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REN nyhetsbrev nr. 11, 2005

11. august 2005
1:  Medlemsmøte i Trondheim
2:  Nyheter fra Clark
3:  SRI LoD rapport
4:  Nytt og nyttig
5:  På kalenderen
1:  Medlemsmøte i Trondheim

Det er sendt ut en egen invitasjon til vårt neste medlemsmøte. Vi håper flest mulig har anledning til å ta turen til NTNU for å  se og høre (og ikke minst møtes) hva som foregår innen IKT og læring på landets største tekniske forsknings- og utdanningsinstitusjon.

NTNU har satt sammen et meget godt program med fokus på anvendelse av teknolog til læring. Høydepunktene som Midgard Medielab, Cyberlab, Multimediasenteret, Operasjonsstue ved St. Olavs Hospital og ikke minst VR laben ved institutt for petroleumsteknologi og anvendt geofysikk, som var verdens største og mest avanserte ikke militære VR-fasilitet står i kø.

2: Nyheter fra Clark

I’ve recently been on the go a lot, from Los Angeles five weeks ago, to Boston the next week, to Washington State the week after that, to Alaska the very next week, and then a family vacation to San Diego and back up through California last week.  That may not seem a lot to you, but it is to me!  You’ve already heard about Boston, so this time it’s the San Diego connection that sparks the theme.

It was in San Diego that I got my PhD in Cognitive Psychology (really, Applied Cognitive Science, based upon what my advisor and his research lab was doing at the time), so perhaps that triggered my sensitivity, but I’ve seen a resurgent interest in the implications for cognitive science for the design of systems that assist us, including learning systems. 

Cognitive Science is a cross-discipline way to understand how people think (and learn:  Applied cognitive science (sometimes known as cognitive engineering: is the practice of using what we know about how people think and learn as the basis for designing systems (instead of the wide variety of approaches that are typically seen, whether driven by marketing, engineering, what have you).  I personally don’t like the heavily formal approaches (e.g. GOMS, and now call it cognitive design, reflecting the more iterative design-based approaches than the more mechanistic engineering approaches.

One of the ways in which cognitive science has been applied is in the design of interfaces.  What’s now getting interesting is moving beyond the received wisdom, though there’s too little of that being applied, and I highly recommend reading The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman if you have any role in the design of interfaces ( After that, read Things That Make Us Smart (, and you’ll have the necessary basics (and won’t look at the world the same way again).

Moving beyond, Don Gentner (RIP), and Jakob Nielsen (, used cognitive science principles to criticize one of the most successful interfaces known (as documented above at the end of the GOMS tutorial).  In their ‘Anti-Mac’ article (, they pointed out how the Mac was good, but that the assumptions and tradeoffs made were under assumptions that may no longer be current (and, of course, the interface at the time has matured significantly as we see in Mac OS X).

Along the same lines, I was also recently pointed to this interesting site, which explores how much we use certain interface affordances because we’re used to them (  We don’t need clicks as often as we think, though as I’m designing a learning game (where I need people to make choices, a critical element for learning I think) I prefer clicks for the learner to actually execute their choice rather than just rolling over to execute (I know I’m not that good at fine motor control, and accidents do happen).

Talking about cognitive science for the design of systems is important, but our main topic of course is learning systems.  One of the ways cognitive science is manifesting itself in learning is coming to grips with both social learning and learning at the neural level.  Stephen Downes recently posted to a lively ITFORUM ( discussion on instructional design, bringing in implications for learning from neural models (more easily readable here:  He concludes that this “suggests the idea of teaching not by telling or even demonstrating but rather through the creation (or identification) of an environment into which a learner may be immersed”.  Absolutely; we’re not about developing content, but instead about designing learning experiences.
George Siemens, whose connectivism model ( I’ve probably referred to in the past is similarly inspired (by computer and social networks more than neural networks), has come up with a new article about how to design with this new understanding (  Although only having had a chance to skim it yet, it holds promise.  The flow chart for choosing domains is problematic, but an interesting approach, and the fundamental basis reflects much of what is becoming known from cognitive science.
Continuing the theme (as my learning style isn’t too social, I’m trying to explore more about social learning), I was pleased to be pointed to this set of principles for effective social networking ( Dave Pollard in a previous post indicated the problems with the existing social networking tools (, and this list of principles to improve them is a valuable reflection.  At the end, he says “These are not questions for programmers, analysts, sociologists or psychologists, but rather questions for cultural anthropologists, complex adaptive systems experts, and those knowledgeable about heuristics, neural networks and the Wisdom of Crowds.” In other words, cognitive scientists.  And hence we come full circle, where I’ll stop for this time.

3: SRI LoD rapport - The July 2005 issue of LoD Viewpoints

Hele rapporten finner du på våre medlemssider.
In this issue:
   - Saba's Survival
   - Macromedia's Strengthened Learning-Product Line

Saba's Survival
Saba is one of the original and best-known providers of  learning-management systems (LMS). But like most LMS providers, Saba faced a number of challenges as the market began to consolidate. After completing the acquisition of THINQ and making progress on a variety of other fronts, Saba seems to have assured survival--at least for now.

Macromedia's Strengthened Learning-Product Line
Macromedia is an important company to watch for all learning-technology players. The company is integrating software simulations tool Captivate with Breeze and in turn creating a highly competitive learning-content authoring and delivery tool. Adobe's proposed acquisition of Macromedia creates a number of uncertainties but could also accelerate the company's progress in learning technologies.

4: Nytt og nyttig

Investerer i norsk e-læring.
Markedet for e-læring er endelig modent, tror Bjørn Erik Reinseth i Ferd Venture. Ferd Venture investerer 14 millioner kroner i den norske softwareprodusenten Mohive. - E-læring har vært gjennom en skikkelig hype rundt år 2000. Nå tror vi bedriftene er modne for å ta i bruk dette middelet, sier Reinseth til Bedriftene kan spare mye...
Les resten av artikklen her:

5: På kalenderen

REN medlemsmøte i samarbeid med NTNU holdes i Trondheim 31. august
Påmelding til Veslemøy Barnes på

Chief Learning Officer Symposium Fall 2005
The Speed to Competency: Developing People, Building Capabilities
September 28-30 2005 at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach, California
Workforce productivity has never been more critical. Join us in at the Hyatt Regency, Huntington Beach, CA to explore the most creative and compelling solutions for rapidly increasing employee potential.

Digital Storytelling Festival, 7. til 9. oktober i San Francisco

REN Studietur, 9. til 13. oktober i San Francisco.
Påmelding til Veslemøy Barnes på

Training Fall Conference and Expo, October 17-19, 2005, Long Beach, California
At Training Fall Conference and Expo, you'll find more resources, more expertise and more opportunities for you to accelerate your professional development and online learning curve.

Chief Learning Officer Symposium EMEA 2005
November 2-4 2005 at the Hotel Arts Barcelona, Spain
Join us in Barcelona as Chief Learning Officer magazine extends its highly regarded Symposium series to the EMEA markets. CLO Symposium EMEA is the perfect forum for senior international learning executives to share their experiences and best practices with an ever-expanding Global community.

NFF-konferanse 6. og 7. desember 2005
Sted: Handelshøyskolen BIs nye kunnskapsbygg i Nydalen, Oslo
Samarbeidspartnere: Norsk forbund for fjernundervisning og fleksibel
utdanning, Nettverksuniversitetet, TISIP, Universitetet i Oslo, BI og NOKUT.
Tema: KVALITET - i undervisning, læringsmiljø, veiledning, teknologi,
studentadministrasjon, osv.