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REN nyhetsbrev nr. 17, 2004

27. august 2004
1: How publishing and social models are supporting informal elearning
2: BBC – en foregangsfigur på interaktiv læring i flere kanaler
3: MPHPT To Issue Guidelines on Mobile e-Learning Platforms
4: REN medlemsmøte i Tromsø 25. august
5: Nytt og nyttig
6: På kalenderen
1: How publishing and social models are supporting informal elearning

Last time I wrote about RSS and wiki’s.  I want to extend that discussion a
bit, focusing on how a variety of publishing and social models are
supporting informal elearning (don’t worry, I will cover formal learning as
well).  The point is that as you move up the expertise tree, there’s less
fixed knowledge you can point to, and more and more of the shared knowledge
is under negotiation between experts.  Consequently, while courses serve
those at the bottom of the tree, as you move up you need more flexible
learning solutions. So, blogs allow personal presentation, wiki’s allow
collaboration, and RSS lets you tap into news.
Another way to view it, however, is to think about it is the transition from
“know what” to “know who”.  This has been one of the strands of knowledge
management, but the demarcation between knowledge management and elearning
is a continuum, I believe (with performance support somewhere in the
middle), and have so argued.  So the buzzphrase ‘social learning’ has come
into being.  A very nice overview covers quite a few tools
(, and the
discussion continues in the followup
(  The article
covers wikis, blogs, expert management software and more.
Many learning theorists, e.g. Vygotksy, and Bandura (check out  to see a list of a wide variety of theories)
believe that learning is fundamentally social.  While good learners may
acquire the ability to internalize the dialogue, real enculturation into a
community of practice requires learning the language and rituals, the tacit
knowledge, not just the explicit knowledge.  Yes, you do need to manage the
explicit knowledge, but that may not be sufficient
( !
I think expert management software is part of a total solution.  The social
learning article rightly points out that knowledge management is including
this sort of approach, identifying who knows what may be as useful as trying
to explicitly capture all the available knowledge.  Again, it’s about what’s
fixed versus what’s still under negotiation.  Another worthwhile dimension
in analyzing this, of course, is the volatility of information.  If it’s
changing fast, even if it’s agreed upon, then it may also make sense not
trying to make it explicit.
If you’re wondering, by the way, I’m segueing into knowledge management, let
me be explicit that I believe that organizational information needs is a
continuum that goes from elearning, through performance support, to
knowledge management and I’m not the only one
(  I’
ve taken the thought a bit further with an article about a larger picture of
how to look at providing support for performance, but it’s not online. If
you have access to Educational Technology Magazine, however, it’s in the
July-August 2004 issue (Vol 4, #4).  (The coarse gestation of the idea can
be seen at
I’m beginning to believe that organizations need to start thinking about
having a unified internal knowledge/performance/learning/innovation group
(which complements an external customer experience group which unites
usability, support, customer training, but that’s another story).  Does that
make outsourcing (a recent theme of the Emergent Learning Forum a fundamentally
bad idea, since organizational knowledge has to be a core competency?  You’d
think so, but I worry that it’s complex enough that I also don’t necessarily
trust the average organizational department to keep up with the directions.
I’m particularly worried by trends such as taking trainers and making them
elearning designers (the first point in  The
skills required to do elearning are (or should be) different enough than
what’s required for classroom training to ensure that this is in general a
bad idea (though certainly there will be folks who can make the transition).
Understanding programmed interactivity, interaction and experience design
( , as well as
technological capabilities are part of it.  Another part is the strategic
view mentioned above, which isn’t necessarily part of the skill set of the
average corporate trainer.
A take home message would be, I guess, to start taking a broader view of
elearning, with fixed knowledge to be trained at the bottom, communities of
practice at the top, and performance support and knowledge management in the
middle.  However, these aren’t layers, but a blend.  Think strategically,
and decide what is core and how.
That’s enough for this time, to go further I’d need to start another topic,
and that’s more than I have room for.

2. BBC – en foregangsfigur på interaktiv læring i flere kanaler

BBC var i tidligere tider et foregangseksempel med hensyn til bruk at radio
og TV til læring. BBC går nå også foran i bruk av nye kanaler som
interaktiv-TV, internet og mobil til interaktiv læring. Skal man tro
historien som blir fortalt her, har opplæringstilbudet til BBC også blitt
godt mottatt av grupper som normalt ikke er mottagelig for mer tradisjonelle
metoder. Spesielt  tallene for tjenesten Bytesize er imponerende: 9 av 10
16-åringer i UK bruker denne tjenesten for eksamensforberedelser. ”Case
study” finnes her:


3. MPHPT To Issue Guidelines on Mobile e-Learning Platforms

Japan’s Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and
Telecommunications (MPHPT) will issue the guidelines for e-learning
platforms that involve mobile phones and other mobile devices targeted 2006,
and will start demonstrative experiments with various players in this
industry such as the content suppliers, the technical solution providers,
and the device manufacturers.  The move is to realize rather practical,
productive e-learning environments where the citizens can study on
e-learning-basis without worrying about where they are situated or about the

MPHPT currently allocates JPY300 million ($2.9 million) in fiscal 2005
budget for the tasks.

The mobile e-learning industry has not been, however, profitable in Japan
due to less standardized market in terms of technical and service structures
within the various part of the vertical chain.  The mobile carriers together
with device manufacturers have been providing the e-learning systems using
their own different technical platforms, file-formats, page size, or Flash™
contents that are not necessarily compatible each other.  As a result, the
current content suppliers have been forced to create numerous different
versions of the same materials depending on the different platforms
resulting in higher production costs.

As the first step, MPHPT will establish a work group involving both public
and private sectors that will discuss how they can create common tools and
technical platforms.  If this is successful, MPHPT expects that the
e-learning market will dramatically grow with a great addition of
mobile-based services and solutions as well as new entrants to the industry.
This situation should then attract tremendous number of consumers who are
looking to studying with numerous images, video-clips, texts and voices on
the phone when on the trains or buses that would particularly enhance
productivities in language studies.  Adding to this, the user will be able
to link the date between their mobile and other network-connected digital
devices such as the personal computers making him or her continually study
with the same materials using office or school computers and mobile devices
on the street.

MPHPT anticipates that the mobile-based e-learning industry will grow rather
dramatically, because of the increasing number of third-generation (3G)
mobile phone users who are capable of sending and receiving
multimedia-contents with large-size images and videos.  During the past few
years, although 3G phones have not been focusing on educational fields
unfortunately, but on entertainment sectors such as the games or the music
downloads, MPHPT wishes to tackle by tempting more services and solutions
for educational purposes.

(News Source: Mainichi Interactive August 18, 2004  


4: REN medlemsmøte i Tromsø 25. august 2004

Vårt siste medlemsmøte ble et hyggelig og godt faglig møte for de som hadde
tatt turen opp til Tromsø. Vi fikk en god presentasjon av portalen og Norgesuniversitetet presenterte sin strategi og satsning
etter sammenslåingen av SOFF og Norgesuniversitetet. Firmaet Cerpus, fra
Vesterålen, demonstrerte sitt produkt Brain Bank Learning, som er et verktøy
for bygging og deling av kunnskap gjennom emnekart. Det var et meget
interesant foredrag som ga deltakerne en god innføring og ideer til hvordan
kunnskap kan struktureres og deles. Tore Hoel fra  holdt et
godt innlegg om standardiseringsarbeidet som foregår i regi av estandard
prosjektet. Vi fikk også en innføring og demonstrasjon av ulike verktøy i
kategorien tankekart. Presentasjoner fra dette møtet finner du på våre

5: Nytt og nyttig

Online Educa 2004
10th International Conference on Technology and Supported Learning & Training.
Norsk felles stand på Online Educa.  Mer informasjon om dette finnes på
For REN medlemmer som ønsker å delta på konferansedelen på Online Educa har vi
forhandlet oss til en redusert pris på Euro 500 (vanlig pris Euro 750) for påmeldinger som kommer via oss.  For ytterligere informasjon om dette, ta kontakt med

”Treffsikker nettbasert læring?”. 
Norgesuniversitetet har utgitt boken ”Treffsikker nettbasert læring?” om erfaringer og kunnskap opparbeidet gjennom SOFF-støttede prosjekter.  Dette er den første i Norgesuniversitetets skriftserie, en fortsettelse av SOFFs skriftserie, og vil belyse ulike tema knyttet til fleksibel og livslang læring.

Shubiki Got The World’s First SCORM2004 Grant
Tokyo-based business content and solution provider, Shubiki Corporation has
become the first SCROM2004-qualified solution provider in the world, after
successfully passed SCORM2004 standard test offered by Advanced Distributed
Learning (ADL).

The “SCORM” stands for “Shareable Content Object Reference Model,” and is
one of the most widely effective e-learning platform standards advocated by
ADL section of the U.S. Department of Defense (Pentagon). This standardizes
the mutual compatibilities of the contents used under different digital
platforms, and particularly mandates the contents to use designated
interfaces, so as not to confuse the users.  The latest version of SCORM2004
was originally published in January this year, and then revised lately in
July.  And thus, not many players are compatible with this standard yet.

Meanwhile Shubiki has developed “BI SCUE LMS2,” an LMS (learning management
system) based on SCORM version 1.2.  Mr. Shubiki, President and CEO of
Shubiki Corp., commented, “We are very pleased to receive the world’s first
SCORM2004 grant from ADL.  We hope our users in both domestic and foreign
markets could find the advantages of the newly standardized solutions.”

 (Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) SCORM2004:

(BisCue e-Learning:

Entrance Exam Prep Service thru e-Learning
Targeting the elementary and the junior high school students in their final
terms right before the entrance exams of the next upper-division schools,
Benesse Corporation will launch an e-learning-based preparatory training
service, “Benesse e-Entrance-Preparation Package.”  The package involves
various electronic devices and specialized solutions and contents through
e-learning platform including television-conferencing, Macromedia Flash™,
video streaming, and advising on coursework.

e-Entrance Prep Pack will offer “e-Individual,” “e-Voice,” “e-Lecture,” and
“e-Counseling.” With e-Individual, a teacher and the student’s computers are
connected through the Internet in order to perform a one-to-one education
using a special TV-conferencing system.  The system shows a white-board on
each other’s screen that can playback the Flash-based multimedia contents,
at the same time allows both side to directly write on the board using the
pen-tools. (See below image.)

The e-Voice is another unique feature in this package that let the students
rather deeply interact with teachers.  The system allows the students to
take the past-sample exams downloaded from the server, which will later be
submitted back through facsimile after answered the questions, then to have
them reviewed and evaluated by their instructors with red pens. Such
evaluations can then be viewed the students on the videos showing what the
teachers were commenting and making red-edits when they were reviewing the
student’s answers.  This way, the students can repeatedly play back the
video, even slowly sometimes, in order to fully understand what they might
not be able to understand easily immediately.

With e-Lecture, the server side streams the videos of past lectures
on-demand basis.  And with the e-Counseling, the student can consult with
his/her advisor via TV-conferencing.

The e-Entrance Prep Pack will be priced at JPY4,500 to 15,000 ($40 to $135)
per e-individual program depending on the course; e-Voice will be at
JPY2,500 ($22) per test and evaluation.  The system requires Windows98SE or
later versions of operating systems and faster-than-1.5Mbps broadband
connection.  To completely support all the service programs, the student
will need a headset microphone, webcam, and pen-tablet as well.

(Benessa Study Station:

AEN Reports on 2003 Research Results
Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) has reported on
results from its research made during fiscal 2003 that they studied the
readiness for the future styles of education, multi-linguistic content
platforms, and the infrastructures of the service educational industries
under an initiative called “Asia e-Learning Promotion.”  The summaries of
the results and related activities are currently posted on the website
maintained by AEN (Asia e-Learning Network

(Asia e-Learning Network (AEN)

Certificate of Compliance to “Net Rule”

In an effort to combat the recent growing concern about child crimes induced
by violent digital contents in Japan, an NPO (non-profit organization)
“Internet Association Japan” (IAJ) has initiated a program that certifies
the children about their safe manner of Internet use by issuing the
certificates (see below photo) upon passing the exams.  The exams are
designed to educate children how to use the Internet contents pleasantly and

The user (supposedly the child) can take this exam for free by accessing the
IAJ’s website via Internet-enabled mobile phone or personal computer.  The
child who passed the exams will be awarded an identification-card-like
certificate on paid-basis.

IAJ signifies the importance of manners and unspoken rules when using the
Internet, aiming to realize a safe environment for children to use the

6: På kalenderen

Rapid e-learning development Seminar & Roundtable, Las Vegas, 8. – 9.
september 2004

Rapid e-Learning Development Seminar & Roundtable
Taking the e out of e-learning – making e-learning work with conventional
Training, 21 September, 2004
Novotel London West, Hammersmith, London, UK

Kompetanseforum 2004, Innovasjon i praksis - hvordan kan det læres?, 21-22. september, 2004  

Online Learning Conference & Expo, San Francisco, California, October 11-13,

European ASTD Conference in Copenhagen 6. til 8. oktober.

ePortfolio: Transforming individual and organizational learning.  Konferanse
La Rochelle, Franrike 28. og 29. oktober 2004. De er også interesert i
mulige foredragsholdere. Konferansensens språk er engelsk.

For mere informasjon ta kontakt med:

Veslemøy Barnes
Research and Educational Network (REN)
Innovation Norway
20 California Street 6th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94111-4833
Tel: +1 415 986 0770
Fax: +1 415 986 7875