Tag Archives: lifelong learning

Brentwood Community Print

I have been volunteering with Brentwood Community Print, working to advise Paul, their web developer, as he created a first web-site for them. First and foremost the company is a print shop serving the Brentwood area – they are quick, friendly and competitive – I ordered and got 250 business cards inside an hour. I recommend them without reservation.

Secondly, they offer a place for people recovering from mental illness, providing a challenging, supportive and happy context to build confidence and meaningful work to develop skills. I have really enjoyed my time helping Paul and getting to this point has been Paul’s success. It was particularly rewarding today watching him complete ‘job 1’ – a published web-site. Everyone pitched in with proof-reading, critical feedback and ideas for improvement, some of which will provide tasks for ‘job 2’, the next stage in what is an unending series of revisions to keep the web-site dynamic and increase its quality.

Well done Paul and all the team!

 

Quality & delight for business & learning

W Edwards Deming

Knowing my interest in delight in learning, colleague Derek Wenmoth pointed me to a post on Steve Denning’s blog, from which Derek quoted this:

“…management in the 20th Century was about achieving a finite goal: delivering goods and services, to make money. Management in the 21st Century by contrast is about the infinite goal of delighting customers; the firm makes money, yes, but as a consequence of the delight that it creates for customers, not as the goal.”

This reminded me of the way delight was discussed by W Edwards Deming:

“It will not suffice to have customers who are merely satisfied.” I would add, “They must be delighted.”

Deming was credited by the Japanese as being a major force in their rise to world economic power in the second half of the 20th Century, so Steve’s view that this is a 21st Century idea is a little late, although perhaps a reasonable observation about many western businesses.

Nevertheless it is good that Steve is promoting this and it is a short step from Deming’s assertion to say, as I would:

“It will not suffice to have learners who are merely attaining targets.” I would add, “They must be delighted.”

In Deming’s case, the policy of delighting customers leads to them spreading the word and returning to purchase more from your business, which sustains it. In my case, it is ensuring learners remain lifelong learners, whatever their attainment at any stage.

Mostly, it is those who attain highest who are delighted in learning, which is not to imply cause and effect, simply to observe these can go hand in hand. But this minority success does not sustain and develop the global community nearly so well as having everyone continuing to learn throughout their lives, because they delight in learning, no matter what their early attainment level may be.

And that is without even starting on the moral case for delight….

PhD / Masters opportunities with University of Bolton

I have been working part-time in the Institute for Educational Cybernetics (IEC) at the University of Bolton for the last two years, after seventeen years at Ultralab.

IEC houses three major projects:
•    the JISC Innovation Support Centre for Educational Technology & Interoperability Studies (CETIS);
•    the Inter-Disciplinary Inquiry-Based Learning project creating innovative higher degree frameworks (IDIBL);
•    the TenCompetence European research project developing a lifelong competence development infrastructure for Europe;

I work on the IDIBL project with Stephen Powell and Mark Johnson – an enormous pleasure to refine and improve the Ultraversity model we created in Ultralab at Anglia Ruskin University in 2003 and which is still running. The model is of work-focussed action inquiry as a means to learning, supported by colleagues, online community, facilitators and experts.

After IEC’s success in the recent Research Assessment Exercise, we are able to ramp up our activity in this area and are looking to extend our research group in IEC to focus on the following topics:
•    systematic institutional transformation;
•    organisational improvement;
•    inquiry-based learning;
•    learning with technology;
•    interoperability and standards;
•    learning design;
•    assessment and portfolios;
•    lifelong competencies.

Key features of the learning experience for new members of the research group are:
•    improvement in current work context as the focus for study which enables work full time and study full time;
•    completion of Masters in 15 months, PhD in three years;
•    study online with no need for attendance;
•    learning together as an online community with access to IEC experts;
•    assessment to fit creative and work expertise.

A competitive bursary scheme for PhD will help lower the costs for successful applicants.
If you feel that you fit the bill, then we would be delighted to  to discuss further – mail me at r.millwood [at] bolton.ac.uk or call me on +44 779 055 8641

A University for Improvement

IDIBL logo

Almost five years to the day that Ultraversity was validated at Anglia Ruskin University, we have received conditional approval for a new scheme based on the same philosophies of learner-centred, work-focussed, community-supported, action-inquiry and innovative assessment.

This IDIBL course framework validated at the University of Bolton is more ambitious in scope, more refined in character and draws fresh inspiration from the organisational thinking from its home in the Institute for Educational Cybernetics.

We can now begin to recruit in earnest for a Masters course in ‘Learning with Technology’ and follow it up with further courses in Regeneration & Sustainable Communities, Chronic Healthcare and other societal thematic problems which need active and vibrant attention.

In each case the proposals will be relatively cost-effective to approve by basing their pedagogy and organisation on our IDIBL framework:IDIBL framework

Lifelong learning

Ultraversity graduates in conversation

In my spare time :), I am transcribing the interviews with Ultraversity graduates at the graduation ceremony in Chelmsford on November 24th 2006. Greta has done the mass of the transcribing, I am editing and very nearly finished.

It is compelling stuff:

“I just could never envisage myself here, with the degree because I always thought I wasn’t an academic”

“that is right”

“because the books didn’t mean much to me but actually reading and putting everything into work experience”

“it came alive to me. Is that what happened to you?”

“It did to me. And I think the main, the one other thing that really helped me when I was working with Ultraversity”

“was the learning journal, logging everything down and every experience”

“I still do that, do you? Do you still do that?”

“Yes, I do. It is very hard to get out of the habit and I think it is a good learning curve”

“to be able to have that and to be able to refer back, whether it’s written or whether it’s tapes or whatever. You got it there.”

“And it is a great evidence as well, isn’t it for everything you do: in workplace, home learning”

“That is right.”

These kind of remarks make me very very proud of our endeavours over the last three years.