Month: June 2008

International students pose challenge to library staff…

…says an article in one of the recent issues of Times Higher Education.  While I can understand the issues that university libraries are facing, the whole article seems rather biased by presenting international students as a burden to universities. Overseas students, the article claims,  “tend to require more help than home students” , “increase the burden on librarians”, “can cause significant drain on resources”, “their expectations in some cases are sky high”.  Yet UK universities don’t seem to mind charging international students sky high fees.

I am increasingly stunned at the complacency and self-assuredness  of British universities in terms of internationalisation and accommodation of cultural diversity, especially when one draws comparisons with strategies of other European countries such as Netherlands.       


Mobile phones

George Siemens points out a Pew Internet study suggesting that not only 50% of world population has a mobile phone, many people are starting to use mobile phones as their primary phone. 

I have not used landline phone for the past 8 years. Partly the reason is that I am not telephone person , and have been perfectly happy communicating via IM, Skype, email.  I have had reasonable mobile plans, but in any case I use mobile mostly for texting, and as a way for others to access me.

The main reason not to use landline though is that in the past 8 years I moved house 7 times, in 6 different cities, in 3 different countries.  Most landline plans require minimum 12-18 months contracts. In addition, if you are a foreigner, you often have to submit a proof that your residence permit covers the duration of the potential landline contract.  Given than I have often worked on temporary contracts, and in in many countries residence permits are renewable annually, it just didn’t make sense for me to have a landline. 

When I moved to Glasgow two years ago, the area where my current flat is located didn’t have cable internet.  I had to take a landline contract in order to have access to broadband internet. So now while I do have a landline, I never use it beyond internet access.

With the increasing number of nomads like me – highly mobile people who either have to or choose to move across the world for work – there maybe an increasing need for companies that provide such utility services to offer more flexibility to the clients.  Arguably, global nomads are still a niche market, but this may change one day soon.                   

Professorial post at Caledonian Academy, Glasgow Caledonian University

We are recruiting again. Caledonian Academy is relatively new and we have established a dynamic group of colleagues working across research and development. We now have a new Chair post and would welcome applications from interested colleagues.

Professor of Learning innovation
Glasgow Caledonian University, UK
£51,276 to £64,125 per annum

The Caledonian Academy is a flagship initiative at Glasgow Caledonian University driving forward innovation in learning and teaching through the integration of research and practice. We require an ambitious and creative Professor of Learning Innovation to lead the embedding of ideas and new approaches from research into the curriculum, ensuring that the Academy’s research and development initiatives are complementary and integrated.

You will lead academics within a dynamic Learning Development team, work closely with academic schools and will carry out research in an area of strategic importance to the university. You should have an excellent national or international profile in research. You should have a PhD and be prepared to lead a Doctoral degree programme and contribute to postgraduate level teaching and professional activities.

Closing date June 30th 2008

For more information contact . Application form

Book on work-based learning published

My book “Work-based learning: A blend of pedagogy and technology” has been published by VDM Verlag.  It is based on my PhD research at Shell EP in the Netherlands in 2002-2005.

Global socio-economic changes are transforming workplaces. Organisations require employees skilled in strategic problem-solving; learning quickly in response to rapidly changing environment; working in distributed, culturally-diverse teams; building knowledge from different sources and applying it in a flexible way. The new workplace demands are in sharp contrast with the traditional ways of learning and teaching. The assumption that these highly complex skills can be learned in traditional formal learning settings focused on transferring content from experts to novices is no longer tenable. It is equally untenable that the knowledge and skills for effective performance in the workplace can be picked up from experienced peers or coaches in informal learning settings alone. New learning approaches enabling integration of the worlds of learning and work are needed. This book describes a new model for technology-enhanced work-based learning.The model aims to support managers, instructors and learning designers in organisations in devising strategy and curriculum for learning; in developing course design, evaluation and assessment processes; and in capturing and sharing good practice in learning within organisation.  The model was implemented at Shell EP Netherlands. The book is addressed to researchers and practitioners in work-related and technology-enhanced learning.

Table of Contents (high level)

List of Figures

List of Tables


Introduction: Work and Learning.

1. Work-Based Learning in Organisations.

1.1. Current challenges faced by organisations

1.2. Characteristics of work-based learning.

1.3. Work-based learning: Link between formal and informal learning.

1.4. Work-based activities as vehicles for integration of work and learning.

1.5. Technology affordances

2. Activity Theory: A Holistic Framework for Work-Based Learning.

2.1. Socio-cultural perspectives of learning.

2.2. Activity systems

2.3. Technology-enhanced work-based learning as an activity system.

3. Reference Model for Work-Based Learning.

3.1. Concretising work-based learning activity system instruments for implementation in practice.

3.2. First Principles of Instruction.

3.3. First Principles of Instruction extended.

4 Context of the Study: Shell Exploration and Production.

4.1. Shell Exploration and Production Learning and Leadership Development

4.2. Organisational needs for new forms of learning: The EP Learning Strategy.

4.3. Work-based blended learning in Shell EP LLD.

4.4. Technology for learning support at Shell EP LLD.

4.5. Work-based learning in Shell EP LLD as an activity system. 59

5. Investigation and Applications of the First Principles Plus Reference Model at Shell EP LLD

5.1. Methodology for investigating and applying the Reference Model

5.2. Investigations of the local elements of the Reference Model

5.3. Course scan: An instrument to measure the elements of the Reference Model

5.4. Application 1: Support for organisational learning strategy and across-course consistency.

5.5. Application 2: Support for after-action reviews and reflection within a faculty.

5.6. Application 3: Support for course evaluation procedures

5.7. Synthesis and guidelines

5.8. Conceptual reflections

5.9. Next steps: Capturing and sharing good practices in implementation of Reference Model

6. Design and Development of the “Work-based Learning Practices Worth Replication” Digital Repository.

6.1. Design methodology and procedures

6.2. Design, development, and evaluation of the repository: First cycle.

6.3. Design, development, and evaluation of the repository: Second cycle.

6.4. Design, development, and evaluation of the repository: Third cycle.

7. Conclusions.

7.1. Research questions revisited.

7.2. Conceptual contributions

7.3. Contributions to practice.

7.4. Future research.



Appendix 1. Course Analysis Spreadsheet

Appendix 2. Course Scan Instrument

Appendix 3. P-310 course evaluation data.

Appendix 4. Guidelines for implementation of the Reference Model

Appendix 5. WBL-PWR repository, Prototype 3, July 18, 2005.

Appendix 6. Evaluation of the third prototype: Questionnaire.