Learning Unleashed: Exploring the Hidden Investment in Personal Growth

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This article was originally posted on LinkedIn during May 2023.

I’ve seen a lot of LinkedIn posts recently about professionals who do voluntary work, and then use those experiences to sell their services. You know what I mean: “Look at me coaching my baseball team, we do such a great job building resilience in our kids. Why not buy some management and leadership training from my company and build resilience in your own team.” I can’t stand that bullshit, it just feels wrong to leverage good deeds for sales.

Following an amazing weekend, I want to share my own volunteering experience, but I won’t try and sell anything off the back of it! Instead, I’d like to ask a reflective question: how much do you invest in your own learning outside work? I’m thinking time, not money.

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Should Edtech care about blockchain?

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People have been trying to find educational uses for blockchain for many years now. I try to carve out a little time every year to see if any research projects have matured into industry products but it’s never a productive search. There are always dedicated practitioners (mostly academics) running proof of concepts, and many more edtech commentators weighing in with blogs, ideas and conjecture about blockchain’s potential in education. But over the years things have progressed at such a glacial pace, I had pretty much concluded that blockchain in EdTech was possible just a solution that couldn’t find a problem.

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Building bridges between Higher Education and Corporate L&D

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I came across this nice line from my old boss Donald Clark’s blog recently: “Much as Higher Education would like to think it has a monopoly on learning, it is merely one in many, many layers in the learning cake.”

True words and they got me thinking about some experiences good and bad, past and present, that I have had as a learning and development professional interacting with the Higher Education world from the ‘outside’.

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The rise and rise of mobile learning

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I have been collecting together examples the past few weeks of when higher education institutions started rolling out these ‘iPads for every student’ programs. While the world read those attention grabbing headlines, a larger number of institutions have been sliently spending vastly more money, but with much less exposure, on supporting Bring Your Own Device strategies and building out wireless networks across their campuses to support this. These huge investments in mobile learning technologies in higher education – for both free devices and BYOD – appears to have really started gaining momentum from 2008 onwards.

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How open source development processes impact software quality

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This article is part of a series of blog posts reviewing academic studies into open source software quality.

Exploring the Effects of Process Characteristics on Product Quality in Open Source Software Development, Koch and Neumann, 2008

Koch and Neumann from Vienna University published this paper in 2008. It built on prior published research into open source development processes and was a landmark study in terms of scale, extracting metrics from over 2 million lines of code. Prior published research in this area analysed data from code repositories and bug trackers, however Koch and Neumann were concerned that the resulting metrics focused too much on product rather than process. Their study would review both product AND process, with the particular aim of  assessing the impact of software processes on product quality.

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Research into open source software quality

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My first decade in software development was in software testing and test management and despite moving away from that discipline it remains a special interest. As an open source practitioner I maintain a keen interest in where the worlds of software quality and open source meet. It goes without saying that quality is managed VERY differently in open source projects than it is in traditional closed-source projects. How differently, and how project attributes positively impact on quality, has been the focus of an increasing amount of academic research, especially now that the open source phenomenon is mainstream.

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