Thursday, March 31, 2016

Gimme an El! Gimme a Pee! Gimme and Ess and an Ess!

What does that spell?  elp-ss-ss ;-) OK...well that sounded more funny in my head...

Anyway! Week 5 of NRC01PL (last week! All caught up! yay!) was about Learning Performance Support Systems.  My first introduction to LPSS (a brief one at that) was in an instructional design course almost 10 years ago (if my memory works).  The funny thing is that we did talk about LPSS (without using that label) in a Knowledge Management course while I was doing my MBA.  The lesson here?  Interdisciplinarity is indeed a thing worthwhile practicing! :-)

When we learned about LPSS way back when, it was within a corporate learning context. The idea of an LPSS, which in my knowledge management course tied into communities of practice, was that employees, who are also learners, have access to a system to get realtime, just-in-time, help with whatever they are doing.  An example of this might be, for example, a short video on how to print something from your computer to a networked printer in your office.

Of course, the LPSS that was discussed last week in NRC01PL was not this type of LPSS.  This LPSS seems more like a place to bring together all of your learning.  I created an LPSS.me account†  and had  a look around. I know it's still in beta, or perhaps even in alpha, but I don't think this type of service is really for me.  I am feeling like an old fart for saying this, but I feel a bit saturated with services at the moment.

From the introductory video LPSS it seems a little like services like degreed that allow you to track and account for all courses that you complete, every book you read, every article you read, and so on.  I did try degreed for a while in order to keep track of things that I do on the web, but within a few days I shut down my account. I also tried another similar service on the web, but I forget what it was now.  Being able to track all of accomplishments is pretty nifty, don't get me wrong, however I already have a ton of online services that do that for me. Goodreads for example keeps track of what I've read.  Zotero and Mendeley do that for academic articles. Diigo & Delicious keep track of what I share on twitter.  I also have a CV where I keep track of all MOOCs I attended (among other things). I used to keep track on Class-Central, but I've stopped updating that profile ages ago.  The question is, do I really need to go in and manually input stuff again? Or should I just be able to point services like these to auto-import my badges, certificates, attendance records, and so on?

I feel like I've input my degrees and educational information so many times, in so many services, that I don't feel like doing it again... I eventually stopped updating my info on various services because it's a hassle to keep it all up to date :-) I am also getting annoyed by services like ResearchGate that ask me to upload copies of my papers on their service because they don't have a little URL field in their service.  I prefer to post in open access journals.  Most of what I write is already open access, with a URL that points to it.  Why not allow me to simply give a URL (feeling cranky toward RG today hehe).  If I have an ORCID and a Google Scholar profile, why can't other services tap into that?  Publons seems to be able to, why can't others?

It's not all doom and gloom with LPSS though, and the fact that it's in development means that there is potential to fix these issues. It also seems that the LPSS system learns more about what you like and what you don't like, and it works as a recommender system for your own learning, which seems really cool.  It actually sounds a lot like a system I proposed a few years ago about MOOC recommender systems (and published on this blog...somewhere) ;-).  I think that this is probably the real strength of the LPSS - good recommendations for further learning, but it needs data in order to do that, and I think that's probably the most challenging part of this. Stephen called this deep learning analytics the learning analytics for one person across many services and platforms.  This can be pretty tough to accomplish given the closed nature of some platforms. I wonder if digital badges could help address this in some way.

A thing that jumped out to me was that the end goal of the LPSS is not to act simply as a teaching system, but rather to act as a learning system to help learner accomplish their goals. This is done through subsystems that talk to one another such as the Personal Learning Record subsystem, Resource Repository Network subsystem, and learning analytics.  I did wonder though, if the intent is to put the learner in control of their own learning goals, would it make more sense to have all of this in a system that is not multiuser (and if it is, it's electively multiuser), so that the learner has a domain of their own, and they can have it hosted like WordPress on any server they want.  Does the centrality of LPSS go counter to the learner in control argument? Just a thought.

Finally, an interesting statistic shared last week: Carnegie Mellon research seems to indicate that the amount we need to memorize for work has gone down. In 1986 it was around 75%, in 1997 around 20% and in 2006 around 10%.  So memorization not something that should be a goal. Lifelong learning is the goal.

That's all for now.  What did you think?




SIDENOTES:
† creating an LPSS account reminded me that I haven't used ProSolo in ages. We used ProSolo back in the days of DALMOOC. I logged into ProSolo, had a look around, and left.  Not much for me there at the moment. Too bad, because its potential seems to have fizzled.  I wonder what others think

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