of the NRICH team work in a wide range of capacities, including providing professional development for teachers wishing to embed rich mathematical tasks into everyday classroom practice.” 

  3. Your Kids Can Now Watch Astronauts Reading Stories From Space by Sarah Aswell for Scary Mommy

  4. Coding For Kids: Free Classes, Websites, and Apps by CodeWizardsHQ

  5. “Lesley University’s Center for Mathematics Achievement in collaboration with the Kentucky Center for Mathematics have put together this resource guide for parents and caregivers to be able to support children’s mathematics learning at home during school closures for the COVID-19 outbreak.” Resource document. 

  6. Glasgow Science Centre is doing daily sessions on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook at 10 am (UK time) - Including video experiments that you can try at home: #GSCAtHome

  7. 48 free resources for remote learning and home schooling by Angelica Azadyants for in-cyprus.


From time to time, we pick a theme and provide a curated list of links. If you have a theme suggestion, please don’t hesitate to contact us! Occasionally we publish a guest digest, and If you'd like to propose a guest digest click here. Our 5 most recent digests can be found here:

Digest #137: Lessons Learned From Learning Scientists Teacher Workshops

Digest #138: Fostering Self-Regulated Learning in Students

Digest #139: What Comes After School? Career Tips and Advise

Digest #140: There’s An App For That

Digest #141: Autism and Educational Settings

31 Mar 14:16

Wenger - Communities of practice…

by Donald Clark
Étienne Wenger, having studied groups of tailors in Africa, concluded that learning in apprenticeships comes less from the master than your fellow apprentices. This led to him working with Jean Lave, a cognitive anthropologist, to identify ‘communities of practice’ and learning in a social context with like-minded colleagues. This idea, of learning in communities, goes back to groups of craftsmen in Greece, Medieval Guilds and now exists in organisations. In terms of learning theory, it goes back to Dewey.

Communities of Practice

A community of practice is a group of people with skills and knowledge in common. It is different from a team, which has diversity of skills, roles and knowledge. A community of practice may, by contrast, be a very homogeneous group, of coders for example. They differ from teams in that their purpose is the development of capabilities and ‘practices’, are self-selecting and passionate about the group’s expertise. They tend to be more informal and self-organising.

Communities of Practice can be offline or online and are any group with a common craft or profession. They have of course, become more commonly online, or at least with online communications, with the rise of software that allows and facilitates communities of practice – social media, group texting, message boards and so on. The community of practice has a socially constructed identity which comes from other learners.

Functionally, communities of practice solve problems, develop and transfer good practices and play a big role in developing professional skills. And despite their informal nature Wenger believes that they need to be nurtured and suggests devoting time and money to that task.


There are serious problems with definition and scope. Apprentice groups, upon which the research and theory was based, are now relatively rare. The modern workplace has specific teams and/or more cross-networked structures, where there are no clearly defined communities of defined practice. It is difficult to define whether groups that are self-selecting, permanent/temporary, formal/informal, voluntary/mandated really are as clearly identifiable as groups, as Wenger thinks. 

It is also not clear that the social context is always as important as he claims. Much learning in academic institutions is largely solitary, with many learning on their own, rather from other learners. There is a sense in which the theory of learning squeezes everything, rather uncomfortably into the social box. This is a problem with all purely social theories of learning, that all learning must conform to the hypothesis, in the face of empirical evidence to the contrary.


Lave, JeanWenger, Etienne (1991). Situated Learning: Legitimate Peripheral Participation. Cambridge: Cambridge University PressISBN 0-521-42374-0.

Wenger, Etienne; McDermott, Richard; Snyder, William M. (2002). Cultivating Communities of Practice (Hardcover). Harvard Business Press; 1 edition. ISBN 978-1-57851-330-7.

Wenger, Etienne (2009). Digital Habitats. Portland: CPsquare. ISBN 978-0-521-66363-2.

31 Mar 14:15

Lead Remote Meetings that Get Results and Build Relationships

by David Dye

  Even after social distancing ends, remote meetings are here to stay. In this episode you’ll get several ways to ensure that your remote meetings are the best use of everyone’s time – including how to take advantage of technology to do […]

The post Lead Remote Meetings that Get Results and Build Relationships appeared first on Let's Grow Leaders.

31 Mar 14:15

Global Thought Leader and Influencer on the Future of Work

by (Jon Ingham)


It's great to be included in this list of thought leaders and influencers again.

Jon Ingham
26 Mar 09:52

National apprenticeship achievement rates fall below 65%

by Nick Linford

The overall achievement rate for apprenticeships fell last year by 2.2 percentage points to 64.7 per cent. 

National achievement rate tables (NARTs) published this morning by the Department for Education reveal the fall comes after three stable years when just over two thirds of apprentices passed the course (see table above and click here for the documents).

The old style apprenticeships being phased out by the end of July 2020 represent 82 per cent of all leavers and saw an achievement rate of 68.7 per cent.

Whereas the new ‘standards’ being phased in to replace frameworks had an achievement rate of just 46.6 per cent, representing 54,590 (18 per cent) of all leavers (see table below).

The government’s Minimum Level policy, for the purposes of making an intervention, has been set at an achievement rate of 62 per cent for several years.

It is understood a significant reason for the achievement rate fall has been delays to apprentices completing end-point-assessments (EPA) for the new style courses known as ‘standards’.

If an apprenticeship provider plans to complete the EPA by 31 July 2018, but the apprentice takes longer than planned, they are not included in the 2018/19 achievement rate figures.

In December the Education and Skills Funding Agency said: “Delays were for various reasons as the standards programme develops from its infancy, such as providers understanding how long new standards take to deliver, assessor capacity issues for some end-point assessment organisations, some providers not planning enough time for end-point assessments, and some apprentices taking longer than planned.”

To take account of these delays, the ESFA has also published a “new transparency table” for 2018/19,  to include withdrawals and achievements in the three months after year-end.

The DfE said: “We estimate that including these learners would increase the national overall apprenticeship achievement rate by 0.4 percentage points, and that for standards by 3.9 percentage points.”

24 Mar 07:23

Living in Switzerland, but working for American nonprofit

by pdonah1
I'm considering a job opportunity with an American nonprofit and they have just asked if I would prefer to be paid to an American bank account or a Swiss bank account. Could I be paid to a Swiss bank account, although the nonprofit is in the US? Or, if I were to be paid to an American bank account, am I able to transfer my salary to my Swiss account to pay rent, etc.? I have a C residency permit for Switzerland.
Thanks in advance
23 Mar 16:23

L&D Professionals Can Lead Through the Pandemic

by Dalia Molokhia

There is an entire generation that will forever remember where they were when they first found out about the 9/11 tragedy and have vivid recollections of the aftermath. Key moments in history like this invoke lasting memories, especially when those moments reverberate far beyond the here and now to shape our future. What lasts and lives on are the actions that people took and the decisions people made to change the course of direction. Today we are facing a global pandemic of colossal magnitude. There is much uncertainty surrounding this crisis, but what we do know is that we need […]

The post L&D Professionals Can Lead Through the Pandemic appeared first on Harvard Business Publishing.

23 Mar 16:16

3 Quick Tips for Microsoft Teams

by Ella Murphy

So, I have seen a bunch of home office setup photos with an open Microsoft Teams client in the last couple of days, and on nearly every picture I have seen something where I thought: “I wonder if the person knows this little tip or that little nugget!”

I will cover three quick tips in this blog post and give you instructions on how you can implement them! I will share my thoughts around those three tips:

  1. Pin a chat/group chat with a colleague to find it right away
  2. Reach your colleagues when writing something in a channel
  3. Sort your teams and hide channels you do not need

So, without further ado, let’s dive right in!

1. Pin a chat to find it right away

So, you may have moved to Microsoft Teams just a few days ago, or you started to use it more often for now. However, finding your way to the UI may be difficult – at least at the beginning!
This is why I suggest you pin your most used chats to the top, this way you don’t have to look for them every time you switch back to them!

quick tips for Microsoft teams
Pinned and Recent

You can do so by clicking on the three dots menu to the right of a chat or group chat. Then you just choose “Pin” and the chosen conversation will make its way to the top of your chat bar!

quick tips for Microsoft teams

There you go! You pinned your first chat! You can undo this by clicking on those same three dots and select “Unpin” in case you don’t need this chat that often anymore.

2. Reach your colleagues when writing something in a channel

I got some messages through LinkedIn asking how people can set their notifications because they or their colleagues don’t get notified when someone made a post on a channel.
Of course, you can reach out to every team member in every team to figure out their notification settings, OR you just start to use the @ in Microsoft Teams! Come on. This guy feels lonely without all the mail addresses we don’t write anymore!

Whenever you write a post just think about who you want to reach out to:
Do you want to reach the whole channel? Write @channelname
Do you want to reach the whole team? Write @teamname
Do you want to reach a couple of members? Write @name of every member

This way, the people you mentioned get a separate notification and can see you really wanted them to take notice!

3. Sort your teams and hide channels you do not need

This is again more likely a housekeeping tip, but it removes confusion and clutter from your daily work in Microsoft Teams. I think most of us are members of a team where we do not really need a whole bunch of channels. In that case, I just hide those channels I do not need to see every day.


Don’t worry, as long as your colleagues keep using the @ you get notified anyways!

quick tips for Microsoft teams

You can do so by clicking on those three dots to the right of the channel name you want to hide, then you pick “Hide” and the channels get hidden! You can undo this whenever you need to by clicking on “X hidden channels”, clicking the channel you want to show, and after that picking those three dots again and chose “Show”.

You can also sort your teams by click and hold on the teams name or picture. Doing so you can drag and drop each one around! Arrange them in a way you find it intuitive to pick them. Dont´t forget to add team pictures for fast visual orientation!

I hope those small tips help you throughout your daily work! In case you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn or Twitter, I will be happy to answer your questions!

About the Author:

Sven Seidenberg is a Microsoft Teams enthusiast! In his daily work, he mainly focuses on Microsoft Teams and the changes people and organizations have to cope with in order to accept and use the solution in the best possible way. Together with clients, he develops concepts about how Office 365 Apps can best help the organization to work more productively in their different ways. Besides more collaboration, it is also about automated and digitalized processes with Power Automate and all the other tools!


Seidenberg, S. (2020). 3 quick Tips for Microsoft Teams. Available at: [Accessed: 20th March 2020].

The post 3 Quick Tips for Microsoft Teams appeared first on European SharePoint, Office 365 & Azure Conference, Amsterdam, 2020,.

19 Mar 16:57

What’s New in Microsoft Teams: 3rd Anniversary Edition

Microsoft Teams turns 3 this week, and we’re inspired by all the stories you’ve shared of how your teams are using it to chat, call, meet and collaborate. Read on for the latest coming to Teams!


Teams Meetings

Great audio quality even under networks with high packet loss 
When joining meetings over a poor WiFi or cellular connection—whether taking a call on the go or joining a meeting from a crowded conference hotel—high data packet loss can adversely affect the audio experience. With our new algorithmic improvements in Teams, you now experience greater audio quality even under congested and lossy networks. Through a combination of smart jitter buffer logic, burst loss detection, and triggering of redundant transmissions, we can ensure smooth audio playback, even under high burst loss. Many customers are already noticing an improved audio experience, especially given the overloaded networks we are seeing today. These improvements have rolled out to Teams customers worldwide.

Keep the focus on you with Background Blur for iOS (coming soon)
Keep the focus on you and not what’s behind you! We are excited to bring this frequently utilized feature from the desktop to your iOS devices! You can expect to see this feature appear on your iPhones and iPads in the coming weeks.

blur ios.gif


Easily conduct interviews, virtual healthcare visits, and more with the Bookings App in Teams
The Bookings app offers a simple way to schedule and conduct appointments with external participants via Microsoft Teams, such as job candidate interviews, client meetings, healthcare virtual visits, virtual financial consultations, customer service appointments in retail, and more. Customers can manage multiple departments and staff in a single scheduling experience and can simply schedule virtual appointments with external attendees. External attendees receive a customized email invite with details of the appointment and a Teams meeting link to join, with the ability to join via their web browser in one-click, or using the Teams mobile app. The Bookings app in Teams will be available in the coming weeks. Learn more about how the Bookings app is helping to empower healthcare providers and patients here.

bookings app.png


Over the last few weeks, more people have been turning to Teams for their online meetings. So, in addition to the capabilities above that are generally available or shipping soon, we also want to share more innovation coming to Teams meetings in the next few months.

Raise hands in Teams meetings when you have something to say
Excuse me! The new “raise hands” feature in Teams allows meeting attendees to identify that they wish to speak, making it easier to actively participate in large meetings. Everyone will see a visual cue on the attendee’s video feed, as well as in the participant list, and can be sure to give them the room to participate in the conversation at hand.

raise hand 11.jpg


Reduce background noise in Teams meetings with noise suppression
Whether it be ambient noise from a café, noisy typing in a conference room, or construction noise outside your home office, unwanted background noise can be quite distracting in your Teams meetings. We are excited to announce real-time noise suppression, a new feature in Teams that will automatically remove unwelcome background noise during your meetings.

We will soon bring real-time noise suppression to Teams meetings and calls, and we are excited to announce that beginning soon, noise suppression will be generally available for recorded video content in Stream. Now it’s easy to eliminate distracting background noise in training videos or communications, so you can focus on the person speaking, not what’s happening around them.

Noise suppression works by analyzing an individual’s audio feed and uses specially trained deep neural networks to filter out noise and retain only the speech signal. While traditional noise suppression algorithms can only address simple stationary noise sources such as fan noise, our AI-based approach learns the difference between speech and noise, and is able to suppress all forms of noise including non-stationary sources that we commonly encounter in our meetings such as typing, eating chips, and road noise, just to name a few.


The new Satin codec makes the Teams meeting and calling experience even better
With our new Satin codec as part of Teams, you can do more with less. Teams will soon be able to deliver crystal clear wideband audio with as little as 7 kbps! While our Wi-Fi and cellular connections are leaps and bounds faster than this, Teams can continue to deliver the best audio experiences during periods of congestion and network handoffs without having to sacrifice video or screen sharing quality. We are excited to introduce this brand new and completely developed in-house codec with our Teams users in the coming months.


Teams Calling
Microsoft 365 Business Voice available in the US on April 1st
Small and medium businesses can now make and receive phone calls from Teams with Microsoft 365 Business Voice. Back in November, Microsoft 365 Business Voice, a cloud-based phone system for small and medium businesses, was launched in the UK and Canada. Starting on April 1st, Business Voice will be available in to purchase in the U.S. Business Voice provides the ability to make and receive calls from any phone number in Microsoft Teams, and is powered by the same robust technology, reliability, and security of our industry leading Enterprise Voice solution. In addition to the enterprise-grade features included in Business Voice, we made it easy for small and medium businesses to buy and setup. Learn more here.

Starting on April 1st, Business Voice will be available to purchase in the U.S. for $20/user/mo. Also, on that date Business Voice with a third-party calling plan will be available in over 70 countries.

Teams Devices
RealWear headset for hands-free Teams collaboration
RealWear, industry leader in head-mounted, ruggedized solutions is partnering with Microsoft Teams to support digital transformation in manufacturing and other industrial environments. For many Firstline Workers in manufacturing and other industrial environments, keeping their hands free and minimizing distractions are critical factors to their safety and success. This partnership brings together RealWear devices and Microsoft Teams to empower Firstline Workers while keeping their hands free. Teams on RealWear devices will be available later this year. Learn more here

Teams Walkie Talkie on the Samsung XCover Pro
Now there is no need to carry around a cell phone and a walkie-talkie! Walkie Talkie is a new push to talk experience in Teams that enables clear voice communication over the cloud, turning employee or company-owned smart phones and tablets into a walkie talkie. The Galaxy XCover Pro with Microsoft Teams simplifies and empowers Firstline Workers and their organizations to communicate and collaborate using just one device and one platform.

The functionality, built natively into Teams, reduces the number of devices employees must carry, and lowers costs for IT. Unlike analog devices with unsecure networks, customers no longer have to worry about crosstalk or eavesdropping from outsiders. And since Walkie Talkie works over Wi-Fi or cellular data, it can be used across geographic locations. The capability will be available in the Teams mobile app and integrate with the newly unveiled Samsung Galaxy XCover Pro, a device built for workers on the front lines of any industry.

The XCover Pro will be available through Microsoft retail stores starting in mid-April, and Walkie Talkie in Teams will be available starting July. However, you can buy the phone and use the existing Teams functionality before Walkie Talkie functionality is available.

walkie talkie.png


Introducing Bose headsets for Teams
We are thrilled to welcome Bose to our Teams device category. As a well known and loved consumer headphone, customers can expect that sleek stylish design. The Bose Noise Cancellation 700 UC (NC700) will be Teams certified and available for purchase later this Spring.



Teams collaborations bars let you transform your small spaces into collaborative workspaces!
Collaboration bars allow you to turn your focus rooms or smaller conference areas into high-quality, collaborative meeting spaces! These affordable, simple to install and easy to manage video conferencing solutions attach to displays, TVs or touchscreens to deliver high-quality, collaborative video meetings. Using one-touch or proximity join, users can seamlessly join meetings to share content and engage in whiteboarding sessions – all while experiencing clear, high-quality audio and video.

The VC210 from Yealink is now available for purchase, and the Poly Studio X Series will be coming soon.

To learn more about collaboration bars for Microsoft Teams read our blog here!

yealink and poly.png


New Teams phones from Poly
Meet the Poly CCX Series, a range of native Teams phones to help users to transform the way they communicate. The series offers a range models to choose from, starting with the CCX400 and up to the CCX600. You can personalize yours with a headset that suits your style or use the traditional handset. The Poly CCX series is available today.


Device management experience in Teams admin center
Today, administrators have the ability to manage certified Microsoft Teams phones from the Microsoft Teams admin center. Coming soon, we will extend this support for Microsoft Teams room devices and collaboration bars. This will empower admins to perform key actions such as update settings, restart devices, gather logs, review device call quality data, and more.


Teams for Firstline Workers
Get ahold of the right on-shift employees using targeted communications 
Currently, with Targeted Communications in Teams, you can create tags to organize users manually based on attributes such as role or location. You can message everyone assigned to a tag in new chat or bring attention to a channel post by @mentioning the tag name. And coming soon, Teams takes the guess work out of knowing who is on-shift when needing to communicate as messages can be targeted to recipients based on their role and the shifts they are working. Users are automatically assigned to tags matching their schedule in the Shifts app in Teams, which allows for integration with major workforce management systems, including AMiON, JDA, and Kronos.

targeted comms.png


Workforce management integrations and Teams
Integrate Kronos Workforce Central v.8.1 with Shifts for the following scenarios: viewing schedule, publishing and requesting open shifts, swapping shifts, requesting time off and offering shifts. Check out the technical documentation here and the code on GitHub here.


New Capabilities in Shifts
Teams has made major upgrades to the Shifts experience for firstline managers and firstline workers. By freeing up time, managers and team members can spend more with customers instead of being administrators.

Schedule filtering gives users the option to filter by team members or schedule groups, making it easier to manage large shift schedules.

shifts filter.png


Recall shared schedule allows managers to recall single or multiple days of a shared schedule, in order to make any necessary changes.

recall schedule.png


The "Your shifts" view makes it possible for team members to quickly access their shift information without needing to scroll through the entire team schedule. . This will be the new default landing page for Shifts on the web and desktop for team members only. (The default Shifts view for managers will not change)

your shifts.png


And for team members using Android devices, they can easily send a chat to their coworkers who are also working at the same time from the Shifts app.

shifts mobile.png

In addition to the “…”drop down menu in the Shifts app, content to help end users navigate the Shifts experience is also available under popular topics in the Help section, titled ‘All about Shifts’.


Updates to Microsoft 365 Licensing for Firstline Workers 

We are introducing a new Firstline Worker SKU that has been designed to meet the core productivity needs and extend security and identity value to all workers. Learn more here



Teams Chat & Collaboration
Pop out Teams chats into multiple windows
We all have those days when you have several conversations you are participating in simultaneously. Now you will be able to pop out individual Teams chat conversations into a separate window, to help you streamline your workflow and more easily move between ongoing conversations.


Access Teams even without an Internet connection
Now you can open and access Teams even when you are on an airplane without Internet access, or on a remote work site with terrible network conditions. Teams is enhancing the user experience for offline (no Internet connection) experiences and for low-bandwidth network environments. We are happy to announce that the first phase of multi-phase rollout is complete. Teams users will now be able to open Teams even when no network is available. You will be able to create and read messages, browse previously viewed channels, and to view calendar summaries. Pinned chats, pinned channels, and recently visited chats and channels will always be available offline.

Teams is also now optimized to work in a low- or poor-performing network scenarios. For example, users will now be able to send messages even with sub-optimal connectivity. If conditions are too poor to send a message, Teams will notify users of this and then save the message until the user has returned to a functioning network. This functionality is coming to Teams in the next few weeks.

Include up to 10,000 users in an individual team

We have raised the upper limit on individual team membership from 5,000 to 10,000 users. We are excited for this increase in team membership to power collaboration and process scenarios especially for large teams and organizations that rely on firstline workers. This limit will start rolling out to customers next month. 

Group chat with up to 250 people
Sometimes you need to kick off a big project chat with a large group, or organize an ad-hoc discussion with staff at an event, but it is unnecessary to start a new team; perhaps you don’t all work together on a regular basis, or maybe you need a communication channel with a large group of people at an event. Group chats will be able to accommodate up to 250 users! This limit will start rolling out to customers soon.

Teams & Skype Consumer chat and calling interoperability
Teams users will soon be able to find and communicate with users on the Skype consumer service, allowing businesses using Teams to engage with customers and colleagues on the iconic communications platform, across all clients including iOS and Android.

This new interoperability will allow Teams and Skype consumer users to chat and make calls using Voice over IP (VoIP) initiated by either client using an email address (phone number or Skype ID searches are not supported at this time.) For safety and security, Teams users can accept or decline first-time conversations with Skype users, and may block and unblock contacts.

This highly anticipated feature begins rolling out in Teams by the end of March. Learn more about Teams and Skype interoperability and how to enable this setting in the Teams admin center.

17 Mar 07:40

COVID-19 and its Impact on Learning

by Craig Weiss

There isn’t any way of saying this, the Pandemic will impact all of us, no matter where we are located in the world.  No one can say when it will pass or when we can get back to some level of normalcy. 

This post isn’t about the virus and what you should not do, or where you can’t go, etc., rather it is about the virus and its impact on learning, at the corporate level and education too.


It’s impact is already being felt at schools around the world.  Most are closed or will be in the near future.  This means that a lot of students will be taking online classes and content.

And this means that teachers will have to create content that is meaningful and relevant to whatever topic or topics that are to be covered during this time.  At the university level, at least in the U.S., many are closed, with again, others soon to follow suit.  Each of them, will have students go online to take classes, content and so forth.  And just as in the K-12 sector, professors, instructors, lecturers at the university level will need to create effective and meaningful content.

The Elephant in the Room

90% of the content I see coming out of the education sector is bad. It is boring.  It follows a synchronous based approach using a syllabus.  Linear is the route the majority of schools and universities follow when they provide online courses.  Classroom via a webinar normally requires students to be online during that time frame, fine if you are 10 yrs old or in high school, bad if you are at a university during this time, where the students are not situated at the college itself, requiring folks to now access the “live webinar” during a time zone that likely will not be conducive.

Thus, if you are a university in Michigan, Eastern time here in the states, and you have students on the west coast, which is three hours behind you, and you schedule your live classroom online (via a web conferencing) for say 11 a.m., this means that your students on the west coast have to be online at 8 a.m.  If you have students that are overseas, the time is beyond not conducive.   Hawaii?  Nobody is getting up at 4 a.m. to attend your live class.

Homework is another fiasco when it comes to online learning for education.  Again, K-12 is one thing, for a university where students are not at a central location is another thing. Faculty will need to recognize that it is not the same ol same when it comes to e-learning. If you are following a syllabus and thus linear learning, you will need to create your content ahead of time, in advance frankly, before you have one student go into your learning system and take a course or whatever materials you are presenting.

You will need to give them time to complete the assigned work and/or reading.  Speaking of reading, you must have the reading content ready to go for download with say a PDF format.  You must recognize that not everyone is on high speed, thus, if you have a 5mb PDF, then you should break it down into sub-chapters so it is no more than 800KBS. 

If you are asking students to watch video content, again, be aware of bandwidth speed.  Let’s say at your university the speed is 50mbs or 100mbs.   But in certain states, someone may only have 5mbs.  Thus, having a video which consumes a lot of data, if say someone is to watch it via their mobile device, will in return cost the student money, if they do not have an unlimited data plan.

Typically at the university level, you read material, then post your comments or a review of the material on a discussion board.  Then the instructor/professor/etc. goes online, reviews what you said and respond accordingly.  The problem of this, is that many faculty members are slow to respond.  Some never read all the posts, but get on students when they fail to respond to every post.

Then there are faculty members who will say this is due by this exact time and date, forgetting that someone could lose their net connection, or there may be issues with the professor’s e-mail account, or setting a deadline time is ideal for the professor, not everyone else.

Setting a deadline is fine, but as an educator you must allow people to submit material that is 10-30 minutes late.  You must recognize that there are factors out there, and this is not your physical classroom.

Uh Oh

As noted earlier 90% of content via HE and even K-12 is horrible.  It is static, with lots of texts, maybe a video or two incorporated and pictures.  Whippee!  It is rare to find universities adopting asynchronous based learning which is where someone can bounce anywhere they want to in the course, focusing on what is relevant to them.  The course is self-contained as we say.  And it can be done at any level, although it is ideally suited for higher ed.

Mobile can be leveraged as well.  Have your students create a one minute or two minute Tik Tok video on some subject matter you are covering.  Maybe create an Instagram page or some other social media site that is popular with students in higher education.  Have them incorporate these types of sites into their learning.

Add a gamification component. You want students online?  You want them engaged? You want to show them that knowledge is fun?  Then tie a gaming piece in here, with a reward or benefit at the end.

LXPs are ideally suited for these challenging times, because they can allow the students to pick their interests and/or topics they want to learn.  You as the faculty member can set up what topics are available.  Numerous learning systems offer the playlist or channel option, whereas again, as a university or even a school, you could tap into. Many of your students are listening to Spotify and similar sites, so the playlist angle makes perfect sense.

As an educator, the worst thing you can do, is present boring content.  Just because you have a captured audience – i.e. required, doesn’t mean that you should bore them.  There won’t be any retention here, because boring doesn”t drive it.

Instead of tests, ask students to complete a project that they can post online.  Engagement here is essential during this time, not stagnation.  Maybe have your students say in 3rd grade, create their own puzzle or something that is easy to do within your learning system.   Many learning systems in the K-12 range offer teachers unlimited resources via a repository, where the resources may come from teachers located globally or more often than not, other teachers in other school districts that are on the system.

So why not the kids themselves?  Have them do an assignment that is creative and then post those items in a repository too? Maybe they create a set of steps for how to make a paper airplane (OK, i haven’t been 12 in a long time), then have that placed in the repository for other students.

Create a series of teams with students being in a team.  Then the team competes with the other teams.  Allow the students to create their own nickname.  You in turn create the “Event” that everyone competes in.  I can tell you from experience at the high school level, this works (I have done this personally at the HS and college level).

The onus is on you the teacher.  Not the student. Not the parent, but you.  Take the time, change the narrative, create engaging and fun and your students will love it.  Especially during this time.

Corporate Impact

There are people who enjoy working from home, and others who struggle to work from home – a TV, the internet, nobody is watching me, so I can take a nap. 

The virus is impacting the corporate market as we speak. Offices and establishments are being closed, with employees working from home.

E-Learning will pay a very big role in these coming months and the virus’s impact on learning will be visible.

Say so long to ILT for the time being

Face to face learning in a classroom, board room or wherever you hold your sessions is no more.  At least not for a while. Webinars will need to become the new solution (if you have not done so before).  What is a plus about webinars is even if a person cannot attend in real-time (i.e. live), the webinar is recorded so that someone can view it on a latter date.  You could even add the webinar recordings to your content, so that folks can re-watch them at anytime, and multiple times as well.

The webinar recording can include the questions that people asked. If you want to take it an additional step, people who view at a later date, could submit questions to the presenter and they – the presenter could follow up directly with them.  Any materials can be shared, and even placed in a repository for future sharing and viewing/downloading.

Skills Development and People’s Interest

Workers will have a lot on their plate, but research has shown that most people access a learning system out of the workplace (excl. hourly, union, retail, seasonal).  We should focus on the skills development and building angle, rather than on the job role, which is the current approach.

This job role angle is heavily skewed to white collar workers, which is fine if is your only group, but not fine, if you have a mix of white and blue collar workers.

By focusing on skills development for your entire workforce, and what skills they are interested in acquiring, regardless of their job role, you are now offering your employees a great opportunity to gain new knowledge or build upon their knowledge based on their interest.  This is where an LXP can really work.  Other type of learning systems could as well, as long as they offer a way to provide a playlist or similar for their end-users.

Maybe your learning system (LMS) cannot have it so folks can pick their interests or topics up-front.  No worries.  When the end user logs in and goes to their home page, the administrator could ask them to complete a survey that will identify their interests/topics of interest, then from there the administrator can put together a catalog of content for those folks who prefer this topic or that topic and the content contained within.

Or if your system offers skill ratings, and skills development, then use this component or components to identify topics or areas of interest your learners want to learn.

Now is the not the time to push compliant or regulatory content as your only option for your learners.   If you must, then have it, but make sure there is more personal and professional development content.  If you have proprietary then yes, include that as well, and assign it to the folks who will need to take it.   But offer it and frankly all the content with a table of contents, so that your employees are not forced to watch the whole video or the whole course, because, they won’t. 

Peer to Peer sharing will offer a great opportunity for your employees.  Get people involved in sharing playlists, sharing content, sharing ideas on this or that, even with their interests, which most employers ignore when it comes to “sharing”.  People are more likely to relate to someone just like them, so a warehouse worker is more likely to take content if another warehouse worker recommends it, more so than if the division head recommended it.


One topic to instantly share is best practices to work remotely.  You can create a quick course in any authoring tool and push it online, but what I would do is – if you have coaching – push out the question, “What are your recommendations for working remotely” or something along those lines.   Encourage responses by tying in gamification.  Assign points to anyone who responds.  Share it with another learner? Points.  Create a mini video and publish it with your ideas? Points.   Collaborate on something, points and so forth.

Remote Newbies

Create engaging and interactive content.  Look people that work from home are either experts and doing so, or are newbies.  The latter group will either have folks who will actually work, and then it will have folks like my nephew who worked from home, a bit back, which consisted of him watching online movies and surfing the net for the entire day.  The only time he worked, was responding every once in a while on Slack, but since the work wasn’t something that was visible online, he respected that process, and responded by doing no work.

He is 23.  I think you see where this is going.  I know people who are in their forties who are not into remote work and would do similar for as long as they can get away with it.  Thus, knowing that output for some folks will drop, push online learning as part of their weekly work schedule.  

Have them pick content that is of interest to them, or put a catalog together of all types of content, and notify that employee that they are expected to use the learning system each week to acquire knowledge and learn.   The spin is necessary otherwise, it will feel as though your most hated school teacher is back and staring right at you with their coffee and cigarette breath.  You know who I am referring to.

Mix up your learning acquisition

This is to say, offer more opportunities for various types of learning (webinar, courses, micro or other, ebooks, podcasts, etc.) for folks to take (but they do not have to complete).  If you have been waiting for the right time to launch your interactive courses, now is the time.  If you have been waiting for the right time to launch your VR or AR course, now is the time. 

I do not see any challenges from the customer training aspect, since many customers who take B2B online do so from elsewhere.  Thus, since Starbucks and many other coffee houses are closed from walk-in and relax on uncomfortable sofas,  these folks will access the content from their abode. 

The biggest challenge for remote working and e-learning will be blue-collar workers. But with the content that ties into their interests, it can be achieved.

This is an ideal time to start your coaching online program, which many learning systems have some component of it today (not all mind you).  Some systems offer a robust coaching capability, so if you haven’t used it in your system, and it offers it, now is the time to do so.

With blue-collar workers, make sure that you offer experts or those defined as “experts” within the coaching capability, are in similarity.  You could also have an expert in say Management that is available to any end-user, even those with blue-collar jobs.

The Time is Now

When you visit this blog, i.e. mine, you will notice on the main header “Free Resources During Pandemic“, this is a new section to the blog, where you can find a list of vendors offering free content (for your system or as a standalone), free access to their learning system, free authoring tool or other e-learning tools, and/or a discount.

I created this page as a way to bring the entire e-learning community together to share resources and provide additional resources to help along the way.  Every vendor who is on the list, and it will continue to grow, recognizes that we are all in this together.

Most of the content is not COVID-19 prep in case you are wondering, rather it goes all over the board. 

The page will be updated continuously, so check back often.

Bottom Line

I found it somewhat odd that many in the media and in politics are making out online learning as this new concept in learning, that is new and who knows if it will work or not.

The fact is this:

It does work.

It can be very effective and more engaging than OJT, ILT or reading a manual.

But you need to bring it to the workers.

By pushing topics of interest, their interest – not yours, and what they wish to learn to acquire new or build upon skills. 

Onboarding is still very doable.  Reskilling? Doable.

Upskilling? Doable.

Learning that will work for all?

E all the way.

As in e-learning.

E-Learning 24/7



10 Mar 19:22

Ton of tools and 10 things to do if you're new to online learning...

by Donald Clark
Schools and Universities in several countries have closed down for weeks. But life goes on. Or does it? Do educators simply give up and wait until students come back or do what they should do and switch to safer online teaching and learning?

If you’re faced with this cliff-edge, there are several things you should consider when moving online:

1. Be positive and communicate

See this as an opportunity to expand your skills and don’t go all ‘anti-tech’. Keep yourself and your learners positive. See it as a project, more importantly, see it as a way of doing the best for your students.Communicate this to your learners as they'll be looking to you for reassurance. Grasp the opportunity.
Communicate with your students - ask where they are, what kit they've got, bandwidth... Oh and change your language... 

Homework – was there ever a worse word for learning? As we switch online let’s also drop ‘online class’… ‘lecture, lecturer’… use the language of the web… message, link, screen-share… 
Don't rush it with pages of links. Build slowly. step-by-step - it's a case of less is more.

 2. It’s been done before

Remember millions of people have learnt and are learning online. Entire degree courses, where the learners graduates without setting foot in a campus or having any face-to-face teaching are now common. I attend graduation ceremonies every year for thousands of such students... and they often outperform their campus-based peers. This means there’s a wealth of techniques and technology that have been tried and tested. If possible contact the professionals in this field run. your organisation. They've thought about this and most probably done it already.

3. Use the platform you have

Your organisation may already have a VLE or LMS, like Moodle or Canvas, that has a ton of functionality that is underused. The advantage of taking this route is that all teachers and students should be registered and delivery and tracking should be easy. You’ll also get some internal support and there’s a large community out there with the same problems. Your school may be using Google or Microsoft tools already… You’ll be surprised how good Google Docs and other tools can be in this situation.

4. Synchronous v asynchronous

Think first about what you want to do in realtime or not in realtime. What can be done asynchronously, like email, NOT in real time and what do you want to take place synchronously, like a webinar, in realtime? My advice would be to use synchronous techniques sparingly. Make asynchronous your default.

5. Synchronous

For synchronous teaching Skype, Zoom (my preference - free Zoom account OK for up to 40 mins and 100 students and doesn't bugger up your computer), Hangouts or other comms tech can be used to deliver lectures, webinars or teaching sessions. You can do this showing your face but also switch the video off to use audio as you screenshare your slides, documents etc. One of the advantages here is that you can also link out to other online resources. Remember that you can also take questions and encourage discussion, create groups discussions, breakout groups and so on, with such systems. Your sessions can also be recorded for revision access. It’s good to acquire these skills.
Single biggest mistake in learning using Zoom, Skype etc- the idea that the image of a talking head is always useful.... which is why Khan and others got rid of it in their content... if I'm learning math, I want to see the maths... SCREENSHARE, SHOW, WORKED EXAMPLES... open, close and perhaps  for a little reflection or debate in middle...

6. Asynchronous

Of course, you needn’t use video or live face-to-face events at all. If you don’t want to do live lectures online, you can always record them in PowerPoint (yes folks it's easy in PPT and save as MP4) Zoom or Skype. Your institution may have your already recorded lectures from last year. Keep them short and simple (research has shown that 6 mins chunks is a good limit). If not, find a way. If need be... record on your laptop or mobile.

Use email, or other social media platforms to communicate with students. Consider the plethora of other tools available – chat, messaging and so on. Remember that’s where they hang out – all of the time! Reading materials – easy but also consider other online resources such as YouTube videos, podcasts and open source online learning content – there’s a ton of good stuff out there. Don’t get hung up on trying to create ALL content yourself. There’s Khan Academy for maths and tons of other free stuff. This should improve your curated content for future classes. For quick content you can use the likes if WildFire (AI creates the content).If you workmen a school try the excellent Khan Academy.

7. Homework and assignments

First things first. Your students will already have or expect homework and assignments. Keep this going and make them an integral part of your online plan. In a sense, you can sell online learning as on-going, supervised homework! But set deadlines for students to return work to you online and be clear, REALLY CLEAR about the expected output. Qualtify 'xxxx words' and give clear deadline 2pm the 3rd March. Specify media types and file type. You may want to experiment by asking students for audio or video outputs. Don't get too ambitious with group work. Some will not do it.

8. Feedback

This is a real opportunity to up your game on effective and regular feedback. Use well-established, high retention techniques like retrieval practice and spaced practice. Things that are easier to do online. Use this opportunity to be more innovative. For example, with spaced practice start every new session with a recap of the last session and end with a recap of what you’ve just done. Interleave content.

9. Assessment

Don't be too ambitious with this. Keep to a low-stakes assessment schedule. You may have trouble getting students to stick to your plans and schedule, so use a series of formative (not summative) assessments to keep them on track. This will allow you to spot those who are struggling and provide more help.

10. Continuity

Keep up momentum. Have a schedule. Stick to that schedule. They will respond if you respond. If something doesn’t work, try something else, something simpler. Don’t be too ambitious with the tech. Keep it simple. Above all keep up regular comms with students, without flooding them. Give them time to complete tasks, generate their own work. Ask for their help. They may just be more online savvy than you think. And thank them – regularly!


Don’t panic. See this as an opportunity. You may find that you get a closer relationship with your students. Things will go wrong – that’s tech –like uncooked spaghetti, it tends not to bend but break. Not a problem. There’s always an alternative. Good luck.


Great in-depth advice from Stanford

Stanford’s Professor of Mathematics Keith Devlin explains why online may be good for you as a teacher

Zoom offers video tool to schools free. Once verified, Zoom will remove 40-min limit for Basic accounts. Currently available for schools in Austria, Denmark, France, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Poland, Romania, South Korea and the United States....register here


05 Mar 18:16

Teams, Surface Earbuds, and the Microsoft 365 Assistant

by Brad Sams

Last week, Microsoft made a significant announcement: the company is changing the role of Cortana. Rather than being a general-purpose AI bot like Alexa or Google Assistant, the bot is moving explicitly forward as a productivity assistant.

Considering that Microsoft’s marching orders are all about improving productivity, this isn’t a big surprise. The company’s digital assistant found itself as an orphan once Windows Phone was shut down and its usage on iOS and Android devices is anemic according to those familiar with its usage in the US.

Internally, Microsoft has been referring to Cortana as the “Microsoft 365 assistant” for some time and frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the assistant publicly rebranded as well. ‘Cortana’, which is a character from the company’s Halo games, doesn’t make much sense anymore. And considering how hard the company is pushing Microsoft 365 and that they are now pivoting Cortana to productivity, the Microsoft 365 Assistant becomes a more logical name.

Late last year, Microsoft announced the Surface Earbuds and then a few weeks later, said that the hardware was delayed; the Earbuds are currently expected to arrive this spring. It is my understanding that the reason for the delay was software related as the productivity features for the new hardware were not ready to be released.

Microsoft showcased how you can use the Earbuds to move between slides and the company has other functions that would pair with this messaging as well; specifically the ‘Play My Emails’ feature. According to people familiar with the company’s plans, Microsoft is looking to expand ‘Play My Emails’ with new features under a ‘commute’ banner.

The idea is that with the Earbuds (and presumably Surface Headphones or other headsets) you can have Cortana/Microsoft 365 assistant, play your emails, read your calendar for the day, and other audible interactions with your agenda while heading into work. Further, it can help identify when you actually need to pull out your phone by saying if an email/presentation/pdf has a lot of visual content.

Along with expanding the Play My Emails feature, Microsoft is testing an expanded role inside of its popular Teams application. The company is working on adding new features to Teams that would allow Cortana to send files, create chats, present content while in meetings and quite a bit more. The company is experimenting with the location to add Cortana into the application but it may end up landing in the search bar at the top of the window.

While the pivoting of Cortana was inevitable, and I do hope that the assistant is rebranded, this path forward is sustainable for Microsoft as Cortana can once again add value where others can’t. Siri, Google Assistant, and Alexa will continue to rule the consumer landscape but Microsoft is primed to own the productivity market as its digital assistant has the exclusive ability to dance around the wealth of data accessible within the Office 365 graph.

The post Teams, Surface Earbuds, and the Microsoft 365 Assistant appeared first on Petri.

03 Mar 19:10

Reviewing and changing a VLE: Changing the tyre while the car is in motion

by David Hopkins

Those involved in large IT system changes will appreciate the complexity of ‘swapping out’ one of those systems for another. Over time systems can become highly integrated, both on a technical level and in terms of human behaviour. Couple this with the requirement for service continuity, and you find yourself trying to change a tyre while the car is in motion.

We are the Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) team, and we wanted to share some of our experiences of reviewing and changing the institutional VLE.

The Project

After a full VLE review in 2016, Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) went to competitive tender, resulting in a move from Blackboard 9.1 (self-hosted) to Canvas (SaaS). The contract was signed in December 2016. Training began with academic staff in January 2017 and the VLE went live to staff in April 2017, and subsequently to students in August 2017. We continued with a pared-back version of the original VLE, for a small number of courses that were completing within the 12-months of the new VLE starting. It also provided staff and students with the opportunity to archive content and submissions.  

Timeline for the key points of the project.

Gathering User Requirements

A number of focus groups were held using a variation of the Dephi technique to identify user requirements and desirable additions for a functioning system. The participants were all Programme Leaders, enabling us to gather information from a range of subject areas and allowing ideas to filter up from academic teams. Students were also surveyed but a strategic decision was taken to focus on staff as it was anticipated that any functionality that would benefit them would, in turn, improve the student learning experience.

One of the key outcomes of the review was the importance for ease of use for both staff and students; we became aware of the teaching staff requirement for interfaces and workflows that made clear, logical sense. Through this understanding, it became a priority to select a system that provided staff with a very simple user interface that would increase engagement in more technically and pedagogically complex VLE processes, transitioning from a file storage model to an active learning platform.  

The Wider Impact on Other Processes and Systems

Blackboard’s 17-year institutional tenure at LJMU meant that many processes, systems and teams extended into the system; this appeared, at times to be a complex problem with many interlinking elements. To address this going forward, and to avoid any duplication of excessive complexity, we first developed four VLE Guiding Principles. These would be applied to guide usage around the new system, stating clearly the terms of operation, i.e. what this system may and may not be used for. This was to prevent mission creep and allow other services to develop without overlapping the VLE’s role, and was developed during the process of review through to implementation. Certain developments had occurred in the past, which did not follow the VLE perceived central function, including the use of the system as a deployment platform for the institutional results notification day.

The line is subtle in its distinction – for instance, Programme sites became a space to display of student module and Programme feedback to students, which detail the outcomes of module evaluation. This was clearly a managerial, Registry-type function, updating students on the on-going improvements to the Programme. However, the VLE is also the place where students complete their module evaluation surveys and where staff access the results of these surveys. The distinction between them is a principle of being within the process of delivering and ‘taking’ that course, rather than at the end point of discussing and evaluating its conclusions.

This approach drove some wider changes within the institution as different departments found better solutions to processes that were once embedded in or deployed from the VLE. These changes were supported by the development of the 4 principles.

Developing with LTI Extensions

The acquisition of a new, customisable VLE offered the existing team the opportunity to employ an additional staff member and a programmer / developer was duly appointed; they work within the TEL team and are line-managed locally but retain a connection to the IT Services department. This new appointment emerged as a priority as other departments reassessed the critical role the VLE played in the institution. This is a highly technical role but it does not necessitate the requirement for an equivalently skilled manager; if the Programmer requires support, this is available both from colleagues in ITS and the Canvas Developer Community. The post allowed the TEL team to firstly trim the system for the institution but is now responsible for larger, scalable projects involving the development of external tools, and internal projects connected via LTI.

The team worked with academic staff to develop a private journal tool and a tutor/student feedback dashboard; this holistic approach to feedback will allow students to understand the role of feedback as an active process and recognise the different forms of feedback. LTI became the key infrastructure to link internal development with the online SaaS VLE environment, keeping each area as independent as possible in case of subsequent updates dislocating each other.

Communication: a Postcard from TEL

Throughout implementation, a different approach for communicating with all academic staff was adopted. It was agreed that there was a critical requirement to reach all VLE content developers to ensure they were aware of the move to Canvas. Communications in large organisations can be problematic, with many competing messages vying for a small window of attention in a limited time frame.

A series of black and white printed postcard were created, conveying very simple information about the change, but using an eye-catching images on the front of the card. The team settled on a vintage theme in an effort to consciously deviate from the usual corporate internal communication. This worked well; anecdotal evidence indicated that staff were displaying the picture in their personal spaces because the card images were so emotive.

Training: Engaging and Reinvigorating

The training commenced 9 months before the student go live date; the system was fully available for all staff from the start of April 2017.  With institutional agreement, obtained through formal governance, the training was mandatory for all staff who taught or supported teaching and learning. The key here was to use the sessions as a communications process to ensure all staff were fully aware of the change, and the associated processes. Attendance records were kept and Faculty Directors informed of progress; however, engagement was high, so there was little enforcement needed. An unexpected outcome of the training was the way early attendees were returning to their teams with a positive message around the change and the new system, as a whole. This may have affected early levels of attendance by staff as they perceived this to be a more positive change than expected, and subsequently recalculated the importance of attendance.

Keeping Up the Momentum

As we wanted to be up and running as quickly as possible, it was decided to work with Canvas to import content. This approach has been a point of debate since, regarding the positives and negatives; some of the team feel this was a missed opportunity to start afresh and bring about greater change, while others see this content import as necessary to support staff and students, moving through the transition.

Three projects were launched after the implementation was completed to retain momentum. These were the Canvas Consistency project, Active Digital Learning project and the Digital Feedback Review.

These projects were initiated in response to emergent issues as the VLE ‘bedded in’, and to drive further development in key areas. Each project involved working with staff to review specific ways of using the VLE, and their impact on students.

  • The Canvas Consistency project’s aim was to help identify the differences between Canvas courses and understand how to promote the delivery of a consistent approach across all courses in the programme. Interviews with students were also included in the review, to understand their perspectives.
  • The Active Digital Learning project identified good practice in the use of digital tools to support active learning in the class and within the VLE. Canvas generates a large amount of system data which can be accessed using their servers, or hosted in-house as part of a data warehouse. The team used this VLE data to identify areas of high engagement at LJMU and followed up by asking the academic staff involved to share their practice.
  • The aims of the Digital Feedback Review were to improve student access to feedback, explore staff practice and evaluate the benefits of the different marking methods with LJMU academic staff. The team have since launched ‘Canvas Revisited training sessions to keep staff informed about Canvas and internal developments.

Developing staff use of Canvas is increasingly a multi-modal affair, utilizing a combination of face-to-face sessions and online resources. This includes an online Canvas course focusing on the fundamentals of the system, as well as the development of staff online collaborative spaces to share practice. Underpinning this is a governance that invites input from a number of sources including senior academic staff and Faculty teaching and learning strategy documents. This process is continually reviewed and adjusted in line with changes to strategic priorities and staff input.


TEL teams are frequently faced with the prospect of complex change on many levels, posing a range of risks to their institutions-implementing a new VLE typifies this since engagement with the system is multi-faceted and touches many areas of delivery and learning. On reflection, we concluded that, despite these risks, we did achieve our initial aim of changing the car tyre while still moving-bringing about substantial change without excessive disruption to users.  Encouragingly, this seems to have been positively received and there are early signs that the investment in the new VLE is creating improved engagement, from both staff and students.

Post by Mari Cruz García, an international education consultant whose expertise is the development of international programmes (online and blended learning) at Heriot-Watt University.

If you enjoyed reading this article we invite you to join the Association for Learning Technology (ALT) as an individual member, and to encourage your own organisation to join ALT as an organisational or sponsoring member.

01 Mar 13:42

How to Foster a KM Culture

by Mercy Harper
01 Mar 13:42

Microsoft Teams Gains Outlook Sharing, Chat Improvements

by Mehedi Hassan
01 Mar 13:34

4 Tips for working from home with Microsoft Teams

Important with 'virus and everything else that is going on.

Lola Jacobsen is a Sr. Technical Writer at Microsoft and our guest blog author today. Thank you!


There are many reasons to work remotely and Microsoft Teams is here to help you stay connected with your teammates wherever they are. IT admins, don’t miss Support remote workers using Teams which as recently been updated.


4 best practices for working from home

  1. Make the most of meetings
    • Meetings are about the people in them, not the technology. The most effective meetings have a clear purpose. Use your meeting description to detail what the meeting is for. Learn more about driving great teamwork with our Art of Teamwork materials.
    • Use chat to share reminders or pre-read documents to your audience before the meeting.
    • Record the meeting if that’s acceptable in your organization.  recordameeting.png
    • If you have one of the new Teams Room System content-capture cameras (“magic whiteboard”), you can use it to bring your physical whiteboard into the meeting.
  2. Be inclusive and use your video
    • When you’ve got robust bandwidth, turn on your video Tip: Use background blur if you don’t want your background to be a distraction. Video really amps up collaboration in meetings (but if you’ve got limited bandwidth, turn off video to maintain high-quality audio). Make sure you know how to join a meeting in Teams before the meeting starts.
    • Practice inclusion – ask everyone for their input. If someone’s audio is too low, or if their device is causing problems, deal with it at the start of the meeting so that person won’t be excluded.
    • Don’t forget to keep track of your mute button! :smile:




  1. Track notes and action items, share frequently used documents
    • Take notes and share follow-ups in chat. It’s harder to get a casual recap in the hallway when there is no hallway. Use an app like Planner, Asana, or Trello to track tasks.
    • For something that you usually handle with one meeting and informal, hallway catch-ups, schedule a 15-minute follow-up meeting a few days later. Be sure to include prep work in the meeting invitation.
    • In channels, create tabs for important files, websites, or dashboards so the content is available to everyone on the team.
  1. Customize your virtual workspace

Whether you’re new to remote work, temporarily working from home, or on an extended leave, Teams is there to help you be productive from anywhere. Learn more in one of our quick online courses or from our help content at Share your tips below or online with the #TeamsTips hashtag. 


22 Feb 09:51

Impact of the DP beyond high school: Postsecondary outcomes of U.S. students

by Radhika

New research shows that US DP students are outperforming students nationally in university enrollment, persistence and graduation.
21 Feb 09:38

What did Learning Technologies conference teach us?

by Asli Derya

I’ve just been to the #LT20UK conference and it feels like I’ve been to the Mecca and back. It’s the biggest learning technology conference & exhibition on this side of the water and it was packed on both days. I also observed a lot of people who came across from Europe which is a great testament to the reputation of the conference. So here are some of my reflections from the two conference days, and a few key takeaways.

It’s a long read, I’m not making any excuses on it being long. So if you rather only look at key takeaways, skip to the end.

Day 1 – Wednesday 12th February 2020

#T3S1 – Maximising the impact of learning

Chair: Andrew Jacobs

Speakers: Bruce Swan, Panasonic & Andy Wooler, Hitachi

This session included 2 case studies. Panasonic case study focused on the premise of; delivering simple concepts that people out in the business can relate to. Bruce talked about aligning L&D strategy to business strategy, having tangible metrics (KPIs) to measure impact, stakeholder engagement and keeping agile (review and refresh to remain fit for purpose). During Andy’s case study we found out that our data systems -learning or otherwise- doesn’t talk to each other -surprise! This of course throws in a whole host of problems, like; your learner goes into a Udemy course for a mandatory learning and discovers other things, but your business has no idea what they are learning. And if you do not know how attrition rates and learning -and other things- are correlated how effectively you can plan for your workforce, or even for your business?

Favourite punchline: a quote from Andrew Jacobs; “Content is key but context is kingdom”.


#L1S2 – Vendor relations

Speakers: Helen Smyth, Sainsbury’s & Amanda Nolen, NilesNolen

So, the first thing to do is to look at what you already have. Considering research (see RedThread Research link in Ecosystems section) found on average we use 11 different techs in learning, the likelihood is you already have some tech you can use.

Beyond that, it’s OK to accept not every vendor is for every business every time. Both from vendor and the business’ perspective.

Interesting debate came about on: demos vs pilots and there was a strong feeling around the room and from the speakers on piloting before buying, both to see if it’s what you are looking for and also to test compatibility with the vendor too.

Favourite punchline: I’ve already wrote this on LinkedIn but who doesn’t love a good metaphor, especially when it’s so well suited: “Before going shopping it’s great to know what’s in your fridge.”


#T1S2 – Learning ecosystems

Chair: Ger Driesen 

Speaker: Dani Johnson, RedThread Research

Digitalisation and upskilling are the big conversation, and companies are willing to pay for it. There’s also a lot of choice -210!- out there for L&D leaders to deliver learning.

2019 LinkedIn Learning report found that:

  • 68% of employees prefer to learn at work
  • 58% of employees prefer to learn at their own pace
  • 49% of employees prefer to learn at the point of need

The last point made me think though; …still less than half though, bears the question should this really be a priority for L&D?

So how do you build a learning ecosystem? -have a philosophy, structure, internal & external sustainability and continually evolve to stay current. Easy right? Well, I let you decide for yourselves. Here’s the link to the full research report

The discussion followed on whether the ecosystem components needed to be connected, but I’ll get to that later.

Favourite punchline: “Without data, you are just another person with an opinion” Deming


#T5S3 – Stakeholder buy-in

Chair: Julie Drybrough

Speakers: Mirjam Neelen & Connie Malamed

This session was run as a small workshop. We were given a persona and Mirjam and Connie walked us through the 4 stages of design thinking: Empathise, Define, Ideate, Prototype/Test. There are a few stakeholder management models out there and design thinking is so trendy nowadays so combining the two was a clever move IMHO. One to have in the toolkit for later on


Day 2 – Thursday 13th February 2020

Keynote – Daniel Hulme

This was very very interesting. Daniel talked about how data and information isn’t the same thing, the ethical concerns around AI, with the example of trolley problem, the hidden dynamics in our workplace hierarchies (with a very entertaining graphic! -see below) and more.

What struck me the most were:

  • how talent attraction is influenced by how sexy your industry & how challenging the problems you are facing are.
  • Satalia runs a scheme where they ask the employees to declare how much pay they should get each year. Then it gets voted by others in the company, and you get more votes based on how closely you work with the person. Votes are collated in 3 buckets: agree, disagree or increase. They found women consistently undervalue themselves. And they get more votes to increase what they asked in the first place. Speaks volumes… #womeninlearning we’ve got a lot to do!

Favourite punchline: “companies do not have data problems, they have decision making problems, and decision making is still a human feature.”


#T1S4 – Learning technology landscape

Chair: Steve Wheeler

Speakers: David Perring & David Wilson, Fosway Group

Fosway group shared their findings on learning technology landscape. The research participants are businesses in complex environments with difficult problems to solve, which pretty much everyone in this day and age I suppose.

More than half or respondents agreed that their learning platforms fit for the modern workforce, top growth areas of content saw the blended learning as front runner, with video as its crown prince, and there was an even split on “Is having a fragmented ecosystem is more of a blessing or a curse?” Well I’m in the curse camp.

Here’s the report

Lunch time saw me do a little detour to the Exhibition Hall to join some of my fellow board directors at the eLN booth where we get to meet members and have conversations with some exhibition attendees about membership.

In the meantime #womeninlearning had a lunchtime session at the conference with a packed room!


#T4S5 -Content Development

Chair: Barbara Thompson

Speaker: Julie Dirksen

I saw Julie speak at an eLN Connect conference a few years back and there’s no hiding from it: she’s ace! Her book; Design for How People Learn should be a mantlepiece for any instructional designer.

Julie talked about developing content for complex skills. With complex problems where there’s no one right way of doing things, how do you go about it? Well, there’s an easy answer of course, but there was a key piece on “patterns emerging” –if you do something many many times you start understanding where the similarities are.

Favourite punchline:


#T2S6 – Learning Culture

Chair: Nigel Paine

Speakers: Kristina Tsiriotakis, Deciem & Craige Heaney, Diageo

This session covered 2 case studies from 2 very different organisations, in terms of size and journeys.

In Deciem’s case Kristina talked about how to build a learning culture from scratch and Diageo just went through a learning strategy refresh.

Deciem’s story was heart warming and made all of us in the room slightly jealous and it focused on being: co-constructed, communal, co-directed and campaign based.

Diageo focused on: Business strategy alignment, employee experience, learning alignment, learner ownership and infrastructure. Their design process focused on; looking at what’s consumed, shared, liked and finding commonalities and what people like and what are the competencies being developed which then informed the design decisions in learning.

Favourite punchline: Kristina’s question which was the guiding principle “Why would people choose to learn here?”


Key Takeaways:

1) I gave in and joined Twitter, as Learning tech has a whole life there and you can learn soooo much, if you follow the right people @ADeryaLandD is the handle for random, personal, L&D related musings.

2) L&D people are lovely! Are you looking for proof? Here it is: subsequently leaving the conference, after smiling at anyone who walked passed me the whole day and having the smiled returned, I kept smiling at anyone who I passed by on my commute, only to find blank look of avoidance which proves my point of; L&D folks are just plain lovely

3) Learning ecosystems; as you picture it doesn’t exist -yet. But you can still create one now, just be realistic.

4) Marketing, design thinking, UX/UI, data analysis all have a space in the learning construct, learn about it but respect that they are also professions in their own rights and you need their expertise as we ask business to respect what we have (Learning, HR…etc.) as an expertise.

5) A learning strategy has to be; dynamic, employee centric, in the flow of work, in line with business strategy and not be afraid to take risks, fail and learn from its mistakes to be better. There’s no point in navel gazing or tweaking it a little and look for impact. Calibration happens afterwards not while you are strategizing.

6) Useful books, reports, things

a) Design for How People Learn – Julie Dirksen

b) The Learning Challenge: Dealing with Technology, Innovation and Change in Learning and Development – Nigel Paine

c) Thinking Fast and Slow – Daniel Kahneman

d) Ten Steps to Complex Learning – J. van Merrienboer and Paul Arthur Kirschner

e) The Art and Science of Designing a Learning Technology Ecosystem – Dani Johnson and Priyanka Mehrotra (link shared early on in the article)

f) Back to the Future from Emerald Works download link here

g) Training Journey has a campaign for 3 free digital copies with the code: LT20

7) Even if you cannot make it to the conference, visit the exhibition – it’s free and has a busy free seminar programme. It can be very inspirational and thought provoking.


And lastly, there was a resounding agreement in; the new shiny tech is not being the holy grail, but the people. Reminded me this quote which is my last favourite punchline for this article: “Technology will make things possible, talent will make them happen.” Ray de Villiers

The post What did Learning Technologies conference teach us? appeared first on eLN.

20 Feb 11:26

KM Must Change to Survive

by Lauren Trees
20 Feb 11:20

What’s Next for Instructure?

by Michael Feldstein

Always overwhelmed by the level of detail on this blog.

So, Instructure CEO Dan Goldsmith is "stepping down." Going to "spend more time with his family." "Hiking the Appalachian Trail." Choose your euphemism. He has been forced out. Don't shed too many tears for him; he made about $12 million during his roughly 14-month tenure as CEO. That's enough to pay maybe 25 decent software engineers for 5 years in the Salt Lake City area.

The truth is that nobody would have paid much attention to how much Goldsmith was getting paid had he been doing a good job. But in the education market, people tend to pay attention to who is getting a big payout if they worry that their vendor is not putting the students first. I hope that is a lesson that Thoma Bravo is taking note of. (More on that in a bit.)

That said, the Goldsmith era is now water under the bridge. The more important question is what happens at Instructure going forward and how it impacts the students and educators who depend on the company.


The acquisition of Instructure by Thoma Bravo is not dead. If anything, it is considerably more likely now, for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to a higher bid by the private equity company. As usual, Phil has a terrific breakdown of the financial drama. The short version is that there is likely to be a bit more drama that will take a bit more time, but the acquisition looks close to a done deal at this point.

In the meantime, there is no CEO. Instead, the company is being run by a team of its senior executives, some of whom are the veterans that I've been complaining have been stifled. Within hours of the announcements of Dan's departure, I began seeing private signs of aggressively renewed outreach from this team. The bunker mentality is gone. We'll see how well this team coordinates that outreach, but the horse is out of the barn on this one. I think it will be hard for the next CEO to go back to a classic corporate command-and-control customer interaction style. That is one good outcome from the interregnum (though it is possible to go too far in the other direction if they don't all pull together).

The bigger question for customers, assuming that the deal does go through, is what happens afterward.


My position has always been neutral-positive on Instructure being acquired by a private equity company in general and neutral on being acquired by Thoma Bravo in particular. Instructure needs some time to move past its current growth plateau. There is a reasonable argument to be made that they could focus on doing that with fewer distractions that could harm their core work for customers if they were under private ownership rather than under the quarter-by-quarter performance pressures of the public stock market. Instructure's acquisition could be good or bad for education, depending on two major factors.

The first factor is Thoma Bravo's plan. I am quite confident that they already have one. And as Phil wrote in the aforementioned post, it is likely an ambitious one:

One other note – with these aggressive moves, I have to believe that Thoma Bravo has much bigger plans than simply buying a few more Portfoliums while divesting Bridge. Bravo is sitting on a pile of cash ($12+ billion in their latest round), and there are likely bigger plans that depend upon this Instructure acquisition.

The post by that other guy

The danger is that the typical private equity merger and acquisition playbooks have a decidedly mixed record in EdTech. At best. Education is a weird market. Combinations that look good based on the spreadsheets are often terrible ideas IRL. I can think of one or two possible big combinations that might work—Coursera comes to mind—but by and large, the impulse to combine two EdTech giants more frequently results in the destruction of value than in the creation of it.

Private equity folks are rarely stupid. On the contrary, the ones that I've met have generally been incredibly smart. They simply lack education market domain knowledge. They apply their disciplinary skills in an area where those skills don't translate straightforwardly. That can work out if they have a partner in the form of an excellent CEO who does understand education (or can learn it quickly) and is a strong advocate for customers. Dan Goldsmith wasn't that person, which meant that private equity ownership under him was virtually guaranteed to be disastrous. Assuming the Thoma Bravo acquisition does go through, then the CEO that Thoma Bravo brings in to replace him will be critical.

They almost certainly have somebody already lined up. Private equity companies tend to keep stables of CEOs that they rotate from company to company. That is probably just fine in the short term. While I have a lot of respect for Instructure's management team, managing a company of that size through a committee will only work for so long. So bringing in a caretaker CEO quickly is a good idea. But that person may or may not be a good long-term solution. I would argue, for example, that somebody who comes from running an enterprise software company, like Goldsmith did, is not likely to be a good long-term fit. The market dynamics are very different, which is one reason why Goldsmith was completely blindsided and seemed slow to learn.

There are major opportunities in EdTech. The education sector is entering a period of massive and uncharacteristically rapid evolution. That represents opportunities for a company that can identify new, unmet needs, engage in innovative, user-informed product development, and keep good relations with a particularly demanding customer base. Leadership matters in this kind of situation.

I see two possible candidate profiles. The first is somebody from EdTech. There is now a generation of executives who have grown up in the space, seen all the many mistakes that have been made, know the customers, and have an eye for the market shifts as they happen. The ideal candidate in this mold is one who is old enough to be seasoned but young enough or unorthodox enough not to be stuck in the first-generation mindset from the established product categories like LMS or textbook publishers (which is where they will likely have earned their stripes). The second possibility is somebody more like Josh Coates, by which I mean a strong product-oriented CEO from the consumer software space who knows how to listen to—and speak to—customers. This person would have more of a learning curve, but since Instructure has a seasoned management team, it could work. But it would take more time before such a person could provide good guidance on acquisitions.

Those awkward teenage years

In the summer of 2018, I wrote that Instructure was entering its awkward teenage years. We just survived eighth grade. After a year of monosyllabic responses and long periods in the bedroom with the door closed, the pale young thing has emerged into the sunshine.

But now comes high school. There will be new friends and new temptations. There will be strange ideas of what it means to be cool and how to get to the top of the ladder. Instructure didn't become popular by being the cool kid that everyone had to be with. They became popular by being the kid that was fun to be with. That was good at making friends. That listened to you, cared about your problems, and laughed at your jokes.

It's that kind of popularity that makes the company valuable and that will enable the right leadership team to build value going forward. Whatever clever plans Thoma Bravo may have, they need a CEO who can provide them with ground truth, push back when necessary based on an education-informed perspective, and keep faith with the customers.

The post What’s Next for Instructure? appeared first on e-Literate.

26 Jan 09:48

constant doubt and outrage

by Harold Jarche

When I was visiting Rome in 2012 I met a fellow tourist, an older gentleman from Australia, who told me that he had stopped a pick-pocket on the train who was trying to lift his wallet. He had cried out and grabbed the thief’s hand. As the train came to a stop, the locals on the train created a human wall and forced the thief out, while at the same time calling for the police. They then apologized on behalf of their city. Rome is a 2,750 year-old community that keeps on trying, in spite of its challenges, because its people believe in the city. This is how most humans act — cooperatively — most of the time, as this is part of our common social suite.

The Internet of Beefs (IoB)

But we are also influenced by our social networks and when these become what Venkatesh Rao calls the Internet of Beefs (IoB) then we collectively drag ourselves down. Rao defines two groups, Knights and Mooks, who continuously do battle on digital social media. Each Knight has many follower Mooks, and these Mooks do battle in the Knight’s name. Rao says that one such Knight is Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

“And in one corner by himself, of course, is Nassim Taleb beefing with all comers on all topics … Taleb muddying the factional boundaries of the culture war is one of the few genuinely amusing theaters of the conflict on the IoB. The blast radius around his twitter feed is not a safe space for anyone besides members of his own cult of Mesopotamian personality.”  —Venkat Rao

In 2017 I got a taste of the Internet of Beefs from Taleb. I shared a link to a blog post as well as an image I had created. I did not notice that others were copied on the tweet, as this was a new feature on Twitter at the time. Within minutes, Taleb replied dismissively to my tweet, obviously without having read my post or checking out who I am. He said that, “These MBA charts are repelling. They stand against everything classical and rigorous.” I would like to note that I do not have an MBA, nor do I teach in a business school. Taleb’s Knightly tweet was swiftly followed by the Mooks. All who aimed to win the battle, without bothering to read the linked post, because the IoB is not about learning or understanding. It is only about winning the current battle and making points for the Knight.

The various camps on the IoB do not talk to each other with any intention of understanding. Social media — the preferred source of news for many people — tend to increase the outrage. The medium is the message, said Marshall McLuhan, and this medium is all about emotion. My own experience is that only 0.04% of people who view my Tweets on Twitter click on any link to read the full article. It is reported that 67% of Americans get their news from social media, so how they behave has a significant effect on what citizens are thinking.

“The average Facebook user only clicks on about seven percent of the political news stories in their feed, which means that the vast majority of the time, people are getting tiny little doses of information, with a big old dose of misguided confidence.” —ScienceAlert

Research on the self-perception of knowledge shows how viewing previews without going to the original article gives an inflated sense of understanding on the subject, “audiences who only read article previews are overly confident in their knowledge, especially individuals who are motivated to experience strong emotions and, thus, tend to form strong opinions.” Social media have created a worldwide Dunning-Kruger effect. Our collective self-perception of knowledge acquired through social media is greater than it actually is. And the outrage continues because we ignore our common humanity, the type of cooperation that motivated passengers on that train in Rome to force the thief out.

“We are beefing because we no longer know who we are, each of us individually, and collectively as a species. Knight and Mook alike are faced with the terrifying possibility that if there is no history in the future, there is nobody in particular to be once the beefing stops.” —Venkat Rao

Is constant outrage our only future or can we counter it?

An Engaged Networked Society

constant doubt and outrage

Using McLuhan’s laws of media (image above) we can see that the digital information ecosystem extends emotion through manufactured media spectacles, as the Christchurch murderer did. Traditional journalism with its attempts at presenting both sides of a story is obsolesced by the very nature of its assumption of a neutral point of view. Return to nature movements, such as anti-vaxxers, retrieve the pastoral impulse for an imaginary kinder and gentler society. We are left in a state of constant doubt as conspiratorial content becomes easier to access on platforms like YouTube than accessing solid scientific information in a journal, much of which is behind a pay-wall and inaccessible to the general public.  To counter the self-imposed ignorance of something like the anti-vaccination movement, we have to first understand how people feel because feelings cannot be countered with mere facts.

Lesson 2: don’t bring a fact to a narrative fight

Experts and health professionals can arm themselves with white papers, peer reviewed studies, and symposia; but if these are our only weapons, we will only ever get so far. In an era in which experts are increasingly distrusted, the “we know best” mindset is counterproductive.

Those wishing to encourage vaccination need to identify and amplify the stories that emerge from the real lives and lived experiences of people in their communities (to start, they need to listen for them). It is no coincidence that the most effective climate advocacy in the world right now comes from the improvisations and stories of a 16 year old girl rather than the strategic plans of a generations old institution. —BMJ: New Power versus Old

Today, all citizens have to master sensemaking, not just the new digital skills, or temporary skills deemed necessary by corporations or governments. Democracy in the network era is when citizens continuously decide what and how they learn. Critical thinking requires us to constantly question assumptions, especially our own. To develop these skills, questioning must be encouraged. This runs counter to most schooling and training practices. When do students or employees get to question underlying assumptions of their institutions? If they cannot do this, how can we expect them to challenge all the crap on the IoB? The elites cannot have it both ways. They cannot have an educated and also compliant workforce, consumer base, or citizenry. We should ask if those in charge of our institutions really want an educated populace.

Real freedom lies in the people taking control of their own education.

“Le secret de la liberté est d’éclairer les hommes, comme celui de la tyrannie et de les retenir dans l’ignorance.” —Maximilien Robespierre (1758 – 1794). Translation — “The secret of freedom lies in enlightening people, whereas the secret of tyranny is in keeping them ignorant.”

For society to change for the better, we all have to start making small changes. Get out and talk to other people. Change your travel habits. Read more and different literature. Take some time to sit and reflect. It sounds simple, and it is, but keeping at it will be the hard part. Many aspects of our digital platform economy are just too convenient.

While consumer social media networks are great for getting a diversity of opinions, they are not safe or trusted spaces. They nourish the Internet of Beefs. We need safe communities to take time for reflection, consideration, and testing out ideas without getting harassed. Professional social networks and communities of practices help us make sense of the world outside the workplace. They also enable each of us to bring to bear much more knowledge and insight that we could do on our own. Diversity of thought is our collective secret weapon against the Knights and Mooks.

“In formulating and in trying to solve these problems, do not hesitate, indeed seek, continually and imaginatively, to draw upon the perspectives and materials, the ideas and methods, of any and all sensible studies of man and society. They are your studies; they are part of what you are a part of; do not let them be taken from you by those who would close them off by weird jargon and pretensions of expertise.” —C. Wright Mills (1959)

As we become more connected we should not be cutting out social media, instead we should be using them in smarter ways. Today we all have to work and live smarter, by connecting to our networks and communities. These are essential to ensure that we do not become drowned out by the noise of the Internet of Beefs.

learning citizens seek sense share


26 Jan 08:16

keep it simple

by Harold Jarche

It is informative to have your work reflected back by others who have interpreted it in their own ways. This feedback gets integrated into my own continuing development of my sensemaking frameworks. Making these frameworks as simple as possible, but no more, has been my work since 2003 when I decided to become a freelancer and start blogging my ideas ‘in the open’.

“One of the golden rules of sense-making is that any framework or model that can’t be drawn on a table napkin from memory has little utility. The reason for this is pretty clear, if people can use something without the need for prompts or guides then there are more likely to use it and as importantly adapt it. Models with multiple aspects, more than five aspects (its a memory limit guys live with it) or which require esoteric knowledge are inherently dependency models. They are designed to create a dependency on the model creator” —Dave Snowden (2015)

Karen Jeannette showed what PKM and Seek > Sense> Share meant to her.

Image: Karen Jeannette

A different interpretation based on the same framework was sketched by Rachel Burnham, using a gardening metaphor.

Image: Rachel Burnham

It is easy to remember Seek > Sense > Share. From there, more detailed representations can be developed, based on experience and reflection, where the core framework is not dependent on me. Over the years, many variations and routines have been developed by others. But the core message remains — seek diverse perspectives, develop personal sensemaking routines, and share where appropriate.

18 Jan 09:35

Pythagoras (570-495 BC), Euclid (~ 300 BC), Archimedes (287-212 BC) – Men of mathematics

by Donald Clark
Greek mathematicians had a significant influence in not only developing mathematical theory but also in embedding mathematics in the classical and modern curricula. Apart from Pythagoras, who not only set up a school but has strict rules around behaviour and the basis of all knowledge in numbers, they were not learning theorists as such but their influence on what has and is still taught is substantial.

Pythagoras (570-495 BC),

In Raphael’s fresco, Pythagoras is the figure writing in a book in the foreground on the left, surrounded by acolytes. He represents abstract mathematics and, in opposition to Socrates, the idea that learning is about the master transmitting immutable knowledge to their students. Both Plato and Aristotle are wary of Pythagoras, as he is a figure shrouded in myth. What we do know is that he was a teacher with students in something resembling a cult or fraternity, shrouded in secrecy. We also know that he had rules about not eating living things and beans, an early advocate of vegetarianism, along with lists of other rules, such as putting your right shoe on first, not looking backwards and so on. Pythagoreanism is a school with students, perhaps more akin to disciples, but also a school of thought. He gives us the archetype for the charismatic teacher and leader, with followers who engaged in a communal lifestyle.

Pythagoras’s theorem, although well known, may not have originated with him. It was known and used centuries earlier by the Babylonians and Indians. That is not to say that he didn’t introduce to the Greeks. But mathematics is said to have lain at the heart of his system, especially geometry. The number 10 (1+2+3+4) was of mystical significance. Other such as Hippasus moved number theory on to irrational numbers, like the square root of two, expanded into a theory of irrational numbers by Eudoxus. 

He is also famous for having discovered the mathematical nature of musical intervals as having numerical ratios. If number lay behind music, does number lie behind all phenomena? There is speculation that he also applied this idea to the movement of the planets. His status during the Middle Ages and influence on Copernicus, Kepler and Newton have ensured his fame.

Euclid (~ 300 BC),

A parallel figure in the foreground of Raphael’s fresco, on the right is Euclid, from the Greek colony Alexandria in Egypt, by far the most important Greek mathematician, leaning down to demonstrate his mathematical proofs, on what looks like a slate, with callipers, where the students are in discussion, working through the proofs in their heads. Again, this contrast exists between the didactic teaching of a canon and the more learner-centric view of the learner as someone who has to learn by doing and reflection. 

Elements, in 13 books, is his most famous work, where his theorems and, more importantly, proofs were deduced from axioms. Familiar examples include the proof that the angles of a triangle add up to180 degrees and Pythagors’s Theorem. It is this logical rigour that is remarkable, influencing the entire history of mathematics and science. It was used as the main textbook in mathematics for over 2000 years, well into the 20th century and all University students for centuries used this book as part of the quadrivium.

One fascinating feature of Euclid’s Elements, was the first ever algorithm in print, a method to calculate the Greatest Common denominators for any given number, an oft-quoted forerunner for the current age of algorithms.

Beyond this he wrote on the rigour of mathematical proof, conic sections, the geometry of spheres and number theory. In his Phaenomena, Euclid aims at astronomy with a treatment of spherical geometry. This was

Archimedes (287-212 BC)

Eureka! Is the word most associated with him, where he supposedly submerges a Golden Crown in a bath of water, measured the displaces volume. The next step, where he divided the mass of the golden crown by its volume, determined whether it was silver or gold. But the story does not appear in any of Archimedes writings.

His reputation rests on his mathematics but also on the practical application of this mathematics. In addition to explanations of levers and fluid mechanics, he is said to have invented the Archimedes Screw for lifting irrigation water, compound pulleys, and many war machines, including an optical device to focus the sun’s rays on invading Roman ships and a crane and claw for sinking ships and improved catapults.

It is his work on circles, spheres and cylinders, parabolas, centres of gravity, law of the lever, curves, conoids, spheroids and floating bodies, along with that famous number ‘pi’, that has ensured his lasting fame. He also appears to have anticipated modern calculus by using a method of exhaustion, increasing the sides of a polygon towards a complete representation of the circle. Archimedes is arguably the greatest of the Greek mathematicians. In the same period, Eraytosthenes (~250BC) used geometry to estimate the circumference of the earth. He noticed that the sun shone down a well in Aswan at midday. On the same day of the year he also measures the shadow of the sun from a column further north in Alexandria, From this he ingeniously calculated the circumference of the earth. 


Pythagoras, Euclid and Archimedes, along with other Greek mathematicians and astronomers put mathematics, mostly geometry, at the heart of the western educational system. It was an indispensable feature for many of the major Greek thinkers who saw it as the foundation for rigorous thinking about the world. They gave mathematics a status in Western thought that has never waned. Its emphasis on geometry, proof and the need for quantitative rigour lies at the heart of later scientific revolutions.

They also made advances in what we would now call engineering, the practical application of science and mathematics into machines and architecture. Beyond this astronomy also benefited from their mathematical bent.

Mathematics is unarguably a subject that needs to be taught and learnt. It has given us advances in medicine, finance, technology, economics, psychology, astronomy and science However, one could argue that its status as a compulsory subject is exaggerated in terms of supposed needs and transferable skills. Roger Schank argues that we have no real need to teach areas of abstract mathematics to most children, such as algebra, quadratic equations and surds, as they are unlikely to ever be used in the real world. When was the last time you used Pythagoras’s Theorem, if ever? The focus on abstract, as opposed to the basics, problem solving, reading data,  and maths at work and in the real world, has become endemic. There is a sense in which mathematics has a gained status in the curriculum beyond its actual benefits.

The OECD PISA results, who chose as their first target maths, have become a major international attraction for educators, and have sparked off an annual educational ‘international arms race’. Yet maths has never been the sole touchstone for being 'smart' or 'employable'. In one sense, important as the subject is, maths has become a totem in the curriculum, hard to learn, hard to teach and easy to test, in other words the ideal recipe for mass failure.  Additionally, We do not actually live in a more mathematical world. We live in a world where most maths is done by calculators, computers and machines, or a relatively small number of experts. The vast majority of us need little actual maths, other than ‘functional maths’. To funnel all young people into a path that demands a mostly irrelevant, maths curriculum is to turn them off school and learning. This obsession with maths may, mathematically, be the very things that lowers our general educational attainment. In many countries, education policy is rooted in, and firmly targeted at, the PISA results. It is used by politicians as an instrument of convenience.  Both left and right now use the ‘sputnik’ myth to chase their own agendas – more state funding or more privatisation. This, some claim, is a shame, as it may be unhelpful to have yet another dysfunctional, deficit debate in education. 


Kirk, G.S., Raven, J.E. and Schofield, M., 1983. The presocratic philosophers: a critical history with a selcetion of texts. Cambridge University Press.

Stewart, I., 2008. The Story of Mathematics: From Babylonian Numerals to Chaos Theory. Quercus.

06 Jan 18:52

Important Google Drive Keyboard Shortcuts for Teachers and Students

by Educatorstechnology
Google Drive is one of a Swiss Army knife comprising some of the best productivity tools to use in your instruction. Besides being a cloud based storage system where you can save and access all of... more
20 Dec 19:52

Content systems not content packages

by Clark

Still all about information search and retrieval really?

In a conversation last week (ok, an engagement), the topic of content systems came up. Now this is something I’ve argued for before, in several ways. For one, separate content from how it’s delivered. And, pull content together by rules, not hardwired. And it’s also about the right level of granularity. It’s time to revisit the message, because I thought it was too early, but I think the time is fast coming when we can look at this.

This is in opposition to the notion of pre-packaged content. MOOCs showed that folks want to drill in to what they need. Yet we still pull everything together and launch it as a final total solution. We are moving to smaller chunks (all for the better; even if it is burdened with a misleading label). But there’s more.

The first point is about content models. That we should start designing our content into smaller chunks. My heuristic is the smallest thing you’d give one person or another. My more general principle is that resolves to breaking content down by it’s learning role: a concept model is different than an example is different than a practice.

This approach emerged from an initiative on an adaptive learning system I led. It now has played out as a mechanism to support several initiatives delivering content appropriately. For one, it was supporting different business products from the same content repository. For another it was about delivering the right thing at the right time.

Which leads to the second point, about being able to pick and deliver the right thing for the contextThis includes adaptive systems for learning, but also context-based performance support. With a model of the learner, the context, and the content, you can write rules that put these together to optimally identify the right thing to push.

You can go further. Think of two different representatives from the same company visiting a client. A sales person and a field engineer are going to want different things in the same location. So you can add a model of ‘role’ (though that can also be tied to the learner model).

There’s more, of course. To do this well requires content strategy, engineering, and management. Someone put it this way: strategy is what you want to deliver, engineering is how, and management is overseeing the content lifecycle.

Ultimately, it’s about moving from hardwired content to flexible delivery. And that’s possible and desirable. Moreover, it’s the future. As we see the movement from LMS to LXP, we realize that it’s about delivering just what’s needed when useful. Recognizing that LXPs are portals, not about creating experiences, we see the need for federated search.

There’s more: semantics means we can identify what things are (and are not), so we can respond to queries. With chatbot interfaces, we can make it easier to automate the search and offering to deliver the right thing to the right person at the right time.

The future is here; we see it in web interfaces all over the place. Why aren’t we seeing it yet in learning? There are strong cognitive reasons (performance support, workflow learning, self-directed and self-regulated learning).  And the technology is no longer the limitation. So let’s get on it. It’s time to think content systems, not content packages.


The post Content systems not content packages appeared first on Learnlets.

20 Dec 19:50

2020 AI Predictions: Five ways to go from reality check to real-world payoff

by Liviu Mihaileanu

Some useful thoughts on AI here.

Think that artificial intelligence (AI) is hard? Turns out, you’re right, and for many business leaders, 2020 is the year of the “reality check,” when they lay the groundwork for a realistic AI-powered future. PwC’s third annual AI Predictions report shows that only 4% of executives surveyed plan to deploy AI enterprise-wide in 2020. A … Continue reading 2020 AI Predictions: Five ways to go from reality check to real-world payoff →