Knowledge as Recognition (E-Learning 3.0)

Recognition in Education_could come in the form of evaluations, badges etc. The answer to ‘how do we know hat this person is a qualified doctor?’ is the same as the answer to the question ‘how do we know that this is a tiger?’ In short, assessment is about recognition, about trying to figure out how we know.

knowledge is a type of perception, which we call ‘recognition’, and knowledge serves as the justification for other things, including opinions and beliefs

1st QUESTION_What are we recognizing? Learning success bit also environment/ resources/ facilitators. Assessment and recognition is a total package.

2nd QUESTION_What counts as success? We use test scores, standardized tests etc. but this is unreliable in the long run. Another thing is competencies, but what is a competency? So, this question backfires. And then there is task completion. Was the person able to do what was asked successfully? In informal learning we are not trying to amass a body of knowledge about some content especially in this world where things may change in one week, rather to get something done.

In the assessments of online environments we often fall back on the Kickpatrick Model: Level 1: Reaction, Level 2: Learning, Level 3: Behavior, Level 4: Results (this categorization ranges from satisfaction from the amount of knowledge retained to whether you applied it in the workplace/ whether it actually improved performance in the workplace) and some people add Level 5: Return on investment. A lot of MOOC evaluation is process oriented. Did the person attend all classes? Did the person complete the course?

3rd QUESTION_Who decides? This is where is the original MOOCs challenged the status quo. David Cormier suggests that what counts as success is what you define it to be.

4th QUESTION_How do we know? How do we make the actual evaluation? Is this a private or a public process? How do we communicate that knowledge? That’s the role of the degree.


Two major technical approaches to assessment: competencies and competency frameworks and the badge infrastructure. Neither of these can provide satisfactory answers.

Competencies_Knowledge skills/ abilities and behaviors that contribute to something: individual or organizational performance, successful learning living and working, highly effective performance in a job. 

USA, Advanced Distributed Learning intiative (ADL): Competency and Skills System (CaSS). This is a mechanism for tracking and recording learning activities. There is xAPI that defines how the activity records are created, how they look like and how they are stored in learning record stores for analysis and evaluation. This is kind of neutral in regard to what a competency is; it allows different learning tools to create these records; it is something that can be used in a generic way as part of learning analysis.

Badge_A specific token given to a person in recognition of the satisfaction of the proof as specified in a competency definition. The badge is the symbol of the process of assessing some competence. In a LMS or learning environment the infrastructure is created by a badge API which describes the work flow of the process.  

Badges could be a proxy of what could be a recognition of some sort.

The next generation of learning technology will have some mechanism for generating recognition entities. In grss this generation mechanism is considered as a loose association of three key elements:

  • Modules: it describes the skills intended to be captured by learners, it is a complex entity: knowledge and skills are complex, it has different parts and components (videos, summaries, posts from participants). Knowledge is not a bunch of statements; it is this messy, networky kind of thing that we try to get a handle on.
  • Tasks: it associates the performance required in order to demonstrate comprehension for understanding of the module. it produces an outcome, an artifact of that comprehension
  • Badges: it is the mechanism for bringing the association together, it represents the successful completion of a task.

In an open and distributed network it is allowed and indeed expected that all of these things would be developed by multiple participants. The idea of learning a discipline is not about one person defining all these things, it is all of the community defining these things.

In this kind of course with this understanding of assessment and recognition, knowledge is in the doing itself (meaning is use). The knowledge is created by our performing the tasks (and we are performing the tasks by manipulating or creating new parts of  this overall linked data that constitutes the disciplinary domain in question).

Ultimately we are going to use actual AI based assessment of competency models. The danger is that these automated systems would start confusing incidental characteristics with proficiency. Another danger is that any personal data can be hacked and distributed over the web. Decentralized network technology can help supersede this because it will be the technology itself that will provide trustworthiness.

In the near future, evidence of success will not be a degree, but a job offer (not a career but a short contract).

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