Shared posts

15 Oct 07:17

Beyond Dungeons & Dragons: Role-playing games in the classroom

by Paul Greatrix

Learning about the history of slavery through role play? Registrarism brings us a new trend from the US

The post Beyond Dungeons & Dragons: Role-playing games in the classroom appeared first on Wonkhe.

12 Oct 15:58

Teams vs Yammer – When to Use each Platform?

by Ella Murphy

Everybody knows about Microsoft Office 365 and certainly a lot of people work with it every single day. Among other tools, today’s O365 package includes Microsoft Teams and Yammer in their offer, so chances are your company is using both. They are very similar platforms, so when should you use one instead of the other? 

This article will help you better define your use cases by introducing each tool and their capabilities, as well as presenting some common examples on when to use each of them. Let’s get started!


Microsoft Teams is the latest workload of O365. It has gained a rapid success, managing to reach 13 million daily active users in just two years.  Designed to boost collaboration across an organization, Teams has become the entry door to the modern workplace in many companies around the world. 

Teams has now replaced Skype for Business in the meeting and conversation scope. And while these are two main features in Teams, they are far from being the only ones that matter. Indeed, Microsoft Teams allows for members to work together regardless of their location. It is the place to go for information sharing and knowledge transfer on a specific context. 

Teams is great for smaller groups leading projects and is way more than a messaging tool for your company. It has come to change the way companies embrace the modern workplace and helps with productivity – working directly in Teams reduces the amount of emails sent internally. 

When creating a new Team, an Office 365 Group is created, too. This O365 group provides an immediate access to workloads such as Office Online and even a SharePoint Team Site. Within their channels, users get to find the information they need and open simultaneously each workload or file created in the context of the team – no need to go through other apps in order to get the job done!

Think about a business unit working on a new product release together. They will have a specific team and channels dedicated to this project exclusively. This way, users will know exactly where to start all conversations related to the release and will share the relevant content. Everything revolves around the same context. This concept as well as the fact that information is historized and able to be searched for is one of Teams’ stronger assets. 


Yammer has been around for several years now and has become a very popular Enterprise Social Network (ESN) for many companies. While its growth has slowed down considerably, it’s still that trustworthy friend so many companies like to work with, especially for internal communications and social purposes. 

This ESN is at the center of the culture of a company helping boost employee engagement towards the brand and allowing for an easy communication among colleagues. The people interacting within Yammer can be in different departments or geographical locations, it doesn’t matter! Yammer helps break the silos in any company. 

One of the most common use cases in Yammer involves internal communications managers. They tend to make announcements company wide, as their goal is to reach the most people in the organization. These announcements are then liked and commented by the employees, encouraging interactions between people that would not socialize outside this type of environment. 

The Verdict

Both Yammer and Microsoft Teams are amazing tools to work with and definitely find their place in any organization’s modern workplace, so when to use each one of them? 

If the goal is to send company-wide messages and encourage communication between different business units and employees in different locations, Yammer is the right choice! Send out an announcement, create a poll, have different groups – the whole company will be able to interact with them. 

If you want for team members to send messages about their ongoing projects and have them collaborate in real-time on different files, then Microsoft Teams will be the best ally. Users can join in different teams and have specific channels for each one of their projects and work in-app simultaneously, so all information will be right there when they need it.  

The post Teams vs Yammer – When to Use each Platform? appeared first on European SharePoint, Office 365 & Azure Conference, 2019, Prague, Czech Republic.

12 Oct 15:40

Megatrends and Higher Education

by David Thompson

We reached out to Dr. Rahul Choudaha and asked him about megatrends and higher education.

Dr. Rahul Choudaha is a global higher education strategist and analyst focusing on future-oriented, data-informed internationalization and global engagement strategies. He is a keen observer and commentator of trends and insights related to international student mobility, institutional partnerships, online and digital learning, cross-border/transnational education, world-class university initiatives, and quality assurance.

Dr. Rahul Choudaha (@DrEducationBlog) will be moderating a panel on creating capacity for global pos-secondary education at The Saylor Academy Summit: Closing the Global Skills Gap. #SaylorSummit19
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Jacqueline Arnold, Director of Strategic Relationships and Communications at Saylor Academy: What is a megatrend?  Why do they matter for the future of higher education?

Dr. Rahul Choudaha: I borrowed the definition of megatrends from John Naisbitt as “a long-term, transformational process with global reach, broad scope, and a dramatic impact.” When we think of higher education on a daily or even yearly basis, we often miss out on the more substantial external shifts which take place over several years and transform the fundamentals. Megatrends have the power to make us pause, think, and act in the interest of long-term changes. Among the key megatrends is the intersection of demographics, employment, and technological shifts, which are resulting in capacity and skills mismatch.  

JA: Where do you see possible shifts in growth opportunities and demand for higher education?

RC: From my viewpoint, the keyword for the future of global higher education is “blended.” Here I use blended in a broader sense than just blending online and offline learning. I am advocating for the potential of blended offerings in terms of disciplines, countries, and institutions. In other words, bridging capacity and skills gaps is about interdisciplinary learning options that span geographic and institutional boundaries. For example, between 2007 and 2017, High-income countries added 4.3 million students in tertiary education, according to UNESCO. During the same period, Lower middle-income countries (e.g., India, Bangladesh, Viet Nam, Kenya, Ghana, and Nigeria with per capita income of between ~$1,000 to ~$4,000) added 29.2 million–seven times as many students as High-income countries. However, this dramatic growth does not mean that everyone has access to quality education at an affordable cost. Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) of the addressable college-age population in these Lower middle-income countries can range from 20% to 40%, leaving a majority of potential learners still out of tertiary education. We know that our most significant defense for a future impacted by automation is an educated and skilled workforce. This is where blended offerings with flexibility and affordability for lifelong learning are crucial for addressing skills and capacity gaps. 

JA: Why should higher education administrators pay attention to these trends?  If you were a university president, what next steps would you take?

RC: Higher education institutions are at its core social institutions grounded in communities and economies of the region. Ignoring these megatrends will result in a failure to achieve the public good mission of the institutions. It not just about failure; now, we are at the onset of talking about the survival of institutions and mass unemployment unless institutions proactively respond to these megatrends. I would focus on blended as the core philosophy and strategy where partnerships with institutions, experiments with learning modalities, and synthesis of disciplines will guide the future.

Dr. Rahul Choudaha will be moderating a panel at The Saylor Academy Summit: Closing the Global Skills Gap taking place on November 14-15, 2019 in Washington, DC.   Register today and join us!

Subscribe to keep up with our latest posts.

The post Megatrends and Higher Education appeared first on Saylor Academy.

08 Oct 18:35

The 10 Commandments of Empowerment

by Dan Rockwell
Top-down empowerment programs reflect the reason they’re needed in the first place. Disconnected leaders develop ineffective empowerment programs in secluded conference rooms. There’s no power left for others when control is concentrated in… Continue reading →
08 Oct 18:19

from training to learning

by Harold Jarche

While social learning may be one the currently hot new trends in the education and training fields, we have known for a while “why tried-and-true training methods don’t work anymore”, as discussed by Brigitte Jordan (1937-2016) in the mid-1990’s while working at the Institute for Research on Learning. Here are the highlights — From Training to Learning in the New Economy.

Based on the idea that training consists of the transfer of authoritative knowledge from expert instructor to novice learner, it capitalized on the notion that knowledge can be packaged into units, modules and lectures, and delivered in standardized fashion to “the work force”.

Conventional training departments are set up to “cascade” training modules throughout the company but are, by and large, not prepared to assist large numbers of employees with the highly individualized career preparation many forward-looking employees now desire.

Whatever learning needs to happen for getting work done at the front line — on production floors, in sales, or in customer service —  often is not generated, or even recognized as needed, by the training organizations.

We need to shift from an emphasis on training and all that implies, to an emphasis on learning (and all that implies).

  1. Learning is inherent in human nature
  2. Learning is fundamentally social
  3. Learning shapes identity
  4. Informal learning is crucial in the workplace

In a fundamental way, all work is about learning: it is about learning to fit in and to collaborate, about learning to take initiative when appropriate, it is about really understanding customers, about acquiring intimate knowledge of the products and services the company sells and how they can fit into customers’ lives.

If it is true that we need to erase the distinction between learning and work, if it is true that learning is work and work is learning, then our most challenging question becomes: how can we construct and organize work environments in such a way that they support the kinds of learning that are useful and productive for employees, for work groups and for companies.

We have found no easy recipe, no universal set of prescriptions for doing that. What we have collected is a motley set of insights, of pragmatic maxims and design recommendations that serve as reminders of what the important issues and pitfalls are in this kind of endeavor.

  • View learning as work and work as learning.
  • Foster a view of knowledge as socially constructed rather than “transferred”.
  • Recognize and value informal communities of practice
  • Foster peer-to-peer learning and co-construction of knowledge.
  • Consider where person-to-person modeling and peer-learning are more powerful
  • Identify and advertise local experts so help is more easily found when needed.
  • Foster lateral communication between individuals and peer groups.

I came across this paper many years ago and it continues to inform my own practice. Jordan’s insights have aged very well.

27 Sep 19:07

Office 365 Collaboration Tools that Mirror SharePoint

by Ella Murphy

Many huge enterprises prefer Microsoft SharePoint as their collaboration and enterprise content management platform. Enterprises make use of SharePoint to store and access files by automating workflows, creating forms, and viewing business intelligence dashboards. Moreover, they can access all of these within a web browser with the help of Office 365 collaboration tools, which now include many of the SharePoint’s capabilities.

With the wash off for Office Groups in 2015 and later Teams in 2017, Microsoft is increasing the number of Office 365 collaboration tools, and this can be confusing for its uses to decide which one they should go for. When a user adopts Office 365, some expect that the collaboration should be more engaging and less painful. But with the bulk of other tools, the users bite their tongue as they turn to different approaches and adopt tools according to the business scenarios and project needs.

To all this chaos, you can avoid such situations and convert your workforce into a more productive form. In this article, we will be discussing some tools which you need to know and how to use them. Let’s get started!

There arises no doubt about these tools as they make collaboration simpler, quicker, and transparent. Every user can include their thoughts and expertise by adding value to their work and speed up the decision making the process. The huge collaboration tools which digitally transforms your work environment typically includes:

1.   Yammer


If you want to give a shout out to a major achievement on project completion or want to end up forming a question to the whole enterprise for solving a problem you need to try your hands on Yammer. It is also considered to spread a single message to a larger group of people.

The Yammer groups are concentrated around certain technologies or areas of expertise other than being focused on a single project. It is s kind of social networking service that works with the help of group-based messenger where you can jump around from one Yammer group to another and still access the past data of the previous group.

Similar to Microsoft teams, Yammer is built on Office 365 tools, and so the group has default access to Planner, SharePoint team site, OneNote and document library.

2.   SharePoint


We better know how irritating it becomes when you have to send an email document to several people and ask them to add their thoughts individually. This scenario can result in multiple versions of the same document with the individual feedbacks, and therefore, SharePoint has a better role to play in this. The tool allows you to work on a single presentation at the same time by helping you to work quickly and provide visibility on the approaches that others are talking about.

Since the past few years, Microsoft has turned SharePoint into a backend repository and container with front end apps such as Teams and Exchange. Many companies do not want to invest in Microsoft Teams, or they already exist with tools like Slack; for all of them, it is better to continue with SharePoint for collaboration purposes.

3.   Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams

The Teams tool is basically a chat-based collaboration platform which brings all the people, content, and other tools together to help a team which needs to stay more engaged and effective. It is ideal for an entire team to be on the same page for a common project as they must be able to chat whenever they want or update any actions in real-time.

Teams are built in Office 365 Groups, and therefore the people have access to SharePoint sites which are created by default for each team. As Microsoft Teams is mail-enabled, you can send emails to your respective channels where every member in the team can access it. The conversations appear in a threaded format in Teams, and so you get a chance to go back and review questions if you want.

4.   OneDrive For Business


[Image Source]

The tool is not designed as a collaboration tool, but it does allow you to share documents with others and co-author them by making it able a collaboration. This cloud service lets you save files and documents safely and also syncs the documents to the devices of any kind where you can easily upload a document in OneDrive and give access to other people. You can grant permissions at a granular level by allowing read-only or edit access. This ensures that team members do not use unapproved or insecure tools which compromise business security.

Wrapping Up!

No two workplaces are similar, and therefore, there is not a one-size fit all approach for collaboration. But there are plenty of steps to create a more engaging workspace by incorporating some of these tools. We hope this article helped you to get a brief idea about the Office 365 collaboration tools. Keep Learning!

About the Author:

Stephanie Donahole is working as a Business Analyst at Tatvasoft Australia, a SharePoint development company with excellent SharePoint Developers. Her aim is to sharpen her analytical skills, deepening her data understanding and broaden her business knowledge in these years of her career. She loves to write about technology innovation and emergence. Follow Her on Twitter at @SDonahole.

The post Office 365 Collaboration Tools that Mirror SharePoint appeared first on European SharePoint, Office 365 & Azure Conference, 2019, Prague, Czech Republic.

02 Sep 18:53

Educational Web Tools for Teacher Librarians

by Educatorstechnology
Librarians do an amazing job at school. They are entrusted with various educational tasks. These include, according to Queen University library, help students with information-related activities,... more
02 Sep 18:51

Assessment in the digital age

by (Steve Wheeler)
Image from JISC publication

This table is very useful summary for anyone who is interested in aligning assessment with teaching methods. It's important that this is achieved, because as Biggs and Tang (2011) argue, students create their own meaning from their experiences, by seeking out learning engagement. The teacher's role is to create or facilitate the environments, content and dialogue that optimises the student's activities. This include assessment and feedback - which are vital in scaffolding the student's progress through their education. It is known as constructive alignment, and is inherently student centred. The task of teachers is to align student learning outcomes with appropriate and relevant activities and assessment.

If assessment fails to align with outcomes, or militates against student engagement, it becomes more of a barrier than an enabler. Examples include testing that misses essential learning outcomes, or inappropriate methods of assessment that students are unable to successfully complete. Feedback that is incomplete or insufficient to encourage better learning is another failure of constructive alignment in assessment. In principle, each of the four pedagogical perspective seem discrete, but in practice, the best teachers tend to borrow from all of these approaches at different times to support students in multiple ways.

Assessing learning in the digital age, where students are using a growing range of technologies and approaches to learn, is complex. The table above helps to simplify the complexity somewhat, and provides educators with models that helpfully describe alternative approaches to pedagogy.

Biggs, J., and Tang, C. (2011) Teaching for quality learning at university. 4th ed. Buckingham: The Society for Research into Higher Education & Open University Press.
JISC (2017) Effective Assessment in the Digital Age.

Creative Commons License
Assessment in the digital age by Steve Wheeler was written in Plymouth, England and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Posted by Steve Wheeler from Learning with e's
21 Aug 17:38

Gunpowder & Geometry

by Mike Paterson
Gunpowder & Geometry: The Life of Charles Hutton, Pit Boy, Mathematician and Scientific Rebel by Benjamin Wardhaugh. This book review is a guest post by London Historians Member Laurence Scales.  This is the biography of Charles Hutton (1737-1823). Charles Who? To those in the know he was a Georgian mathematician. For those of you who […]
21 Aug 17:33

UK uni to offer free masters degrees

by Callan Quinn

Undergraduate students studying at the University of Law Business School in the UK who complete a degree with the university will have their tuition fees waived for their master’s if they continue to study at the institution.

Students will have to meet the course requirements and immediately go on to the master’s course after graduating from their bachelors.

“We are pioneering a new model of business education”

The offer is open to both domestic and international students who enrol from this year onwards and has the potential to help students save up to £17,000.

With campuses in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds and Nottingham, students will be able to take courses in different locations across the UK.

“Career planning has become increasingly important. A master’s course allows students to approach their careers with real certainty and address some of the complexities,” explained John Watkins, the director of employability at ULaw.

“Employers value the academic rigour obtained from a master’s course as well as the other disciplines and professional skills.”

Recent research showed postgraduate earn around £9,000 more than those without the same level of education.

“We’re thrilled to be able to call ourselves the first and only university in the UK to offer a free master’s course to our current and future undergraduate students” Andres Perez, the national director of business programmes at ULaw Business School, said.

“We are pioneering a new model of business education to help our students develop their knowledge of business specialisms and go further in their careers, including starting their own businesses and becoming the entrepreneurs of the future”

“At ULaw Business School we’re passionate about helping our students reach their full career potential and… we’re excited to see where our students go next after taking advantage of this opportunity to widen their prospects,” Andrea Nollent, vice-chancellor and CEO at ULaw, added.

The post UK uni to offer free masters degrees appeared first on The PIE News.

17 Aug 07:22

Curriculum Thinking. Blog collection all in one place.

by Tom Sherrington

I’ve written a lot about curriculum in the last year or so… so here’s a one-stop-shop to access them all in place:


Clarification about the idea of ‘knowledge rich’ and the wider context.

Curriculum Review process:

Short posts exploring ideas about the knowledge that matters:

A map/terrain metaphor to explore the process of making choices, mapping out a knowledge domain:

Blending knowledge with creativity and other curriculum elements.



18 Jun 17:54

‘£3.8bn needed to reverse school cuts’

by Nathalie Richards
The BBC is reporting that a one-off increase of £3.8bn would be needed to reverse 8% cuts in per pupil school spending, new analysis shows.… Read the rest
15 Jun 10:44

6 steps to establishing a digital workplace

Businesses intent on digital transformation are gaining that advantage by adopting a digital workplace to build cutting-edge teams.
11 Jun 18:13

Salesforce to Acquire Tableau: Why Now and What’s the Path Forward?

by Doug Henschen

Another big money development where long term value will only really come in real integration.

By Doug Henschen

Salesforce $15.7 billion mega acquisition will add revenue and blunt a Microsoft competitive threat, but long-term benefits will depend on deeper integration and additive innovation.

Salesforce is spinning its mega acquisition of Tableau Software as the number-one CRM vendor buying the number-one business intelligence (BI) and analytics vendor. It’s a big deal that was likely hastened by last week’s acquisition of Looker by Google. In the short term, it will give Salesforce more revenue, but in my view, the success and ultimate value of the proposed $15.7 billion deal will depend on what Salesforce and Tableau can do together and whether Tableau can accelerate its move into the cloud.

Tableau fills a competitive gap for Salesforce that Einstein Analytics hasn’t filled. Einstein Analytics (which originated as Salesforce Wave Analytics in 2014) is still very new, and it’s not widely adopted by Salesforce customers. What’s more, Einstein Analytics has been largely aimed at CRM-centric analytic needs, whereas Tableau gives it broad, multi-purpose analytical capabilities that are already widely adopted and highly regarded.

A key challenge, however, is that only one third of Tableau customers, at best, are running in the cloud. So either Tableau has to accelerate its move into the cloud or Salesforce has to develop more of a hybrid strategy. The latter would go against Salesforce’s longstanding “no software” ethos, although even cloud player Amazon Web Services (AWS) has made accommodations for on-premises deployments in recent years.


One thing that Salesforce and Tableau have in common (other than tens of thousands of customers) is Microsoft as a formidable rival. Microsoft goes after Salesforce primarily with Microsoft Dynamics 365 and it goes up against Tableau primarily with Power BI. In both cases, Microsoft stresses its broader platform, including Office 365, Azure, the LinkedIn graph, and its broad data-management portfolio, but the real weapon on both fronts is the blunt instrument of competitive pricing. Microsoft effectively discounts its CRM and analytics offerings knowing it can count on long-term benefits, stickiness and profits from each customer and byte of data that ends up on Azure.

Competing against Microsoft Power BI is one thing, but cloud competition is about to get tougher with Google’s acquisition of Looker, announced last week. And with both Google and Microsoft now strongly pursuing the BI and analytics market, it likely won’t be long before AWS steps up its game from its current, less-than-competitive QuickSight offering.

Tableau needed a deep-pocketed parent to help it compete against these new competitors. A key area of investment important to both Salesforce and Tableau is augmented analytics and artificial intelligence (AI). Microsoft has been adding augmented capabilities to Power BI, and it highlights the connection to the rest of its AI portfolio. Leveraging one set of AI and augmented analytics investments across Salesforce and Tableau should provide economies of scale that will help both parties innovate.

MyPOV on How to Better Serve Customers Together

I appreciate that Salesforce is promising to maintain Tableau as an independent business, just as it did when it acquired Mulesoft last year. Salesforce is far better than most companies at retaining the leadership, talent and values of the companies it acquires. A big part of Tableau’s strength has been its culture, and I see Salesforce as more likely than any other suitor to retain that energy.   

As I noted above, investments in AI and augmented analytics are an obvious place to start on future innovation. But with trends moving toward low-latency demands and predictive and prescriptive recommendations, I see analytics as destined to be more frequently embedded into applications. Not just OEM apps, but software apps that customers build themselves. Salesforce and the platform are both good fits for accelerating Tableau’s embedding strategy. Microsoft is pursuing these trends with its Power Apps, Flow and Power BI Embedded capabilities, and Salesforce and Tableau would do well to exploit their strengths.

As for how Salesforce and Tableau could improve and take advantage of integration, a few areas should be addressed to better serve customers. For starters, Tableau must evolve its self-service strengths and provide more tools and controls for centralized governance. The company started down this path a few years ago with data-certification capabilities, and it’s expected to add a data catalog this year.  Salesforce and Tableau together could do more to address centralized data modeling, ensuring reusability and a single version of the truth. Here’s where Looker has strengths, offering an old-school semantic modeling environment built for modern cloud data architectures.

The addition of Tableau also raises questions anew for Salesforce as to how deeply it will invest in data-management capabilities. Last year’s Mulesoft deal upped Salesforce API-oriented integration capabilities, but AWS, Google and Microsoft offer end-to-end database, data warehouse, data integration and high-scale data platform capabilities that give customers one-stop-shop opportunities while also fueling AI capabilities. Salesforce has to decide whether to take a Switzerland approach -- working with all the major clouds and third-party vendors -- or whether it’s going to also offer its own data platforms and services. Perhaps it could choose a middle ground by focusing exclusively on analytics, acquiring, say, Snowflake, and perhaps a bit more in the way of big data and data integration capabilities.

These are interesting times, and I am hearing echoes of the BI and analytics consolidation that happened just over a decade ago. There is a danger that history could repeat itself, as when BusinessObjects, Cognos and Hyperion were acquired in 2007/2008 by SAP, IBM and Oracle, respectively. Back then, many predicted that these massive consolidators would push independents out of business, but that’s not what happened. That’s exactly when Tableau, Qlik, Spotfire and other innovators emerged and it was mostly downhill from there for the incumbents.

The lesson for Salesforce is that it can’t count on the power of its platform to retain and win new Tableau customers; the product must remain competitive on its own merits, and that will require investment and the spark of innovation that got Tableau where it is today.    

Related Reading:
Google to Acquire Looker: First Salvo in a New Round of BI and Analytics Competition
Tableau Advances the Era of Smart Analytics
MicroStrategy Embeds Analytics Into Any Web Interface


10 May 13:25

Instructional Design Hourly Rates and Salary

by Christy Tucker

What is your hourly rate as an instructional designer? How much do you make if you’re a full-time salaried employee? What about freelance or consultant rates? People frequently ask me these questions, and I always refer people to the same resources. Use these benchmarks to use as a starting point, but you’ll need to adjust for your experience, education, skills, industry, whether you’re a full-time employee or independent consultant, etc.

Note that since I’m in the US, all of these resources are US-centric. Hourly rates and salaries outside the US will vary, although Canada seems to be pretty comparable.

A pile of 50 and 100 dollar bills.

Salary: Around $80,000

The eLearning Guild Salary Calculator is one of the best tools for comparing the variables that affect salary in the US. Enter your location, education, job focus, experience, etc. and get a benchmark salary to compare. The 2018 report puts the average salary for elearning professionals in the US at $84,421.

Members in the eLearning Guild (including a free membership) can access the 2018 salary report for more detail, including international data. The 2019 salary report took a different approach since salaries have been fairly stable, focusing on job roles and trends.

ZipRecruiter lists the average salary for instructional designers at $78,699.

Hourly Rates: Around $37/hour puts the hourly rate for instructional designers at $32-39, with an average of $35/hour.

ZipRecruiter lists the average hourly rate at $38/hour.

Don Clark has collected highlights from several sources on how to estimate instructional design cost and time. He lists the rate for an e-learning designer as $37/hour, based on a salary of $78,000.

Consultant and Freelance Rates

The quick way to calculate a freelance hourly rate is to double your W2 or full time hourly rate. When you work independently, you have to pay additional taxes and buy your own software. You also spend a lot of time that isn’t billable (proposals, marketing, professional development, etc.).

Writing Assistance Inc lists rates from $70-105+, with an average of $90.

Harold Jarche’s “So You Want To Be an ELearning Consultant?” article is now 10+ years old, but the idea of ranges of rates for different activities is still relevant. Click the table at the bottom to expand it and see the details, adding $5-$10/hour for current rates. Design tasks are $50-100 on his chart; development tasks are $30-60 (I would update this to at least $40-65). Technological and business analytical tasks can earn you up to $200. Ray Pastore created an updated version of this list in 2014 showing rates from $35-$250/hour depending on the task.

Freelance Rate Calculators

Richard Watson’s How to Become an eLearning Freelancer site has numerous articles and resources, including a quick calculator to get a rough hourly rate.

Although it isn’t specific to instructional design or e-learning, Flying Solo’s Hourly Rate Calculator is a useful tool to determine your hourly rate as a freelancer based on your expenses. This calculator is more detailed that the one listed above.

Here’s another similar rate calculator from Use Pastel.

Jeffrey Rhodes’ presentation on how to price consulting work explains how to determine your hourly rate as a consultant and how to estimate and price services.

Instructional Design Careers

Want more info? Check out my other posts on instructional design careers.

Looking to hire an instructional designer?

I help organizations who need online learning that gets results and changes behavior. Interested in learning more? Check out my portfolio and the services I provide.

Originally published 9/3/2013, last updated 5/2/19

The post Instructional Design Hourly Rates and Salary appeared first on Experiencing eLearning.

25 Apr 09:08

Apprenticeship levy usage rockets from 5 to 22% in second year but only 15% since launch

by Billy Camden

Employers used 22 per cent of their apprenticeship levy funds in the 12 months to the end of January 2019 – a huge fourfold increase from the 5 per cent drawn down in the first nine months of the policy.

The skills minister Anne Milton revealed in a parliamentary answer yesterday that between May 2017 and the end of January 2019, levy-paying employers “utilised £601 million of the funds available to them to pay for apprenticeship training in England”.

This amounts to 15 per cent of the £3.9 billion total funds entering employers’ accounts in the same period.

In a separate parliamentary answer from last week, Milton revealed that in the 12 months from February 2018 to January 2019, £523 million, or 22 per cent, of the £2.36 billion received into employers’ apprenticeship service accounts had been drawn down.

FE Week analysis of the figures used by the minister shows that in the first nine months of the levy, from May 2017 to January 2018, £78 million of the £1.54 billion (5 per cent) paid into employers’ accounts was used to cover training costs (see table below).

Levy funds usage has therefore increased fourfold, but apprenticeship starts have only increased by one fifth (21 per cent).

Funding is automatically drawn down every month for the duration of the apprenticeship so as new starts are taken on the monthly usage, percentage rises much faster than the starts as it is includes some of the cost of the starts in previous months.

This monthly funding and the fact that on average apprenticeships are now costing more than double the forecast, goes some way to explain why the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education and the National Audit Office warned of a budget overspend in the future.

Milton explains in the parliamentary answers that the figures do not include other costs that the levy pays for, such as funding apprenticeships for small, non-levy paying employers, for English and maths qualifications and for extra support for apprentices who are care leavers or have special needs.

Large employers have been made to pay the apprenticeship levy since it was launched in April 2017. After a deduction for non-English employees and a 10 per cent top-up the monthly levy value appears in the employer apprenticeship system account, which they have two years to use.

In March, Keith Smith, the Education and Skills Funding Agency’s director of Apprenticeships, told the public accounts committee that employers are expected to lose around £12 million in May, or 9 per cent of what they paid in April 2017, when the first ‘sunset period’ arrives.

And in a webinar with FE Week during the Easter break, the government admitted for the first time the vast majority of the £400 million underspend from the Department for Education’s apprenticeship budget was taken back by the Treasury.

Asked how much cash the Treasury clawed back in the financial year to April 2018, Milton replied she “can’t give exact figures”, and referred the question to Smith, who said it was “just over £300 million”.

There’ve been many concerns raised that employers are not spending their funds quickly enough. The NHS, for example, told FE Week in March that it expects to lose a fortune when unspent apprenticeship levy funds begin to expire from May.

Recent policy changes have aimed to increase levy spending. From this month, levy-paying employers will be able to share more of their annual funds with smaller organisations, when the levy transfer facility rises from 10 to 25 per cent.

The 10 per cent fee small businesses have to pay when they take on apprentices has also been halved this month.

The government had hoped the apprenticeship levy would encourage more employers to invest in training and help it hit its manifesto target of three million apprenticeship starts by 2020. However, starts have fallen dramatically since its launch.

The latest figures, released on March 28, revealed that apprenticeship starts for January were down 21 per cent on the same month in 2017 before the levy was introduced.

FE Week analysis shows that an average of 85,246 starts are needed every month over the next 15 months to reach the three million starts target. Since May 2015, the average has been 38,251.

22 Apr 11:17

social learning is innate

by Harold Jarche

Social learning is a key theme of mine because imitation is how we learn as a species. Social learning is best explained by Albert Bandura, recognized as the most eminent psychologist of the modern era.

“Learning would be exceedingly laborious, not to mention hazardous, if people had to rely solely on the effects of their own actions to inform them what to do. Fortunately, most human behavior is learned observationally through modeling: from observing others one forms an idea of how new behaviors are performed, and on later occasions this coded information serves as a guide for action.” —Albert Bandura

Making our organizations open to social learning fosters innovation. Nobody works in a vacuum and we all build upon past ideas and achievements. Open structures that distribute authority can lead to more transparent knowledge sharing which promotes social learning. This open sharing can foster more diverse perspectives which can fuel active experimentation. Innovation emerges from this constant flow of ideas and experiments.

Social learning is not a ‘nice-to-have’. It is not something bolted on to formal education or training programs. Social learning is how humans have evolved in order to survive and thrive. Social learning is a major factor in what makes humans unique. Many organizational practices — separate departments, chain of command, job descriptions, individual performance measurement, focus on task at hand — all block social learning. Without social learning, there will be no innovation. So don’t appoint a head of innovation. Remove barriers to social learning and let people do what we have evolved to do best — learn from each other.

“How are we to learn from each other? How are we to acquire novel information? How are we to work together to establish the truth of our environment if we don’t affirmatively foster and support this rather wonderful innate quality that we have to teach and learn from each other. We are innately a friendly species, but we need environments which allow us to optimally express our inclination to be friendly. We don’t want, for example, environments in which we’re pitted against each other, where we have leaders that are kind of saying, these people are responsible for your problems. We want environments which say, we can be united in our common humanity. And analogously, we want environments which are supportive and conducive to teaching and learning. We want environments — we want to create environments in which we maximize the flow and the spread of information.” —Nicholas Christakisvideo


18 Apr 17:32

Ancient History Family Trees Poster

by Randy Krum


Ancient History Family Trees infographic poster from Matt Baker at Useful Charts

Matt Baker from UsefulCharts has launched a KickStarter campaign to release the fourth poster in his family tree series. The newest poster is the Ancient History Family Trees poster and focuses on the time period between 1600 BCE and 100 CE. It includes historical dynasties (shown in color) as well as a few sections based on legend and/or religious traditions (shown in grey).

Help support Matt launch the new poster on KickStarter by Friday, March 29, 2019!

The full list is as follows:

  • Armenia (Artaxiad dynasty)

  • Assyria (Middle and New kingdoms)

  • Babylon (Chaldean dynasty)

  • Carthage (Barcid dynasty & its Phoenician roots)

  • China (Legendary origins; Shang, Zhou, Qin, and Early Han dynasties)

  • Egypt (Dynasties 18-31; Ptolemaic dynasty)

  • Greeks (The Iliad; Sparta & Athens; Alexander the Great & the Diadochi)

  • Hittites (New Kingdom)

  • India (Ramayana & Mahabharata legends; the Buddha; Nanda & Maurya dynasties)

  • Palestine (Selected bible characters, Israel & Judah, Maccabees, Herod the Great)

  • Persia (Median, Achaemenid, and Arsacid dynasties)

  • Rome (Generals of the republic; Julio-Claudian dynasty)

  • Syria (Seleucid dynasty)

You can see the new chart up close in Matt’s YouTube video:

You can see the rest of Matt’s posters from UsefulCharts on the Cool Infographics Infographic Posters page where I have links to over 100 posters from designers all over the world! Once this poster is released and available, I’ll add the link to it on the Posters page as well.

18 Apr 16:12

New model of managerial education in technical university

International Journal of Educational Management, Volume 33, Issue 3, Page 511-524, April 2019.
Purpose A modern trend in the educational environment in recent years has been the permanent education system with the involvement of online study modes. It is based on multidisciplinarity and adaptivity of educational technologies, starting with the basic level of education – bachelor’s degree, and ending with gaining competences in the field of engineering and economics throughout the whole professional life of a student. The purpose of this paper is to perform a detailed analysis of development of permanent education in Russian universities, focusing on statistical data on popularity of jobs as to professional groups among employers and determining peculiarities of permanent education, based on the distinguished peculiarities of permanent education and requirements of business to develop a model of engineering and managerial education that would integrate two blocks of the educational process – engineering and economic, as well as include modern technologies of teaching. Design/methodology/approach The authors propose the modern model of engineering management education that is implemented in the Russian technical universities. Its distinctive feature as compared to the conventional educational technologies is gaining competences in the field of economics and management at the same time with engineering education at the second stage of education – the master’s program. The proposed model of engineering and management education results in obtainment of two diplomas by the student who is awarded with a master’s degree in engineering and a master’s degree in economics. A difference of the offered model from the traditional educational technologies is obtaining competences in the sphere of economics and management together with engineering education at the master’s program. The result of the offered model of engineering and managerial education is graduate’s receiving two diplomas with master’s degree of engineer and master of economics. The paper shows the existing mechanism of implementing the model of engineering and economic education in a technical university by the example of the master’s program in Economics “Evaluation of economic risks during technological decisions (in oil processing and oil chemistry).” Findings The offered model of engineering and managerial education will allow training the engineers of a new type, who will be able to adapt to new tendencies and initiate the changes that are necessary for effective functioning of business in the conditions of digital economy. Originality/value The offered model of engineering and managerial education should be acknowledged as an innovational educational project that raises demand for graduates through their adaptability to employer’s needs and their usage of new tools of management that are based on exchange of information data and that form managerial task for information provision of the process of decision making and their further execution.
18 Apr 16:10

Teaching and Learning with Twitter

by Britt
Yesterday during a web conference with faculty teaching in the Creighton University Interdisciplinary Doctorate in Leadership, we were discussing andragogy – the teaching of adults.  Jeff Miller noted that one practice he used was to add Twitter to his classes.  In an email later following up with me, he shared his rationale that is in… Read more Teaching and Learning with Twitter
18 Apr 16:07

E-learning in higher inclusive education: needs, opportunities and limitations

International Journal of Educational Management, Volume 33, Issue 3, Page 424-437, April 2019.
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to study the limitations, opportunities and conditions for the development of e-learning in the inclusive education system in the universities. Design/methodology/approach The paper reviews the literature dedicated to e-learning, its application and adaptation in higher inclusive education. Systemic and social approaches were applied to the perception of higher inclusive education for the purposes of this study. The principles of evolutionary economics and institutional theory were used for determining the possibility of using e-learning in higher inclusive education. The findings are confirmed by an empirical study of the integration of e-learning into the higher inclusive education system by the example of Russia. Findings It has been shown that the development of e-learning in the national higher education system and its perception by the higher inclusive education system depends on the level of development of social and information interrelation in the society. In addition, e-learning can only be used in higher inclusive education when it is interrelated with traditional learning. The efficiency of e-learning in higher inclusive education depends on the systemic institutional environment which was formed both at the level of the state and at the level of a particular university. In this case, the institutional environment should be focused not only on the development of e-learning and inclusive education, but also on their collaboration. Practical implications The results of the study, which identified special aspects, opportunities and limitations of e-learning in higher inclusive education, can be applied to improve its effectiveness both at the level of individual universities and at the level of formation of national strategies for the development of higher education. Originality/value Given the growing relevance of higher inclusive education in the contemporary world and the limited number of studies of adaptation and the use of e-learning in it, the results obtained can contribute to the implementation of strategic planning of this direction at the national and local levels.
18 Apr 16:07

Application of remote technologies in education

International Journal of Educational Management, Volume 33, Issue 3, Page 503-510, April 2019.
Purpose At present, the development of information technologies changes the whole system of public functioning. Special attention is paid to the system of higher education, as it forms future highly qualified specialists, who will become the basis of digital economy. According to this, new remote technologies are implemented into the system of education each year, which are a basic prototype of smart technologies. The purpose of this paper is to determine the role of remote technologies in the development of the system of higher education and to form skills with the students. Design/methodology/approach Based on this, it is necessary to solve the following tasks: view the aspects, peculiarities and possibilities of remote education; distinguish the main tools of remote technologies in education; offer electronic final program as a remote method of evaluation of students’ knowledge. Findings In this study, the following methods are used: analysis, synthesis, logical method, abstraction and comparison. Scientific novelty consists in performing research in the sphere of significance and implementation of remote technologies in the system of higher education of the Russian Federation. Originality/value This research could be useful for public officers who form programs of development of higher education and for academic staff of higher educational establishments.
18 Apr 16:06

Confessions of a teacher

by (Steve Wheeler)
Photo from Wikimedia Commons
During the life of the Plymouth Enhanced Learning Conference (PELeCon), we tried to be innovative, introducing new features over the ten years the event ran.

One of the most innovative (and perhaps controversial) was the inclusion of a confessional booth during the final PELeCon. The idea was simple, and a counterpoint to the sometimes congratulatory culture seen in many conferences. In many other events, all delegates tend to hear are the success stories, and how great everything is.

But all those of us who have been engaged in education at any level will know that not everything goes smoothly and teaching and learning is not a bed of roses. It can be messy, divisive, disappointing, even heartbreaking.

The idea behind the confessional booth was to introduce some reality and honesty to the conference and to encourage teachers to share. The idea was simple, and my learning technology team made it happen. They built a small booth large enough for a person to sit inside, with a curtain at the back.

The delegates were invited to sit inside the booth, and use a web cam and microphone to record a short 'confession' of something that went wrong - with some commentary about what they had learnt from the failure. If they felt confident, they could then tap a red button, and the entire recording would be published on YouTube. 

Several delegates recorded 'confessions' and posted them to YouTube. Many didn't take up the offer, and it was a one-off event, because my university cancelled funding for any future events, and PELeCon was no more. Who knows what library of confessionals we might have generated. The last element was the most important - we can all learn from success stories, but it is often the failures we learn the most from. 

Sharing is a big component of collaborative culture, and learning from each other should be a normal activity for all teachers. Reading Richard Gerver's latest book Education: A Manifesto of Change triggered further thoughts on this idea. He writes: 

'Collaboration will always suffer if there is an underlining lack of respect and trust. Many teachers feel vulnerable and actually quite insecure about their own practice, even the greatest ones, and this means that as a profession, we are sometimes nervous of sharing.' (Gerver, 2019, p 19)

Gerver documents some of the issues around teachers trolling each other and being openly hostile if they see ideas that they cannot agree with on social media. He maintains that there should be a balance between echo chambers (where everyone agrees with each other and there is no learning) and hostile, fear ridden environments where people feel they cannot speak out for fear of being humiliated by stronger voices. 

Like him, I call for a better, more psychologically safe environment within which educators can discuss and share their ideas, hopes and fears with no fear of ridicule or humiliation. The only way we can achieve this is for all of us to separate ourselves from those who would seek to undermine, threaten and bully anyone who doesn't agree with their own views. We have had too much of this in recent years and it's time it came to an end. 

Teachers - we are all in this together, and we have the same aim in mind - to provide the highest quality learning experiences for our students, our community and our society. Let's be more tolerant of each other's views, and openly share and debate in a civilised, professional and caring manner.

Gerver, R. (2019) Education: A Manifesto for Change. London: Bloomsbury Education.    

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Confessions of a teacher by Steve Wheeler was written in Plymouth, England and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Posted by Steve Wheeler from Learning with e's
18 Apr 16:01

Learning Technologies Conference 2019

by Ian Blake
London Skyline

The Learning Technologies Conference in London is always an inspiring event, and this year was no exception.

This year they introduced “The Bridge” – 5 minutes of informal discussion at the end of each talk where we discussed in pairs / small groups “This session has been great, what are you actually going to do and take back to work with you?” A great concept as although being inspired at conferences is important, it is vital to take back and apply something that you have found.

I attended six sessions over the two days, I have summarised in this post the top three for me:

Learning Evaluation: Will Thalheimer

This session was very relevant to the work I am doing in a project as it focussed on how evaluation can be used for continuous improvement and drive learning transfer, the use of new knowledge and skills back at work.

Will has been reading the research done into learning and evaluation for many years and translating it into actionable ideas and tools to push the transfer of learning to people’s work. His talk was about two of his latest contributions to the area of learning evaluation in business:

1. an improved performance-focussed survey to use after a course to get people’s feedback (Level 1 Evaluation or Happy Sheets as it is often called) and a whole new model for learning evaluation,

2.  the Learning Transfer Evaluation Model (LTEM), which focusses on enabling  continuous improvement of learning activities and the application of learning back at work.

My Bridge – connecting the conference to my work:

  • Look at how to use LTEM and a new Level 1 survey
  • Ensure any data collected helps in decision making​
  • Send messages in Level 1 survey questions to nudge learners to the correct behaviour. ​
  • People are not often good judges of their own learning. ​
  • What “brand” do you want your learning and development organisation to have?  Have a question that reinforces this on your Level 1 survey.
  • Use delayed (sent out, for example, three weeks after the course) Level 1 surveys as well​

MOOCs (online video-based courses): Marlo Kengen; Petra Peeters; Gabriel Schaepman

We need to create dynamic and interactive learning activities that focus on adding value. Online video-based courses offer one way to do this.​

MOOCs are a very popular way for traditional universities to open up their learning to everyone, and at the same time earn money from it. They are becoming more common in business as the technology needed to create and host them is becoming cheaper. The speakers were from Han University and Swiss Re, so brought a balanced view of MOOCs.

Gabriel (Swiss Re) shared an important aspect of using MOOCs within a company – that the learners need to be taken out of isolation. Swiss Re achieve this by activating six networks of the participant including their manager and also pairing up people so that they have a learning partner doing the same course. Importantly they also focus on what the leaners will apply following the course, not on what they will learn. They apply three methods for their courses, Structured Learning, Social Learning and On-the-Job Learning with people beginning to apply what they have learnt very quickly in the on-the-job part. Interestingly Swiss Re host their MOOCs on sharepoint.

This way of presenting courses online can offer several advantages: allowing learners to do the course in small chunks when they have the time, letting people do some of the theory before attending a classroom session to allow more time for hands-on practice, and the content can be made available to everyone to use as and when they need it in their work.

My Bridge – connecting the conference to my work:

  • Look at how we can use MOOCs to move from learning to value creation​
  • Make job specific tasks part of any MOOC​
  • Encourage social interaction, it makes all the difference. The experts running the courses must react fast to discussions, but not jump in with expert opinions; this could shut down the discussion
  • E-learning is learning in isolation, use MOOCs to get people out of isolation. ​
  • In commercial MOOCs completion rates is crucial as this is how they earn money (certification). BUT in business we should focus on people cherry picking the information they need and applying it
  • Click bait works – use rhetorical questions in the titles.

Data-fuelled Learning: Lori Niles; Nick Coley; Hannah Gore

In learning we need top “make data our super-power”. To be effective (in other words to help people improve their performance) we need to put the content where our learners are when they need it – looking at data will help us achieve this. One example, given by Lori Niles, of directing content to where people were, was a company that discovered its most popular intranet page was the restaurant’s menu page, and so added links to learning content there – leading to a 30% increase in engagement.

We need to be aware of Digital Body Language: “Every drop-off, click, or share, is a learner shouting their likes and dislikes. These actions are the eye-rolls, smiles and arms-crossed from the classroom, simply in digital format”. This originally comes from marketing, and although learning is not marketing, we are trying to change people’s behaviour through information.

In learning we should be smart in the way we use data – fitting into the workflow, identifying trends, making better design decisions and responding faster to performance needs. Hannah Gore encouraged looking into your company’s strategy to see how Learning and Development can “save the company”!

Nick Coley from Evans Cycles shared that they used to launch all their content on a Friday afternoon ready for the weekend (when the stores were open), however they found that their users were most active on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday around lunch time. They simply changed the launch of new content to Monday morning and saw the impact of that. Another finding was that their video content was usually around 5 minutes, whereas the average user was on the platform for about three minutes – shortening their videos to match this increased engagement and user perceptions of quality.

My Bridge – connecting the conference to my work:

  • Look at business strategy and how to support it. ​
  • Make L&D data relevant to what the business wants to hear. ​
  • Use data as a diagnosis not an autopsy​.
  • Click-bait titles​ work but need to be truthful.
  • Know when and how users visit – and where do they “hang out”- put link to content there​.
  • Remember, high engagement is not the same as good quality content​ and business results.
18 Apr 15:57

The new talent management challenges of Industry 4.0

Journal of Management Development, Volume 38, Issue 2, Page 118-129, March 2019.
Purpose The transformational changes to business environments brought about by the fourth industrial revolution create a perfect storm for strategic human resource management, prompting a need to explore the implications of this context for talent management theory and practice. The paper aims to discuss these issues. Design/methodology/approach In-depth interviews were conducted with HR directors and senior leaders within engineering-led organisations to explore current challenges experienced across each stage of the talent pipeline: attraction and recruitment, training and development, career development, talent mobility and succession planning. Findings The speed of technological change brought about by Industry 4.0 had created a significant gap between current capability of employees and the rapidly evolving requirements of their roles, prompting a need to consider new and more effective approaches to talent development. Middle managers are increasingly recognised as overlooked critical talent within this context of unprecedented change, given their essential role in change management. In addition, whilst lateral hiring remains a common talent management practice, in the case of Industry 4.0 this equates to fighting a war for talent that does not exist. Practical implications This study suggests that there is a need for evolution of talent management theory and practice towards a more dynamic, systems-thinking orientation, acknowledging the interrelated nature of different talent management activities. Originality/value This paper provides an in-depth insight into the impact of the unprecedented change brought about by Industry 4.0 on contemporary talent management practice, considering how theory and practice might need to evolve to enable individuals and organisations to keep up with the rate of technological change.
18 Apr 15:51

Digital Learning in Organizations

by (Steve Wheeler)
Cover design by Kogan Page
My new book will be published on April 3 by Kogan Page. Digital Learning in Organizations has already been positively reviewed by several leading figures in the world of Learning and Development (L and D), including Jane Hart, Laura Overton, Charles Jennings, Edmund Monk and Richard Gerver, and it includes case studies and interviews with many more, as well as forewords by Donald H Taylor and Shelly Terrell.

The book is aimed at those working as learning and development professionals in industry, but will also be of interest to any, and all, those working in the world of learning technology, knowledge and education. It is available in paperback, hardback and Kindle (Amazon site) formats, and can be pre-ordered on the Kogan Page website (use the promotional code FHRDL20 and get 20% discount on the purchase price). The promotional text is below:

Technology holds vast potential for learning and development (L and D) practitioners. It can improve performance, productivity, engagement and knowledge retention. However, if employees aren't able to leverage the potential of these technologies, any investment in them is futile. Digital Learning in Organizations shows L and D professionals how to make sure that their workforce is 'digitally ready' and has the skills, capabilities and understanding needed to capitalize on the opportunities created by learning technologies and feel confident in their ability to get the most out of them. It includes guidance on how technologies can be used to improve both social and personal learning, how the increased flexibility created by technology enables a multi-located workforce to develop simultaneously and discussion of how to ensure that technology really does facilitate employee development and doesn't become a distraction.

Digital Learning in Organizations also includes comprehensive coverage of the ways in which L and D practitioners can engage with learning technologies and digital capabilities such as mobile learning, wearable technology, learning analytics, virtual presence tools as well as augmented, mixed and virtual reality. Packed with insights from leading L and D practitioners, this an essential read for all L and D practitioners needing to improve employee and company performance in a digital world.

NB: If you are interested in booking me for a keynote, workshop, seminar or corporate event, Kogan Page are able to print bespoke versions of my new book which can include your corporate branding, message from CEO and other company specific text and artwork. Contact me via email at

Update: A Facebook page promoting the new book is now online at this link. Check it out and like it (if you like)! Visit to get a 20% discount on the cover price.

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Digital Learning in Organizations by Steve Wheeler was written in Plymouth, England and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Posted by Steve Wheeler from Learning with e's
18 Apr 15:43

From intranets to digital employee experience (keynote presentation, March 2019)

by James Robertson

I was honoured to be invited (again!) to be the opening keynote of the always-enjoyable Intranet & Digital Workplace Congres, held in Utrecht each year.

In the session I explored the journey that organisations are on, as they deliver increasingly mature solutions and experiences to their employees.

The key highlights:

  • Modern intranets remain vital, as a provider of key content and services, as well as providing an enterprise front door to the wider organisation.
  • The five purposes of intranets provides a framework for assessing your current intranet, and then planning where to devote resources for improvements.
  • The annual Intranet and Digital Workplace Awards share a wide variety of modern intranets that deliver business value.
  • More broadly, the digital workplace consists of all the digital tools, platforms and environments for work.
  • Every organisation already has a digital workplace, since the introduction of email, but it’s in a poor state.
  • So the key question to ask is: what makes a great digital workplace?
  • At the most holistic level, the digital employee experience (DEX) encompasses all the digital interactions within the work environment.
  • A great DEX is required to deliver a great CX.
  • The DEX Survey conducted by Step Two sheds light on the current state of DEX maturity.
  • Every organisation should choose what they’re currently focusing on: intranets, digital workplaces or digital employee experience.

The post From intranets to digital employee experience (keynote presentation, March 2019) appeared first on Step Two.

18 Apr 15:36

Some facts about International GCSEs

by Kate Keating

A student at a desk writing on an exam paper.

Reflecting on recent interest in the comparability of GCSEs and International GCSEs, this blog provides further information about the two types of qualification and how they operate in England.

  1. International GCSEs and GCSEs in England are different qualifications. GCSEs are based on content specified by the government and must be assessed in line with Ofqual’s rules. The awarding organisations that offer International GCSEs each decide the content for those qualifications and how that content is assessed, which may legitimately be different to GCSEs.
  2. In England, International GCSEs have not counted in school performance tables since the corresponding reformed GCSEs became available. In the UK, therefore, International GCSEs are mainly taken by students in independent schools.
  3. International GCSEs are also taken by many thousands of students across the world.
  4. Awarding organisations can decide whether their qualifications are regulated. Our Register of qualifications shows the qualifications we regulate and, where relevant, the date at which we will cease to regulate a qualification. Some International GCSEs have never been regulated by us; some have been regulated by us in the past, but are no longer; and some are currently regulated by us (see list below). By 1 April 2020 we do not expect to be regulating any International GCSEs.
  5. On our Register of qualifications we describe the few International GCSEs we still regulate as ‘Level 1/2 certificates’, although the qualifications are still more generally known as International GCSEs. We cannot require awarding organisations to change the name of unregulated International GCSEs. Our description reflects our view that the qualifications, when regulated, are at levels 1/2, as are GCSEs. Like other qualifications at this level, the grades are not necessarily aligned with GCSE grades.
  6. We accredited new GCSEs to check that they covered the government’s expected curriculum and met the carefully designed rules around assessment we put in place. We can also be confident that grade standards between GCSEs offered by different exam boards align and that standards are maintained over time.
  7. Previously, when International GCSEs were taken by large numbers of students in maintained schools, we had information about their prior performance. We used this to compare some grade standards in International GCSEs and GCSEs for the qualifications awarded in 2015 and 2016. We found differences which varied by grade, awarding organisation, subject and year. For example, in one English/English language specification, the International GCSE was around two thirds of a grade easier at grade A and around a fifth of a grade easier at grade C, while in another specification the International GCSE was closely aligned at grade A and around a tenth of a grade easier at grade C. In English literature, on the other hand, there was a mixed picture, with evidence that some grades were set more generously but others were more severe. There was no systematic pattern.
  8. We cannot re-run this analysis now that students in maintained schools do not take International GCSEs because we do not have sufficient data on students’ prior performance – most students now taking International GCSEs did not take key stage 2 tests.
  9. Results for any qualification will reflect the cohort of students who took each qualification. For example, the most highly attaining students are likely to take physics GCSE rather than combined science GCSE. Proportionately more top grades are awarded in GCSE physics than GCSE combined science. This does not mean that GCSE physics is easier than GCSE combined science. We cannot draw conclusions from the grades awarded in an International GCSE and the corresponding GCSE because we do not have data on the prior performance of the International GCSE cohort. Even if we had such data, differences between the content and assessment arrangements of GCSE and International GCSEs mean that grades in the respective qualifications would not necessarily represent achievement of the same knowledge, understanding and skills.
  10. We have no powers to intervene in qualifications that we do not regulate. Organisations do not have to comply with our rules when they offer unregulated qualifications and we cannot consider concerns or complaints about such qualifications.

Amidst the recent discussion, it is important to remember that GCSEs and International GCSEs are not the same qualifications, and so we believe it is not possible to say with any precision how the standards of the two compare. Awarding organisations may of course conduct their own comparative analysis or benchmarking.

People should be careful when using GCSE and International GCSEs interchangeably if exact comparability matters to them. However, we recognise that such precise comparison might not be an issue for everyone. Universities and employers are used to seeing many different qualifications on applications and deciding what value they place on them.

International GCSEs can have a particular value for students outside of the UK for whom the content prescribed for students in England might be less relevant. We recognise the export market for English qualifications is vibrant and we are pleased to be working with the Department for International Trade to improve the information available to international purchasers about the range of those we regulate.



These Cambridge International qualifications, described on our Register as Level 1/2 certificates, will be regulated by Ofqual until 1 April 2020

Qualification Name QN Number Syllabus Code
Certificate in Art and Design 500/5658/X


Certificate in Music 500/5679/7


Certificate in Information and Communications Technology 500/5649/9


Certificate in Business Studies 500/5702/9


Certificate in Enterprise 600/1959/1


Certificate in Geography 500/5652/9


Certificate in History 500/5656/6


Certificate in English Literature (9-1) 601/5295/3


Certificate in Computer Science 601/3120/2


Certificate in English as a Second Language 500/5653/0 0511
Certificate in French 500/5642/2


Certificate in German 600/0714/X


Certificate in Spanish 600/0769/2


Certificate in Italian 600/6585/0


Certificate in Greek 500/5680/3


Certificate in Mandarin Chinese 600/2572/4


Certificate in Biology 500/5871/X


Certificate in Chemistry 500/5701/7


Certificate in Physics 500/5660/8


Certificate in Mathematics (9-1) 601/5294/1


Certificate in First Language English (9-1) 601/5296/5


18 Apr 15:08

Reform of Functional Skills qualifications in English and maths

by Phil Beach

From 1 September 2019 a reformed suite of English and maths Functional Skills qualifications (FSQs) will be available. This follows a decision made by government in 2015 to reform FSQs in English and maths. While the level of demand for the qualifications will remain the same, the reform process will ensure that these qualifications better meet employer needs in terms of the knowledge and skills that learners achieve. We know that when qualifications change, it can take some time for teachers to get used to the new versions, often because there are fewer resources available. We will expect Awarding Organisations (AOs) to take this into account when setting pass marks for the reformed qualifications so that learners are not disadvantaged. We will be publishing a further blog about how we will work with AOs to maintain standards later in the year.

From September, all new students starting an FSQ in English or maths will be enrolled onto the reformed qualifications. This blog will take you through some of the changes.

Biro pen on sheet of paper with sums written on

Content changes

The Department for Education (DfE), which is responsible for subject content, has introduced much more specific common content.

In this new content, there is more emphasis on the underpinning knowledge and skills that learners need. For English, this includes a focus on spelling, punctuation and grammar, without the aid of dictionaries or spell checks. At Entry levels, there will be detailed reading and spelling expectations based on the structured teaching of phonics. For maths, the content draws upon the underpinning knowledge and skills needed to solve mathematical problems, both with and without a calculator.

You can find the full subject content for both English and maths on the DfE’s website.

Qualification design and structure

We have used the reform as an opportunity to strengthen the design and delivery of FSQs, better securing comparability between the qualifications over time and across different awarding organisations. In order to do this and make sure these qualifications meet DfE’s expectations, we have thought carefully and refined our thinking in response to consultation feedback about how to regulate these qualifications.

Based on feedback to our consultations, we kept some of the features that worked well in legacy FSQs, for example continuing to permit on-demand assessment and using a Pass/Fail grading system. We have also made some changes to the qualifications, including changes to the duration of assessments and, in line with DfE expectations, there will be an increase in the number of guided learning hours to 55. In addition, Level 1 and Level 2 assessments (with the exception of Speaking, Listening and Communicating in English) continue to be set and marked by the awarding organisations. Our rules also allow the context of Entry level assessment tasks to be adapted by teachers to reflect situations in which their students may use the skills being assessed.

Technical Evaluation

All new FSQs are going through our technical evaluation process before being made available, so that they are of high quality and support consistent assessment and awarding.  A combination of independent subject experts and Ofqual assessment experts have reviewed a range of materials against our rules. These materials include the specification and the sample assessments. During this process, we have considered issues such as level of demand, coverage of the DfE’s subject content, and the quality of questions and their associated mark schemes. We have also reviewed each awarding organisation’s assessment strategy, the key document in which they explain their approach to the design and delivery of their qualification.

We have already completed our technical evaluation for a number of qualifications, and many more are nearing the end of the process. The status of each of the qualifications in development is outlined here.


First teaching of these qualifications is 1 September 2019 and, from this date, new learners will need to be registered for the new versions of FSQs. Learners already registered on legacy English and maths FSQs will have until 31 August 2020 to be awarded their qualifications, after which they will be withdrawn.  A number of qualifications have already gone through technical evaluation and are ready to be made available to schools and colleges.  We have contacted all awarding organisations offering reformed FSQs and asked them to publish their draft specifications and sample assessment materials. This will give teachers a broad idea of the overall paper and mark scheme design to allow them to prepare effectively.

We continue to work closely with awarding organisations through our technical evaluation process to ensure high-quality, valued qualifications which learners and users can trust.

You can find more information about the changes to FSQs on our Functional Skills Collection page.

18 Apr 14:50

Exploring possibilities for the ‘critical’ in Learning Development practice & theory; critical academic literacies?

by Lee Fallin

Gordon Asher delivered a very thought-provoking session this afternoon at the Association for Learning Development in Higher Education ALDinHE Conference. Here are my notes (in mindmap format) from this session, with the caveat, that they are but a small representation of what was a VERY deep discussion.

Session mindmap:

See below link for linear, accessible Microsoft Word version
Mind map of Gordon’s session

Broader conceptual framework:

Critical academic literacies are linked to critical university studies, critical/powerful literacies, popular education, critical pedagogy and academic literacies.
Critical academic literacies and the association with other related concepts/frameworks.