Agile and ADDIE Add Up

Jeffrey Kachik and Deborah Gadsden talked about Agile and ADDIE. They first referenced the 2001 Agile Manifesto which states:

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  • Responding to change over following a plan

They say: That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.

The manifesto writers also follow a set of principles

Next they mentioned SCRUM.

At the US Department of Veterans Affairs they have managed to connect Agile to ADDIE (Analyse, Design, Develop, Implement, Evaluate). Agile works especially well in the Design and Development parts of ADDIE, allowing you to iterate there. Using the agile methodology allows them to go through the ADDIE process in about 40% of the time it used to take.



The standard development time ratio for this type of learning is benchmarked as 184 hours for 1 hour of learning. Their first few modules were much higher than that, but they learned and after two modules manages to sustain a ratio of about 100 development hours for 1 hour of learning.

General Session on Tuesday Morning at Masie’s Learning 2012

1600 people in a big ballroom showed up for another general session at Elliott Masie’s Learning 2012.

According to Masie there are a few things different this year in comparison to previous years:

  • Eight years ago everybody was rushing to a session on how to buy your LMS. We have now realized that the LMS is an important form of “air conditioning”: if it doesn’t work you’re screwed (so you do need it), but it doesn’t necessarily create the next step in learning.
  • We are now having a clear conversation about personalized learning. How can I learn what I want/need to know in the timeframe that makes sense, in the style that is appropriate, with the level of collaboration that I want and in the location that I am?
  • Another interesting question is: What will be the role of content created by the users (user generated content).

Oliver Bogler from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center came on the stage to pick up a Masie Spotlight Award. The center has a brilliantly designed logo:

MD Anderson Logo

MD Anderson Logo

They had a short conversation about how they teach not just the health professionals and students but also the patients and the “concerned” public. Education is really one of the cornerstones of their mission.

Diana Oblinger from Educause was on stage next. Educause is an organization in the field of Higher Education. There often is a disconnect between the world of corporate learning and the world of higher-ed. Diana made an argument that technology is enabling large changes in learning. We now have the ability to deliver large scale learning at a low cost. She also mentioned DIY Learning which is a topic that I did a session on too. Masie asked her how come higher-ed campusses only deliver a smart part of the learning in corporations. She does see this changing: MOOCs are an example. Masie then urged us all to connect with her and ask her about something like portfolios in higher education to see what we can learn from that world.

Charles Duhigg is a New York Times journalist and has written a book titled The Power of Habit. His inspiration for the book came from the military where habit formation is a key element to success. Because of advances in neurology in the last decade we now finally are starting to understand how habits work. In research with rats they have found out that as a habit forms the rat stop thinking. We now know that habits consist of three parts:

  • There is a cue that kickstarts the habitual behaviour
  • The behaviour itself is called the routine
  • Finally there is a reward, this is why we continue to show the behaviour in the future
The Habit Loop

The Habit Loop

We used to focus on the middle part, but the cue and the reward are very important too. The cue is usually easy enough to find, but the reward is harder to find. In the context of learning we are of course interested in shaping the habits of other people. Duhigg gave a couple of examples from Starbucks where they are trying to imbue will power habits in their young employees. One thing they use is the L.A.T.T.E. loop (they Listen to the customer, Acknowledge their complaint, Take action by solving the problem, Thank them, and then Explain why the problem occurred). Duhigg also showed the marshmallow experiment (it relates to will power):

Changing individual habits can best be done by giving people insight in to how habits work. Habits take place just below our consciousness. They happen without us really thinking about it. Organizational habits are different. This is about culture. Some habits are more powerful than other in organizations, these are called keystone habits. Once you shift the keystone habits other things will start changing too. This is a way of unlocking cultural change in the organization. Masie related this story of habits to gamification (badges, etc.). He is afraid that we are overly simplifying things when we think about gamification as a way to shape habits. According to Duhigg we understand very little about rewards. There are two types of rewards: expected rewards and unexpected rewards. For rewards to be effective we need to have both. We usually only create expected rewards in our incentive systems. This is a problem because we tend to discount expected rewards when we get them and are overdelighted by unexpected rewards. There is also the distinction between extrinsic and intrinsic rewards. Often we need to have extrinsic rewards to kickstart or bootstrap a new habit which can then be sustained through intrinsic motivation.

They also discussed an article that Duhigg wrote about (software) patents. According to him we are starting to realize that software patents are broken (more information about how bad software patents are can be found here). Masie talked about the ridiculous story of IP learn. This is what some would call a patent troll set up to sue LMS companies. The company has already managed to pick up about 17 million dollars without ever having invented anything.

Unfortunately I had to miss Josh Bersin speaking as I had to prepare for my own session.

MOOCs, Motivation, and the Mass Movement toward Open Education

Curtis Bonk led a session about MOOCs at Learning 2012. His slides are available at TrainingShare (this is the direct link). His presentation must have been one of the most insanely paced sessions I have ever been to. That is a compliment by the way.

What is a MOOC? Start here:

Curtis’ presentation consisted of four parts.

Part I. Past Year Recap of MOOC and MOOC Leadership

MOOCs are very much in the news nowadays. For example the conversation with Bill Gates or the Holy Apostles. The Chronicle of Higher Education has a nice timeline and even Newt Gingrich has one. The MOOC that probably got the most attention was Stanford’s class on Artificial Intelligence. Something that I hadn’t heard of before earlier this week is the Floating University.

Daphne Koller’s TED talk was probably the thing about MOOCs that got the most play:

Curtis runs his own MOOCs too. He uses tools like Piazza and Course networking.

If you want to be a leader in the MOOC space then there are a few things you could do. Each of the following points was backed up by some news item or article:

  1. Be first
  2. Offer something novel
  3. Define brand
  4. Take risks
  5. Rethink your classes
  6. Inspire your team
  7. Form partnerships
  8. Offer incentives
  9. Set bold audacious goals
  10. Create media attention
  11. Build on strengths and niche areas
  12. Do not make rash decisions
  13. Be pro-active in addressing concerns
  14. Give something away
  15. Look way ahead
  16. Expanding marketss
  17. Ask questions

Part II. MOOC Instructor Guidelines

Next Bonk discussed a few guidelines for instructors of MOOCs:

  1. Plan and Prepare
  2. Designate Feedback Providers and Tasks
  3. Offer Ample Feedback in Week One
  4. Use Peer, Machine, Volunteer and Self-assessment
  5. Gather geographic data
  6. Use a Warm and Friendly Tone
  7. Form Groups and Social Supports
  8. Arrive early for Sync Session
  9. Allocata Ample time for Questions and Feedback
  10. Share Resources
  11. Personalize
  12. Use Polling Questions
  13. Check Chat Window for Comments and Questions
  14. Reflect After Each Session
  15. Offer Weekly Recaps and Podcasts

Part III. Type of MOOCs

We are alreading seeing a whole set of different MOOCs. His attempt at a typology is here:

  1. Alternative Admissions Systems or Hiring System MOOC
  2. Just-in-Tme Skills and Competencies MOOC
  3. Theory- or Trend-Driven MOOC
  4. Professional Development (practical) MOOC
  5. Loss Leader (dip toe in water) MOOC
  6. Experimental MOOC
  7. Have to look it up
  8. Personality MOOC
  9. Name Branding MOOC
  10. Rotating MOOC
  11. Repeatable MOOC
  12. Reusable MOOC

Part IV. Business models

This was a part that I was interested in. What are the business models behind MOOCs? How can they be sustainable? Bonk has come up with the following (incomplete list):

  1. Advertisements
  2. Small and flexible application/enrollment fee
  3. Course assessment fee
  4. Certificate fee
  5. Enhanced Course Fee
  6. Option for full university credit
  7. Company sponsored
  8. Percent of first year salary (sell companies names and contact details of high performers)
  9. Sell or Lease Courses (for example to community colleges)
  10. Share Revenues

I think he missed an important value driver: the (aggregated) data of all the participants. We already see that university are not calling MOOC participants “students” because they don’t want to have to account to FERPA¬†and I can see universities monetizing that data quite easily as a consequence.

Some more things from Curtis

Curtis has created a set of Creative Commons licensed videos about how to teach online. Well worth a look.

His next book is is about a learning framework that he has titled: TEC-Variety:

TEC-Variety Model

TEC-Variety Model

Finally check out his book: The World is Open:

The World is Open

The World is Open

Personalizing Learning

Richard Culatta is with the US Department of Education at the Office of Educational Technology. He is an exceptional speaker and a “smart cookie”, I dig his self-deprecating style.

He kicked off by showing examples of what he calls “pencil sharpening” technology. Pencil sharpening is a metaphor for just making the same thing a little bit better without changing the paradigm. From the traditional blackboard to the digital whiteboard, from the traditional textbook to the e-book, from lectures to webinars. We should not be sharpening our pencils but instead let technology help us with the three challenges that prevent us from breaking with the one-size-fits-all methodology:

Challenge 1: We treat learners the same despite different needs and challenges. The least equitable thing we can do is treat everybody the same.
Challenge 2: We hold the schedule constant and allow the learning to vary.
Challenge 3: Student performance data comes too late to be useful.

The US government’s National Ed Tech Plan tries to address these challenges.

Culatta has made the following formula for personalized learning:

Adjusting the pace + Adjusting the learning approach + Leveraging student interests/experiences = Personalized learning

If you don’t have each of these three elements, then it isn’t personalized. This needs thinking on each of the following: learning, teaching and infrastructure.

Next he shared a set of examples. The one that stuck out for me is School of One, a concept school that creates personal curricula for its students using technology.

School of One - Learning Algorithm

School of One – Learning Algorithm

Taking a cue from this Richard suggests we should capture way more formative assessment data from our learners.

He finished by asking us all to download and read the Enhancing Teaching and Learning Through Educational Data Mining and Learning Analytics report. Allegedly a very readable introduction to the topic.

Hackathons: Innovations in Learning and Collaboration

Not just about the food

Not just about the food

Melodi Albert and Nancy McClary from Dominian Enterprises, a company with about 3400 employees, talked at Learning 2012 about how they used hackathons as a learning tool.

All of their hackathons are two-day long events. They have now organized four different ones for their developers, each focusing on a different API. One of their hackathons was focused on a product I hadn’t heard of before: the Learning Registry. The Learning Registry is:

creating a set of technical protocols as a platform for innovation by content authors and aggregators. Applications built to harness the power of harvesting and analyzing the Learning Registry data will allow educators to quickly find content specific to their unique needs. The Learning Registry will store more than traditional descriptive data (metadata)–it will also allow sharing of ratings, comments, downloads, standards alignment, etc.

Initially the hackathons were organized as a recruitment effort, but they found out that they are great learning events too: people can break out of their normal walls, they can learn from eachother and they can actually do something. It was a challenge to sell to management that developers could take two days out of their schedule to work on this, so the first one was on a (rainy) weekend. After the success it became easier to get the time. Outside of the opportunity costs these events are very cheap to run (about $75 per person for the two days).

The first hackathon was just for their own employees. Later on they opened up to the rest of the world with the code hosted on Github. They fill them up on a first- come-first-serve basis with developers, business leaders, designers and marketeers. Each of these types get their own colour, so that they are recognizable and can come together as mixed teams. The teams build something of their own choice and they present it at the end of the two days. During the two days the people are well cared for with nice food and usually some swag (e.g. a T-shirt with a logo).

There is a lot of return on investment for these events. Melodi literally said: “There isn’t any amount of money we could have paid to get the same level of learning as these events delivered”.

I think this is an interesting model to play with. Can this work in domains that aren’t about programming? Could we do a “hackathon” for developing a learning experience? I want to find out (and will start by reading this Wired article on the topic)!