Your First Meeting With Your Subject Matter Expert

01 Target Audience

(01.1) Anyone involved in e-Learning, social learning commissioning, Design, and related roles.

02 Executive Summary

(02.1) The SME, and your relationship with them, is crucial to the timely development of learning resources. Effective initial planning, and ensuring mutual understanding of what is involved, will ensure the most effective outcome.

03 Structure of This Article

04 Introduction
05 Your First Meeting
06 And Finally

04 Introduction

(04.1) The Subject Matter Expert (SME) is the life-blood of Instructional Designers (IDs). SMEs provide the knowledge and experience to enable the ID to create learning resources. The SME is, therefore, of great importance, requiring the support, and consideration of the ID.

(04.2) This blog summarises my experience in working with SMEs, and the important lessons they have taught.

(04.3) This blog assumes the SME is not directly involved in the process of instructional design.

05 Your First Meeting

(05.1) It is likely you, as the ID, have been given the contact details of your SME, and have been charged with establishing contact, to get the 'learning resource' creation process started.

(05.2) The first, second, and third, most important points to remember are - Assume nothing, assume nothing, assume nothing.

(05.3) Your first meeting is your opportunity to plan, prepare, and make a good impression on your SME.

05.1 Contact details

(05.1.1) Write a list of all contact details you can think of:
  • Work mobile;
  • Home mobile;
  • DIRECT work number (a generic switchboard number can be a serious obstacle to making urgent contact);
  • E-mail address (work and home);
  • Skype address, FaceTime address, and so on.
(05.1.2) Get as many of these details completed as possible.

(05.1.3) Make sure you note any circumstances under which the SME does not wish to be contacted.

05.2 Availability

(05.2.1) You may have been told the SME is available for the duration of the 'learning resource' creation process. Assume nothing.

(05.2.2) Go through your diary with the SME and note any dates the SME will not be available.

(05.2.3) Be sure to ask if the SME has holiday booked, or if they will be away from their normal place of work for things such as conferences, or voluntary work, as these can be easily forgotten.

(05.2.4) Make sure you pass this information to your project manager, so they can plan effectively. If necessary, ensure the SMEs 'project representative' receives the information, so that all knowledge/expectations are shared.

(05.2.5) You may have been told, the SME has received a full brief on what is required. Assume nothing.

05.3 Process aide-mémoire

(05.3.1) Produce a brief document outlining the key processes for creating the 'learning resource', and the other resources you will use together. For example:
  • Notes on developing First Drafts, the inclusion of media, copyright compliance, first review, successive review(s), QA process, final sign-off, publication, live-testing;
  • Media production - Ensure your SME understands the time constraints relating to production. For example, your graphics team may be off-shore, limitations for producing animations, and video;
  • Social media - Explain how Social Media is integrated into the learning resource (if available);
  • Notes on how to present the first draft content. For example, using plain text files rather than PowerPoint. With PowerPoint, SMEs can spend valuable time making the content 'look pretty' and laying-out;
  • Notes on developing questions, scenarios, simulations. I suggest my SMEs make notes of questions they want to ask as they progress with developing the content, but to insert them after they have finished the first draft content. That way, questions are less likely to need re-writing later, and the SME can check the questioning makes sense, once they have finished their edits to the first draft;
  • Information about on-line resources, such as 'sand-pits' for review purposes, location of social media elements;
  • The SME may need to be aware of certain authoring standards, such as accessibility, or translation. 

05.4 Your supportive role

(05.4.1) You cannot be sure what the SME has been told about your Supportive Role, unless you make it clear. Assume nothing.

(05.4.2) You should ensure your SME knows you are available to discuss any issues, no matter how small they may appear. Make it clear when you may be contacted, and any planned commitments you may have when you cannot be reached.

(05.4.3) Remember - If you make a commitment to do something by a given date, do it.

(05.4.4) If something unforeseen happens to prevent you meeting your commitment, inform your SME as soon as possible, or arrange for someone to do it for you, and give a new date for fulfilling your commitment, if possible.

(05.4.5) Remember, your primary goals, for your SME, are to be supportive, available, and reliable. Your SME must quickly learn to trust you.

06 And Finally

06.1 Use of this article

(06.1.1) Any part, or all, of this article may be copied or ‘hyperlinked to’ for non-commercial purposes. Any copied content or hyperlink to include the following, please…

Your First Meeting With Your Subject Matter Expert
by Tim Cliffe Copyright 2015-09

(06.1.2) Where use will be for commercial purposes, seek authorisation, including details of proposed use, via the contact form at http://www.TimCliffe.uk/contact/

06.2 Your thoughts

(06.2.1) I very much look forward to reading your comments on this important issue. Please add your thoughts below.


@TimCliffe - Digital Learning Related Tweets for May, June, and July 2015 (Twitter)

Tweets are listed in the order of the earliest first.

Original Hash (#) tags are included.

#Extrinsic #Motivation In Online Training

6 Ways #Colour #Psychology Can Be Used to Design Effective #eLearning

#User #Experience Optimization ( #UXO ) Infographic

This is fascinating - The #Future of the #Web Looks a Lot Like #Bitcoin

Including #accessibility in your #web and #app design from day one

Article on #social #media engagement and digital #learning

How #VR and #Gaming are providing answers to anallysing #BigData

#Diagnostic #Assessment In #eLearning

4 Ways Online Training Increases Productivity (or at least, engagement)

4 Ways To Set Up An #Enterprise #eLearning Program With Multiple #Objectives

A PostCapitalist #utopia, or a #panopticon - The 2020 #Workplace

Back to basics, but no apology for that - #Learning #Objectives - The why and the what

I've been involved with #accessibility since the 1990s. It's great big companies are taking it seriously.

Need to create a #Word #Cloud - http://www.wordle.net/ provides free generation with good levels of customisation.

Using Open Educational Resources ( #OER ) in developing your learning materials

How Writing Down Specific #Goals Can #Empower Struggling #Students

How You Are Selling Your #eLearning Content Short By Calling It #Marketing

How To Create A Successful #Mobile #Learning #Strategy: 6 Secrets For eLearning Professionals

The rules of #engaging #eLearning [Infographic]

How #CrossTraining helps to increase the #competency among employees

An excellent example of cross-fertilisation in action - Stretchable graphene transistors inspired by kirigami

Practical #Gamification Application in the Classroom


Socrates and Social Learning in the Mobile Environment

01 Target Audience

(01.1) Anyone involved in e-Learning, social learning commissioning, Design, and related roles.

02 Executive Summary

(02.1) Socrates spoke of the 'conceit of wisdom' out of concern that over reliance on the written word would produce a false sense of security in knowledge acquired in the absence of human discourse. The opportunities presented by Social Learning can address such concerns, when implemented effectively.

03 Structure of This Article

04 Introduction
05 Socrates - The conceit of wisdom
06 Socrates was correct - Relying on the written word leads to a 'conceit of wisdom'
07 Examples
08 Should we destroy the written word?
09 Incorporating social learning into formal learning
10 Capturing the outcomes of social learning
11 The nature of the social learning network
12 A lesson from history
13 Using appropriate devices

04 Introduction

(04.1) The emergence of supportive technologies to enable social learning, within the context of on-line mobile learning, presents opportunities largely lost to established learning methodologies. However, to fully exploit such opportunities, there must be an investment in moderation and curation by humans, not by automation. This requires a paradigm shift.

05 Socrates - The conceit of wisdom

(05.1) This posting is inspired by (in my opinion) an excellent article by Harold Jarche - The 2020 Workplace [accessed 2015-07-28], which I respectfully suggest you read to provide context to this article.

(05.2) I wanted to expand on a reference included in Harold Jarche's article, which I believe is worthy of further consideration. The reference appears in the second paragraph of the 'The 2020 Workplace', and reads:

(05.3) "...Socrates felt that men who relied on written words would be a burden to their fellow men, as these artifacts would give them the ‘conceit of wisdom’."

(05.4) I imagine, like many, I read the reference above and quickly continued with the remainder of the post, without giving the words of Socrates much attention, in fact, if anything, I subconsciously dismissed them as, "obviously wrong" (what an insult to the great man, albeit unintended). It was not until I had finished the article, I gave Socrates the consideration he deserves.

(05.5) The purpose of my article is to propose Socrates was, and remains, correct. That is to say, excessive reliance on the written word, and its attendant assessments, tests, and certifications, does indeed result in a 'conceit of wisdom'.

(05.6) As Jarche discusses, working practice has changed over millennia, and reflects the changes in communication technology. Such technology evolved from the 'Oral Tradition' into the 'Written Word', then the 'Printed Word', moving to electrical transmissions, such as the Telegraph, Radio, and Television, and finally, modern-day digital communications such as the Internet.

(05.7) Importantly, and especially so for the purposes of my article, Jarche continues by illustrating the relationship between evolving communication technologies and concomitant social/workplace structures. Namely, tribal societies, institutions, markets, and today's networks. Those networks make available to us, the opportunity to re-discover, appreciate, and benefit from more ancient methods of information exchange (for the purposes of this article) within the context of learning. Be that academic or vocational. That is, Digital Tribal Societies.

06 Socrates was correct - Relying on the written word leads to a 'conceit of wisdom'

(06.1) 'Conceit of wisdom'.

(06.2) Definition: Conceit - A favourable, and especially unduly high opinion of one's own abilities or worth.

(06.3) Definition: Wisdom - The quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment.

(06.4) I suggest you already understand the truth of Socrates' words. Let me give some familiar examples.

07 Examples

07.1 I have a driver licence

UK Driving Licence
(07.1.1) In which case, one of the most memorable times of your life was your driving examiner turning to you and saying "I am pleased to confirm, you have passed." Wasn't that a great moment!? I remember it well. Later, I would drive to the local shop, despite it being quicker to walk.

(07.1.2) Like me, you were probably young, newly empowered to be in command of a machine capable of great speed.

(07.1.3) Off you went, driving alone for the first time. Sooner or later, finding yourself in a situation when you discovered your 'certification' did not provide you with the skill to handle that bend (in the wet perhaps), you had approached far too quickly, having failed to notice the telegraph poles or hedgerows at the side of the road, indicating the bend was turning sharply. Perhaps you braked hard on the bend? That's a big mistake, isn't it? Perhaps you didn't brake, out of fear of putting the vehicle into a spin, and found yourself on the wrong side of the road. Most of us have been there, and most of us have been lucky, in so much as we lived to learn from our mistake.

(07.1.4) A perfect example of the 'conceit of wisdom'. I've read the books, and passed the test. I'm qualified, I know what I'm doing.

(07.1.5) Even your driving examiner was subject to the 'conceit of wisdom'. Your examiner had an assessment sheet, against which, they recorded your performance, with respect to written criteria, the 'bible' of 'passing the test'.

07.2 I have a degree

Cap and degree
(07.2.1) Another one of life's great moments. Wearing your cap and gown, clutching your certificate. You've joined the elite, and justly proud of your achievement. You've read the books, completed the assignments, and passed the test. You're qualified, you know what you're talking about. But of course, you quickly realise, hopefully, you are only qualified to start on your chosen path. Work, life, and society soon teaches there is much to learn.

(07.2.2) How many of us have encountered those individuals, possessed of their 'conceit of wisdom' vaunting their superiority, what remarks have you heard? "Just because they have a degree they think they know every-bloody-thing."

(07.2.3) You know Socrates was correct, and I am sure you can think of many more examples.

08 Should we destroy the written word?

(08.1) Of course not. Hopefully, you recognise that is not my point.

(08.2) The written word is excellent for conveying knowledge accurately, consistently, over great distance, and without the need for the 'master' to be present. The written word makes possible the democratisation of knowledge. It also makes possible the enforcement of ineffective dogma, generally labeled 'accepted wisdom'.

(08.3) When Socrates made his statement, he was not suggesting the written word lacked merit, but that OVER RELIANCE on the written word would result in the loss of an essential aspect of learning and the development of wisdom. The loss of social discourse, counter proposal, rebuttal. It removes the opportunity for ANYONE to contribute to the collective wisdom, regardless of their 'qualifications' or lack thereof. History has proven him correct.

(08.4) If something is claimed, and cannot be supported by an authoritative text, it is often dismissed. You have certainly been in a situation where, your position opposed 'accepted wisdom'. It mattered little your position was borne of personal experience, or informed intuition. If you had one of those really reliable gut feelings, you may have well committed blasphemy. the position Socrates adopted is, such aspects of learning, and acquiring wisdom are essential, and the opportunity to discuss and reason, collectively, are vital.

(08.5) It cannot be denied that opportunities to discuss etc. do exist, but they are secondary to 'accepted wisdom', which has become founded in OVER RELIANCE on the written word.

(08.6) If Socrates were to return today, I believe he would recognise the potential for digital social networking, allied to knowledge systems, to re-establish the balance he was so concerned would be lost by OVER RELIANCE on the written word. That is, the ability for anyone to contribute, for contributions to be discussed and reasoned, and for participants to leave with much more than knowledge alone could impart. Of course, there is need for moderation and curation.

(08.7) For Socrates, the human moderator and curator would have been himself, listening to the discussions of citizens at the Agora of Athens, as they presented their arguments, considered contributions from many perspectives, subsequently refining their arguments, and so on.

09 Incorporating social learning into formal learning

Social media logos.
(09.1) For digital social learning to be effectively incorporated into 'formal' learning, a human moderator and curator must be present. This cannot be automated, as automation would simply impose programmes and algorithms on the activity, re-imposing the OVER RELIANCE on the written word, Socrates had such concern for. Equally important, we know intuitively, automation of such activities cannot be effective.

(09.2) "We know, intuitively."

(09.3) For Socrates, this is a valid declaration, as it is the foundation of questioning, testing, and modifying.

(09.4) Putting humans 'in the loop' is not a cheap solution. However, inappropriate automation is a complete waste of effort and money. Even more expensive are the systems needing to be established to secure the benefits of social learning.

10 Capturing the outcomes of social learning

(10.1) The most valuable asset of any organisation is the knowledge of the individuals comprising that organisation. The ability of the organisation to adapt is reliant upon the ability of those individuals to learn and evolve. Something so important requires investment and planning. Assuming a Social Learning network is already established, that means:
  • The human moderator/curator cannot be someone who performs the task "when they have a spare moment". It must be a respected and dedicated resource;
  • The members of the social learning network must have, as part of the requirements of their role, a dedicated allocation of time to take part in the social learning community;
  • The organisation must have a mechanism in place to communicate outcomes, from the community via the moderator/curator, to decision makers;
  • Decision makers must change their 'conceit of wisdom' to ensure outcomes from the community are respectfully considered;
  • The organisation must have a mechanism in place to communicate DELIBERATIONS and DECISIONS to the community;
  • The community must have the opportunity to reflect on, and discuss deliberations and decisions, before decisions are implemented;
  • The community must have the opportunity to present counter proposals and rebuttals.
(10.2) This is not to say an organisation must be governed by unanimous consent. Decision makers are privy to knowledge the community lack, and are responsible for making the best decisions, in light of ALL the information available, including information from the community, which must be considered with no less currency than any other information.

(10.3) This implementation is not the cheapest. It is, however, the basis for a truly 'Learning Organisation'.

11 The nature of the social learning network

(11.1) I made quite an assumption above, that is "...a Social Learning network is already established..."

(11.2) Community members must have access to a social network via appropriate devices. If the devices are not suited to the purpose, any investment and planning, however well executed, will be undermined.

12 A lesson from history

(12.1) I remember, in the early 2000s, my director discussing the possibility of adding WAP websites to our portfolio of services. As the Web Manager, I had an intuitive reaction to this suggestion... "It's a waste of time".

Nokia 7110 mobile phone.
(12.2) For those who do not remember WAP, it was a fudge to get around the fact that browsers on mobile phones of the day were rubbish. The iPad had not been invented, mobile phone screens were about the same size as a smart watch, and Internet connects were sedentary. WAP (Wireless Access Protocol) essentially gave lists of text (navigation) linking to blocks of text. Because of the very small screen size, using WAP was a nightmare, besides, people would much rather go home to their computer and use a 'proper browser', and benefit from the media rich content.

(12.3) Needless to say, WAP (in this form) was a flop, and quietly vanished from view.

13 Using appropriate devices

Smart phone with social media logos.
(13.1) My point is this. If social learning members are expected to use smart watches, they will not bother. The screens are far too small, and reading and understanding bodies of text is very difficult on small screens. This is because of the way the brain of an accomplished reader works.

(13.2) An accomplished reader may think they are reading word by word, but they are not. Their brain has already read/predicted was is yet to be 'consciously' read, but to do this effectively, there must be sufficient, and legible text for the brain to 'scan', and within an overall 'context'.

(13.3) For Example:

(13.4) It doesn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod aepapr, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer are in the rghit pcale. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit pobelrm. S1M1L4RLY, Y0UR M1ND 15 R34D1NG 7H15 4U70M471C4LLY W17H0U7 3V3N 7H1NK1NG 4B0U7 17.

(13.5) Imagine trying to read the above when there are line-breaks every couple of words, and you need to scroll down the screen every three or four lines. This is why I knew WAP would not achieve significant up-take, when far better alternatives existed. This is also the reason why appropriate devices must be used to ensure participation in social learning networks.

(13.6) You may argue "Yes, but technology allows you to hear what people are saying. You don't necessary have to read."

(13.7) That is true, but until 5G [accessed 2015-07-28] is fully rolled-out, that isn't going to be practicable for more than a small number of people at the same time, especially when using mobile devices.

14 And Finally

14.1 Use of this article

(14.1.1) Any part, or all, of this article may be copied or ‘hyperlinked to’ for non-commercial purposes. Any copied content or hyperlink to include the following, please…

Socrates and Social Learning in the Mobile Environment
by Tim Cliffe Copyright 2015-07

(14.1.2) Where use will be for commercial purposes, seek authorisation, including details of proposed use, via the contact form at http://www.TimCliffe.uk/contact/

14.2 Your Thoughts

(14.2.1) I very much look forward to reading your comments on this important issue. Please add your thoughts below.


Gamification in Digital Learning Assessment

01 Target Audience

(01.1) Anyone involved in e-Learning commissioning, Design, and related roles.

02 Executive Summary

(02.1) Gamification in assessment can benefit from 'Flow', where participants become immersed in a game to such an extent they are more likely to present an authentic representation of themselves.

03 Structure of This Article

(04) What is Gamification?
(05) Gamification Reliability and Validity
(06) And finally

04 What is Gamification?

(04.1) There are several definitions of Gamification. The word ‘Gamification’ first appeared in the OED [accessed 2015-07-10] in 2011.

(04.2) Gartner’s definition [accessed 2015-07-10] places an emphasis on the digital games medium, describing five key elements of Gamification:
  1. Game mechanics describes the use of elements such as points, badges and leader boards that are common to many games;
  2. Experience design describes the journey players take with elements such as game play, play space, and story line;
  3. Gamification is a method to digitally engage, rather than personally engage, meaning that players interact with computers, smartphones, wearable monitors or other digital devices, rather than engaging with a person;
  4. The goal of Gamification is to motivate people to change behaviours or develop skills, or to drive innovation;
  5. Gamification focuses on enabling players to achieve their goals. When organizational goals are aligned with player goals, the organization achieves its goals as a consequence of players achieving their goals.
(04.3) However, regardless of the definition consulted, there are common concepts – The intrinsic motivation created by the ‘Flow’ state within a game to achieve a goal.

(04.4) A Gamification solution should align an individual’s goals with the goals of the organisation.

05 Gamification Reliability and Validity

(05.1) The primary consideration, with regard to Gamification in assessment is, does it improve accuracy?

05.1 Gamification Feedback

(05.1.1) Instead of evaluating the ‘accuracy of a given response’ (e.g. in questioning), evaluate the ‘accuracy of a response from the game’. This overcomes a criticism often levied at serious games used for assessment, namely “they cannot provide live feedback’.

(05.1.2) Such a mechanism allows for a scenario to unfold, and for the respondent to experience the consequences of their decisions/actions. The scenario evolves in accordance with such decisions/actions, allowing the respondent to evaluate, learn, and adapt.

(05.1.3) The evolving decision process of the respondent is recorded by the game, which reports in real-time, allowing assessment of learning and judgment.

(05.1.4) The challenge is the design and creation of branching simulations, the path along which the respondent follows, being determined by the respondent’s initial judgment, their reflection on the consequences of that judgment, and the modification of their decisions/actions based on the ‘feedback’ experience.

05.2 Gamification Reliability

(05.2.1) Traditional assessments are constrained by the amount of time a respondent will spend on the assessment activity, i.e. before ‘Task Fatigue’ distorts assessment results. However, gaming principles may provide an opportunity for longer, more reliable assessments.

(05.2.2) A benefit of effective game creation is ‘Flow’ (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990) [accessed 2015-07-10], where participants become immersed in a game to such an extent they loose track of time, are less conscious of the assessment environment, and are more likely to present an authentic representation of themselves, rather than present what may be considered ‘more socially acceptable responses’.

06 And Finally

06.1 Use of this article

(06.1.1) Any part, or all, of this article may be copied or ‘hyperlinked to’ for non-commercial purposes. Any copied content or hyperlink to include the following, please…

Gamification in Digital Learning Assessment
by Tim Cliffe Copyright 2015-07

(06.1.2) Where use will be for commercial purposes, seek authorisation, including details of proposed use, via the contact form at http://www.TimCliffe.uk/contact/

06.2 Your Thoughts

(06.2.1) I very much look forward to reading your comments on this important issue. Please add your thoughts below.


5G, Natural Apprenticeship, and Digital Learning

01 Target Audience

(01.1) Anyone involved in e-Learning commissioning, Design, and related roles, together with those concerned with personal security, and privacy on-line.

02 Executive Summary

(02.1) The 5G Network is likely to be available within 3 to 5 years, and will represent a fundamental change in the way data is managed and distributed by Radio. With huge increases in speed, capacity, and reliability of connection, the opportunities presented for learning professionals will require a paradigm shift in how we think about learning, and its place in day-to-day life.

(02.2) Together with incredible opportunities, 5G will force learning professionals to significantly broaden the areas for which they have concern, and consequently, how resources will be designed and deployed.

03 Structure of This Article

(04) Terminology
(05) Introduction
(06) What is the Key Difference Between 3G-4G and 5G?
(07) What will be the Consequences of Radio Spectrum Harmonisation?
(08) What has this to do with Digital Learning?
(09) Opportunities and Responsibilities
(10) Will there be a 6G?
(11) And Finally

04 Terminology

(04.1) All terminologies used are explained at the first point of use.

05 Introduction

(05.1) The next generation of mobile connectivity will be 5G, but what does this mean for digital learning?

(05.2) Although 4G is still being 'rolled-out' in many places, and has yet to deliver its benefits, the difference between 3G and 4G cannot be equated to the difference between 4G and 5G. Those involved with the development of 5G say it will be different, very different.

06 What is the Key Difference Between 3G-4G and 5G?

(06.1) A quick refresher to set the scene.

(06.2) Data is transmitted by Radio waves, which in turn are split into bands of frequencies. Each band is reserved for a specific use, such as, navigation, television, emergency broadcasts, and of course mobile data.

(06.3) The distribution of Radio bands has evolved over time, in response to new technologies, and consequently is somewhat chaotic. The chaos causes problems with connection speeds and reliability, as we have all experienced.

(06.4) To address this problem, and this is the key difference with 5G, there will be a dramatic overhaul and harmonisation of the radio spectrum, while allowing 3G and 4G to continue functioning.

07 What will be the Consequences of Radio Spectrum Harmonisation?

(07.1) There are five major benefits:
  • Speed;
  • Capacity;
  • Reliability;
  • Latency;
  • Connectivity.

07.1 Speed

(07.1.1) 5G will be faster, much faster. Developers believe data transfer rates of 800Gbps will be possible. If you are wondering what that means in 'old money', imagine downloading 33 HD films in 1 second.

07.2 Capacity

(07.2.1) 5G's capacity will be vast. It is anticipated, by 2020, up to 100 billion devices will be connected to the internet, via the 5G Network.

07.3 Reliability

(07.3.1) The 5G Network will be absolutely reliable. It will need to be. Devices will dynamically select one of three bandwidths (yet to be confirmed) to avoid any one bandwidth being overloaded.

07.4 Latency

(07.4.1) Latency is the time difference between an action and a response. For example; The time between selecting 'Send Email' and seeing the message "Email sent".

(07.4.2) It is predicted the latency of the 5G Network will be in the region of 1 millisecond. To put that into perspective, the time it takes for someone to blink their eye ranges between 100 and 400 milliseconds.

(07.4.3) Low latency, for example, permits the remote control of time-sensitive and critical systems, such as robots used in operating theatres by surgeons.

07.5 Connectivity

(07.5.1) The enormous increase in the number of connected devices will result from a plethora of inanimate objects using the 5G Network. This is known as 'The Internet of Things'.

(07.5.2) We have heard of remotely controlled heating systems, and the possibility of the refrigerator ordering more milk, but imagine the train telling you which seats are available, as you board, or perhaps where is the best place to stand. A light bulb could send a message, to your mobile device, informing you the bulb is about to fail. Driver-less vehicles will access the network and co-ordinate their positions on the road, with data relating to road conditions, weather, and traffic.

(07.5.3) With 5G, for the first time, Connectivity will be assumed to exist, everywhere and at all times, with just about any device that uses electricity.

08 What has this to do with Digital Learning?

(08.1) With the advent of 3G, and more so with 4G, so much has become possible. Resources being accessed by mobile device, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), Learning on Demand, or Just-in-time learning, and of course the start of 'The Internet of Things'.

(08.2) However, 5G is a radical game-changer. 5G allows any electrical thing to communicate with any other electrical thing, at any time, very quickly, and with complete reliability of connection. As if that wasn't enough, the internet sits bang in the middle.

(08.3) 5G will do for communication and connectivity, what the wheel did for... pretty much everything else. 5G WILL BE HUGE!

08.1 In the Beginning

(08.1.1) Few in the West, remember a time when people did not attend school. In fact, education for the masses has been around for less than 100 years. The modern education system is very new. This may explain why we (or perhaps I should say, governments) are still messing about with various Educational Methodologies every year or so, and let's be honest, for a significant population, compulsory education is more of a social activity than a meaningful educational experience. Of course, the same 'Methodology of the Moment' exists in the 'eLearning' industry. But that may soon change.

(08.1.2) Before compulsory education existed, the masses were taught by a method best described as 'Apprenticeship'. An Apprentice hung-around a Master for several years until the Apprentice knew everything the Master could teach. The association would still continue, until the 'now qualified Apprentice' worked towards mastery, with the occasional 'slap on the head' from the Master, no doubt. This methodology has been the sole method for the masses since time began. From social skills, learning about the countryside, learning how to help Mum or Dad, in the house, or at work, to how to dress and wash oneself. Learning and simply 'going-about-one's-day' were indistinguishable. Perhaps we could name this Natural Apprenticeship.

(08.1.3) I doubt we are going to demolish our teaching institutions, and return 100% to Natural Apprenticeship. However, 5G will gift Natural Apprenticeship a huge come-back. This is where digital learning makes a dramatic entrance.

08.2 5G and Digital Learning

(08.2.1) Forget discussions about the half-life of MOOCs, or whether phones or tablets are best. We need to re-learn everything we have forgotten about Natural Apprenticeship, and then make it Tech-Savvy.

(08.2.2) Yes, you can have Gaming, Gamification, AI, AR, VR, and SPQR if you want, 5G will handle it (at least until we fill-it-up). The key is, we as learning professionals, imagining ourselves in the 5G enabled world, and changing our paradigm accordingly. However, we need to start planning now, 5G is as little as 3-5 years away.

(08.2.3) Let's return to our helpful light bulb.
Modern low energy light bulbs have 'chips' on-board. The chips are under utilised, and have spare data capacity. Remember the text message you received from the light bulb, telling you it was about to fail? The text message could include data relating to the expected life remaining in the bulb, together with technical details for the bulb, and a link to order spare light bulbs with a single tap. Additionally, the message could include links to resources regarding disposal of 'spent' light bulbs, re-cycling, and perhaps a link to a manufacturer's HOW-TO.

(08.2.4) Don't be fooled into thinking, this is just logistics, or procurement, or commerce. This is learning. It is learning because the text message you received from the light bulb, taught you something you did not know before.

(08.2.5) This is what I mean by a paradigm shift. Everything will be learning, in just the same way as Natural Apprenticeship, except we (digital learning professionals) will be able to make a contribution in areas, and ways not possible before.

(08.2.6) With new resilient, flexible display materials, and compact high capacity batteries, it may well be the case your mobile device will fold into your pocket. If you unfold it once, it may be a smartphone, if you unfold it twice, it may be a tablet, unfold it fully, and it's a lap top computer. In short, the devices people use, will become irrelevant.

09 Opportunities and Responsibilities

(09.1) Together with the amazing opportunities 5G represents, it will also present challenges to learning professionals. As the Natural Apprenticeship model is strongly associated with learning expanding into 'going-about-one's-day', so it will expand the areas for which learning professionals will need to have regard.

(09.2) As vast amounts of data are communicated about every aspect of life, so people will become more concerned with issues relating to personal privacy, freedoms, and Human Rights. In this case, especially regarding surveillance, it is likely anonymous browsing will become more widespread, possibly even the norm. This will require resources be increasingly available via https connections (secure socket layer), rather than simple http. In this event, users will connect through a series of virtual tunnels. The security arrangements of such technologies, restrict the use of certain (current) supportive technologies used in learning resources. As learning professionals, we need to understand these issues, and design and distribute or resources accordingly.

(09.3) It will be pointless changing just part of our paradigm, if the result is users refuse, or cannot effectively connect, to the resources we create.

(09.4) This is not simply a matter for imagined future clients, or end-users. This will effect YOU and ME.

10 Will there be a 6G?

(10.1) The current wisdom has it, 6G will be available around 2040.

(10.2) However, with the data explosions we have seen in recent years, I would not be surprised if 6G is needed sooner.

11 And Finally

11.1 Use of this article

(11.1.1) Any part, or all, of this article may be copied or ‘hyperlinked to’ for non-commercial purposes. Any copied content or hyperlink to include the following, please…

5G, Natural Apprenticeship, and Digital Learning
by Tim Cliffe Copyright 2015-05

(11.1.2) Where use will be for commercial purposes, seek authorisation, including details of proposed use, via the contact form at http://www.autarkik.com/contact/

11.2 Your Thoughts

(11.2.1) I very much look forward to reading your comments on this important issue. Please add your thoughts below.


@TimCliffe - Digital Learning Related Tweets for April 2015 (Twitter)

Tweets are listed in the order of the most recent first.

Original Hash (#) tags are included.

The 12 #Security #Questions You Should Ask Your #Cloud Provider

10 #Tips To Effectively #Evaluate Your Online #Training Strategy

eLearning #Interactivity - The Ultimate #Guide For eLearning Professionals

#Recommender System based on #Learner Knowledge & Opining using #DataMining in Synchronous E-Learning Environment

How #Technology Transforms #Classrooms - Infographic

21 #Educational #Apps Approved By Teachers

#eLearning Course #Evaluation: The Ultimate #Guide For eLearning Professionals

#Enterprise #App #Stores explained – everything you need to know!

The Top 6 #eLearning Course #Navigation Styles
6 Tips To #Improve eLearning Course Navigation

Harvard #research - frequent #testing increase #retention in online learning

6 Tips To Use #Mobile Performance #Support To Enhance #CustomerService

#Franchise #Support - Why #Tablets Alone Won't Cut It

#Accessibility : #Color and #Contrast

How To #Choose The Best Learning Management System - #LMS

5 Considerations for the #Gamification of Corporate #Training

My answer is, yes. Should #Learning Content be in #Perpetual #Beta?

The Value Of Simulations When Creating #eLearning #Solutions For Application Training

How To Create A Successful #Mobile #Learning #Strategy

7 eLearning #Script #Writing Tips To Perfect Your #eLearning Course Narrative

#Engage Your Learning Audience with #Mobile #Content

#Policies for Educational #Data #Mining and Learning Analytics Briefing

6 Tips To Successfully Carry Out An Online #Training #Needs #Assessment

#Gagne - Nine Events of #Instruction

If we do not understand how #sight works, how can we design effective visual #learning?

#MultiDevice #testing in #eLearning
and free eBook

How the #Outernet is connecting #schools in Kenya

How To Use #MindMaps To Unleash Your Brain's #Creativity And Potential #Learning


Pervasive MCDs Pervasive M-learning

Just how widespread is mobile-learning (m-learning)?

I wrote this blog two years ago, but never published it. It makes interesting (historical perspective) reading today.

Formal m-learning is not widespread, yet. However, it is claimed, by 2016 100% of K12 students in the USA will use mobile communication devices (MCDs) in their education.

Informal m-learning is as pervasive as MCDs. If someone uses a MCD to search for an answer or information on the web or other network, m-learning is taking place.

A very few boring statistics

It is claimed 77% of the world’s population owns a MCD. Even if this is a hefty 50% over estimation, it still means over half the world’s population has a MCD.

In some African countries, almost every student owns a MCD, but very few own a computer.

Android is king in the EU, USA, and Australia. Apple accounts for 16% of sales in the EU, while Samsung have 45% of the market as of the date of this post.

So, how useful can m-learning be in learning?

Consider, how often you use your MCD, or see others use their MCD, to access on-line information? I think we can all agree the answer is somewhere in the region of ‘very useful indeed’. The next question must be ‘what can we (teachers/trainers) do to take advantage of the benefits presented by m-learning?

Real examples of students putting m-learning into action with MCDs

  • Living in regional areas with access to limited public transport use MCD to download study guides;
  • Working ‘in the field’ download readings and journals for review to support ‘professional’ practice, or listen to audio formats whilst driving to ‘work’;
  • Attending via Distance Learning. Select from a list of prescribed texts by reading samples on-line, then purchase the chosen eBook, which is conveniently to-hand at all times;
  • Students with families. Access complete ‘set readings’ on-line and, pod casts of lectures;
  • Use Digital Object Management System (DOMS) to access resources posted by staff and students. Links to DOMS resources are easily shared;
  • Access e-learning and chat with other students in real time;
  • Update e-Portfolio and add details of any emergent/unintentional learning;
  • Use MCD to take photos of geo-tagged pictures from study guides (e.g. plants identified ‘in the field’) and upload later to discuss with peers thereby supporting contingent learning (reacting to environment/experience) and situational learning (‘in the field’);
  • Studying arts subjects, whilst out-and-about, can share photos via, e.g. Flickr, make comments, and discuss progression. Context Aware learning is strongly supported;
  • Access educational games designed to explain complex ideas in a way that removes the barriers that often appear when a student encounters one of those ‘I just don’t get it’ topics;
  • Respond to classroom/virtual classroom polls then discuss why particular options are favoured over others. The subject matter immediately becomes relevant;
  • Use Twitter to engage in live discussions with remote ‘class mates’. The character limitation requires participants to effectively and concisely express opinions;
  • Share experiences ‘in the field’ and engage in discussion via a blog, thus supporting authentic learning (meaningful learning tasks related to learning goals);
  • Use a dedicated Fresher Facebook page to get to know and support other students through the first weeks;
  • Use SMS to share information about new on-line resources where Internet services may be less reliable;
  • Use Web Application Clients to aggregate and share content in one central location, allowing students to use familiar tools to gain access (personalised learning);
  • Submit on-line multiple choice tests and receive immediate feedback;
  • Access assessment materials on-line and submit comments for feedback by students and staff;
  • Access on-line support tools, information, and interactive tutorials from anywhere at any time;
  • During the Fresher period, Kindles pre-loaded with required text books, guides to academic practices, references, campus maps, and so on, can be borrowed.

Remember, whatever works for the student/learner can also work for the teacher/trainer.

What does this mean for the ‘student/teacher’ relationship?

Some argue m-learning and the use of social networking in learning will transform the ‘student/teacher’ relationship beyond recognition. The premise being the weight of responsibility for learning will shift dramatically from the ‘teacher’ to the ‘learner’.

Such a proposition is overly simplistic. There is no doubt the relationship will evolve and adapt, but it must not be allowed to be transformed as some have advocated. My argument is best summarised as 'why do children need parents?'

Mobile learning is not new, quite the contrary. Mobile learning was almost certainly one of the earliest methods of knowledge and skill transfer. Long before schools came into being. Masters and their apprentices would roam; discovering, practicing, sharing, and debating. In fact, the ‘traditional’ concept of learning; a classroom containing a black/whiteboard, a teacher, and a class, is very new. It has existed, for the masses, for less than 100 years.

What is different about m-learning in the digital on-line age is not the fact the master teaches and directs, and the apprentice attends and explores, it is how the roles are manifest. M-learning will not just turn back the educational practice clock to (the modern equivalent of) a master/apprentice relationship, it will do so, not on a one-to-one basis in real time, but on a many-to-many basis in real time, without regard for distance or the relative location of the masters or the apprentices, for the first time in human history.

Of equal importance is the capacity of supportive technologies to:
  • Convert, what has always been unintentional, contingent, situational, and authentic learning (albeit transient and vulnerable) into recordable, shareable, submit-able, and media rich ‘evidence’;
  • Enable access to formal and informal sources in support of learning from anywhere in the world, at any time.

We are living in very exciting times, promising almost magical opportunities to ‘teacher’ and ‘learner’ alike, never before experienced. But let us keep our composure. Remember ‘Gartner’s Hype Cycle’, let us learn from the mistakes of the past.

The future’s bright. The future’s... m-learning (but it needs to be ADC).

What about evaluation?

Teachers/trainers can use on-line resources to seek feedback from students about subject delivery and coverage. This helps do identify where the teacher/trainer needs to focus more effort to ensure understanding. Such systems will identify what works well and why.

Students/learners can use their MCDs like ‘clickers’ to provide feedback in-class or from remote locations. Notifications can be sent by ‘teachers’ regarding evaluation activities. The student is able to respond immediately, which improves participation, and can expedite remedies.

Of course, the technology means that not only can students/teachers evaluate learning/teaching, students can evaluate each other.

Points to consider

  • Not everyone has access to MCDs, but they can be provided.
  • Need to be aware of phone number identification where anonymous participation is required.
  • M-learning integrates well with blended and flexible learning.
  • Real vs mediated communication?
  • Use of ‘mobile’ language is not always acceptable.
  • Variable web access and platforms (Apps vs Open Source).
  • Is it just a fad (Gartner’s Hype Cycle).
  • Mobile security. 
Supportive software. Don’t forget QR codes in the workplace can support learning access and retention.

Cost vs Return on investment (ROI)

People are already asking, "What is the likely ROI of m-learning?"

I would suggest this is a question that cannot be answered quantitatively at present. Firstly there is essentially no current data upon which a valid assessment can be based. Secondly, making such an evaluation will be difficult to perform as many of the benefits are qualitative, and thereby difficult to quantify in an accurate and meaningful way.

The current lack of equitability between formal and informal learning may well become a thing of the past. That itself would represent a huge, although unquantifiable, ROI.

The Real Challenge

M-learning could be a victim of its inherent and desirable qualities, i.e. flexibility, accessibility, immediacy, and commutability.

For example, consider the many-to-many relationships that exist for a typical college student. A student has many relationships with many lecturers and with very many students. The permutations already require a computer to calculate the numbers. Now add to the formula the ways in which m-learning may be communicated. By text message, e-mail, mobile up-load, file sharing platform, social networking sites, blogs, intranets, web sites, social media sites to name but a few. Now consider the possibilities for multiple instantaneous 'sharings', e.g., a notice posted on LinkedIn is also sent to Twitter and Face book.

Now imagine you are a lecturer with only 10 different classes a week, and each class has only 20 students.

If you are, or have been, a teacher/lecture and you are thinking about the end-of-term assessments and reports you must write, and you are thinking about using m-learning, having read the above, I know you are in a terrifying place right now.

It cannot be left to the student/learner to 'get on with their learning' in an m-learning enabled environment. There will be chaos, and a vast amount of evidence of learning that will never see 'the light of day'.


We must ensure we give due consideration to the environment in which 'teachers' and 'learners' operate and recognise that structure must be imposed. The key to success will be how to balance the maximum flexibility with the need to manage learning for oneself or for others.


@TimCliffe - Digital Learning Related Tweets for March 2015 (Twitter)

Tweets are listed in the order of the most recent first.

Original Hash (#) tags are included.

How To Use #MindMaps To Unleash Your Brain's #Creativity And Potential #Learning

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what are we imagining in #elearning ?

Via #DebunkerClub The #Corrupted #Cone of #Experience Educational Technology Vol 54, Issue 6

Via #DebunkerClub Mythical Retention Data & The #Corrupted #Cone of #Experience Explaining the issue

Via #DebunkerClub Mythical Retention Data & The #Corrupted #Cone of #Experience #Learning

9 #Free #MOOC s For Corporate #Training

The #Debunker #Club -- Help Clean Up the Learning Field

In light of the recent actions of a London Head Teacher, ISIS, and others, this is more relevant than ever

#eLearningWeekly This Week’s Best #eLearning #News and #Articles

#Serious #Games and Serious #ROI

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and #eBook

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located at

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I wish more #coders would take notice of this - #Links are not #buttons. Neither are #DIV and #SPAN

6 #Tips For Adding #Podcasts In #eLearning

5 #Tips To Find Your Narrative #Voice For Your #eLearning Course

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#eLearning and #Gamification

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20 #facts about #eLearning [Infographic]

Top 5 Benefits Of #Learner #Centered Online #Training

#Mobile #Accessibility Guidelines from the #BBC

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#Organisational #Learning requires the organisation is able to find its own #knowledge . It's not always the case

Sharing Experiences: A Stepping Stone To #Social #Learning In The #Workplace


Knowledge Management and Responsibility Charting

01 Target Audience

(01.1) This article is intended for those responsible for ensuring the effectiveness of knowledge structures within the workplace, and those with a general interest in the topic.

02 Executive Summary

(02.1) A RACI Analysis is a technique for systematically identifying functional areas, activities, decision authorities, responsibilities, and relationships.

(02.2) The completion of a RACI Analysis improves the business’ capacity, organisation, planning, productivity, and training.

03 Structure of this Article

04 Terminology
05 Introduction
06 Why Conduct a RACI Analysis?
07 Key Considerations for Conducting a RACI Analysis
08 The Six Steps in a RACI Analysis
09 Activity / Decision Guidelines
10 Example of a RACI Chart
11 Vertical and Horizontal Analysis of a RACI Chart
12 Review and Investment
13 Benefits of Conducting a RACI Analysis
14 And Finally

04 Terminology

(04.1) All specialist terms are explained in the body of the text.

05 Introduction

(05.1) In my March 2015 posting entitled “Knowledge Management: Collaboration, Data Silos, and the Learning Business”, I made reference to the ‘RACI Matrix’. As this type of undertaking is fundamental to the creation of effective knowledge structures, I thought it appropriate to expand on the subject.

(05.2) The mnemonic represents:
  • Responsible (Role(s) doing the activity – Determined by A)
  • Accountable (Role with yes/no/veto authority)
  • Consult (Role involved prior to a final decision/action – 2-way communication)
  • Inform (Role needing to know of the decision/action – 1-way communication)
(05.3) The technique identifies functional areas, activities, and decision authorities, to facilitate the systematic description of activities and decisions to be undertaken, together with responsibilities, and the inter-relationships of the same.

06 Why Conduct a RACI Analysis?

(06.1) A RACI analysis:
  • Describes the status of roles in a consistent manner;
  • Identifies accountabilities;
  • Identifies clear channels of communication;
  • Reduces duplication of effort.
(06.2) Specifically, in this context, a RACI analysis provides the foundation for the knowledge management structure, i.e. a RACI matrix for each role, to inform the Organisation Structure upon which the Knowledge Structure is founded.

07 Key Considerations for Conducting a RACI Analysis

(07.1) You must ensure:
  • Responsibility and Accountability are placed at the level closest to the action and/or knowledge;
  • Consults and Informs are kept to a minimum;
  • Only one Accountability per activity, and Accountability must be accompanied by authority;
  • All roles and responsibilities are included, and made public.
(07.2) Remember, when defining roles and responsibilities, remove those who check what the checkers do, ensure a ‘whole organisation’ involvement, and do not try to be 100% accurate in the beginning. With the correct systems in place, errors will be quickly identified and corrected.

08 The Six Steps in a RACI Analysis

  1. Conduct meetings, with key management, to introduce the purpose and requirements of the RACI analysis.
  2. The organisation is involved in developing decision and function lists, which are collated into a master document.
  3. The organisation is involved in Responsibility Workshops to agree function definitions, and codes describing roles contributing to a function, i.e., a Responsibility Chart.
  4. Responsibility charts are distributed to all participants and contributing organisations.
  5. Meetings are held with all individuals involved to communicate the new role definitions.
  6. Follow-up meetings conducted to ensure the new roles are being honoured, and to correct any anomalies.

09 Activity / Decision Guidelines

(09.1) Avoid non-specific activities, such as ‘attend meetings’.

(09.2) When developing a list of Activities and Decisions, begin with a verb.

(09.3) Where an action infers a decision or a judgement, ensure the primary outcome is identified, for example:
  • Monitor Internet use to identify conformance with organisation policy.”
  • Analyse data structure development to identify duplication.”
(09.4) Keep descriptions brief, and ensure they apply to a role or action, not an individual.

10 Example of a RACI Chart

(10.1) See Figure 1.

Figure 1: An example of a RACI Chart.

(10.2) Note: The ‘Decisions / Activities’ in Figure 1 represent sequential steps in the completion of a process. Also, The ‘Functional Roles’ give positions assigned to enable the completion of the ‘Decisions / Activities’.

(10.3) Note: There are hyphens, instead of empty spaces, in the chart. This is to explicitly convey an active omission of any code, to prevent the possibility of an 'overlooked' element in the analysis.

(10.4) Having completed the RACI Chart, a Vertical and Horizontal Analysis is undertaken.

11 Vertical and Horizontal Analysis of a RACI Chart

(11.1) The process involved in both analyses is very similar, and involves the frequency of Rs, As, Cs, and Is in the chart, as a whole, and with regard to Functional Roles, and Decisions / Activities.

11.1 Vertical Analysis – Functional Roles (Figure 2)

Figure 2: Vertical Analysis of a RACI Chart.

11.2 Horizontal Analysis – Decisions / Activities (Figure 3)

Figure 3: Horizontal Analysis of a RACI Chart.

12 Review and Investment

(12.1) Each RACI Chart must be shown to representative Functional Roles, covered by the chart, and evaluated. Any corrections must be reflected in the chart. This will ensure investment, by Functional Roles, in the final form of the RACI chart.

(12.2) It may be possible to validate the RACI Chart against other outputs from the organisation.

13 Benefits of Conducting a RACI Analysis

(13.1) Within the company, there will be improved:
  • Capacity: Removing duplication and redundancy;
  • Organisation Structure: Implicit in a RACI Analysis;
  • Planning: Through greater participation encouraged by improved lines of communication;
  • Productivity: Resulting from clearly defined and published roles;
  • Training: People involved in workshops and development process.

14 And Finally

14.1 Use of this article
(14.1.1) Any part, or all, of this article may be copied or ‘hyperlinked to’ for non-commercial purposes. Any copied content or hyperlink to include the following, please…

Knowledge Management and Responsibility Charting
by Tim Cliffe Copyright 2015-04

(14.1.2) Where use will be for commercial purposes, seek authorisation, including details of proposed use, via the contact form at http://www.TimCliffe.uk/contact/