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Liveblog #LT15UK: The value of MOOCs

Sam Burrough and Martin Couzins facilitate my last session on MOOCs and the value of it. The room had several round tables so it looked like this session will have a bit more interaction then the sessions :-)

What can you use a MOOC for:

  • Personal learning and own development – why wouldn’t you do this?

  • Curating & Connecting – suggest MOOCs to other people. (Here a list of MOOCs, organized by Sam and Martin)
  • Applying MOOC approaches – scaling learning, social interaction around content, collecting data, reflection.
  • Running real MOOCs

MOOCs are an iteration on the path to more web-like learning experiences

How do you design a MOOC? Some learning experiences from Sam and Martin: Start with the end in mind. Sam and Martin used Curatr as the platform for their first MOOC. This platform allows you to use several game mechanics. (If you don’t know Curatr it is worth a try! And a great opportunity coming up.. on Monday 2 February a MOOC is started there on Social Learning!) Think about three C’s: content, conversation and connection (people connecting with each other).

What if you could collect useful data for all three c’s?

We had a short discussion around this question on my table. And I have to admit that I don’t have much with such a question around data. But there are a couple of people on my table, working in large corporate organisations. They all have a LMS and collect lots and lots of data… but lack the right capability to make good use of all these data. Same message as we came up with last evening, when we were talking about Xapi. New world to explore!


Liveblogging from London: Leveraging games for business impact

Lynda Donovan and Mark Reilly head this session about games together. Lynda is working for Learnovate in Dublin and has research evidence for the impact of games. We are scraping the surface of the technology innovation hence research is very important to know what works. The challenge for organizations in 2015 is dealing with the skills gap and identifying skills. The 21st century skills are multi-dimensional, hence we have to look beyond the traditional assessment methods. Enter GAMES – ilearn. While playing games, people get immersed and leave traces. iLearn is an immersive learning environment for collaboration and problem solving. Within ilearn there is a team task to improve the energy usage of Ecostreet. You can earn gold, silver or bronze levels and collaboration badges.

iLearn had various trials. The engagement evidence was very high, by statements like: “This is deadly”. “Brilliant”. “So much fun.” The task completion was 79% which was higher than expected. 80% was engaged in task related chats. The problem solving evidence showed that people were searching for the best solution “trying to see what the best buy is”. Collaboration evidence was also high, 95% voted more than 15 times, 89% tagged more than 15 times. Participants expected technology to work as social technology. Team 3c for instance was highly systematic, divided up tasks, focussed and driven.

The role of coaches

There was an in-world coach who provided scaffolding like monitoring the chats and having private chats. The effect of the in-world coach was evident because a higher percentage of the Gold and silver medal winner had chatted with the coach. The next step will be to go to the corporate world.

What are the implications for corporate learning? 

We have the practical example of McDonalds, the largest employer of young people. They way they learn is very different. They use technology which is part of their soul, and bombards them with lots of messages. The challenge McDonalds was facing was to introduce a new tool for orders and servicing customers. The subject is dry, it is technical and workers need just in time support. Shoulder to shoulder training would be too expensive. They searched for something fun and engaging. So the game ‘Crew challenge‘ was designed (see picture). You have to serve customers in the game, beat the clock and there is an individual score. There were 3 different levels and in every level the customers are more demanding/difficult. They should the games live to us, and we heard several orders for milkshakes :). We then had to choose the right answer for multiple choice. Feedback to the players comes from a customer score and visual customer expressions. The scores really kept people coming back, with 1200 daily plays. The crew starting using the score boards and posting it on Facebook for instance.

The business results

The results were extremely good. The service time decreased and customer complaints decreased, and the average cheque was increased with 15 pence. The game provided 90.000 hours of training and the players didn’t realize it was training. The beauty of the game is also that it is still up and being played. It was also relevant for older staff – we shouldn’t forget that the highest population in certain games are middle-aged women.


It is easy to get excited about gamification but don’t forget it has to be right. Gamification is an important part in the blend of learning. It can create a pull for learning rather then a push. Furthermore it is fun to develop too. You can play the game and test it if you like, just go to Kineo and play.


Liveblog #LT15UK: The evolutionary power of joined up communication

This is one of the sessions I’m really curious about: Euan Semple. I’m very charmed by his book ‘Organisations don’t tweet, people do’. Wonder what his session is about… three years later.

Euan starts with the question: who is using an online platform, which is not hijacked by Communication and Marketing? There were some very nice stories from participants. It’s not about technology, but it is about culture and attitude. It’s not about age, but about the willingness to join up communication. Internet is about the value of written words.

  • Written words;
  • Social;
  • Intimate (it’s my phone in my pocket);
  • Biological (I have ideas and I share them online);
  • Agency (It helps you to work smarter);
  • Technology (‘you can even do it with Sharepoint, I believe’);

It ’s all about learning. It makes you a sponge. You observe more carefully. You think about what is of value to you. You bring things one step further. Let’s step into it as an organisation. But it is a different way of learning we are used to.

Maybe if we write well enough and live a little better life will improve a bit just out of shame.

Working Out Loud… has huge potential doing this within organisations. “How does one manage to have an authentic voice in a stifling environment?”

  • Asking questions;
  • Offering answers (there is a lot to do with language in this – right words, right tone);
  • Curiosity and wondering (why is this happening? Why does this work like this? What is my role in this);
  • Self awareness, leadership, being thoughtful about your relationship with other people;
  • Trust
  • Tolerance (an online discussion might go into a totally other direction then you had in mind…)
  • Tone
  • Intent (people in your network will ‘steer’ your intent
  • Concision (I get bored after reading half a page…on an online platform)
  • Building networks (make judgements on who to follow)
  • Helping others get good at it (people need help)
  • Modelling behavior
  • Collective sense making
  • Challenging the status quo
  • Personal brand (how effective is your personal plan?)

Well, a nice list with valuable elements to get more knowledge sharing started in organisations. The content was a bit disappointing to me, but it was very nice to hear Euan speak. He ‘does what he tells’ and has many concrete and practical examples. And he expresses the value of blogging, not for the sake of informing others, but for yourself as a powerful reflection and learning ‘tool’.