Posts made by Christie Mason

I just wanted to make sure that there was no confusion between comments regarding Java and JavaScript.

All of the WYSIWYG text editors that I've experienced use JavaScript running within the browser/client side to embed links, transfer files, images, CSS etc. Java is a compiled language that has limited popularity running on the web due to its complexity and security issues. Like many companies, I've disabled Java from running from any computers under my control.

For many years I've been watching the growth and direction of LMS and CMS applications. What I've found most interesting is that LMS apps cost many, many times more than CMS apps for less functionality, less usability, difficult to use admin interfaces, and less security. After talking to many LMS vendors over the years, what has remained constant is that SCORM compatibility is the reason for the large difference in pricing. Many times vendors use JavaScript, Java, Flash, and other techniques (such as frames) which are not web accessible best practices to deliver SCORM requirements on the web.

As a web developer, I have a lot of sympathy for Apple's decisions to not support Flash and Java on their devices. From the learning content that I've seen, only about 1-2% actually requires Flash delivery. The rest w/b better, more accessible, delivered as text/images managed by a CMS. For those topics that require Flash, it w/b simple to create an external file and link to it within the CMS.

PS I just had to edit this posting with JavaScript turned on in order to display blank lines between paragraphs because that's what the text editor in use here requires.

Thank you Bonnie for expressing some confusion about the twist in topics towards credentialing. It also confused me.

I have doubts on the value and quality of current models of evaluating formal learning and was a bit distressed to see the attempts to impose those models onto informal learning.

It seems to me that most formal learning models don't allow the learner to evaluate the learning resource, while the usefulness of informal learning resources are constantly evaluated by learners. Learners that don't find an informal resource useful will simply ignore it. That's not an option in formal learning environments.

Perhaps the question should be "How can we apply the methods of evaluating informal learning resources towards improving formal learning models?"

I've been thinking about guilds and how they're similar to educational institutions, especially as I was reading this link and pondering how guilds became absorbed into governmental structure. The intent of both is to restrict participation through rules that are designed to perpetuate their power through offering external symbols of achievement and belonging.

In the educational world those symbolic representations are credentials, certificates, degrees. What is the value of being awarded those symbolic representations to an individual, a commerce entity, society? Does the value exceed the cost of obtaining that symbol of achievement?

I doubt that it would be in any educational entity's self interest to symbolically value informal learning because it calls into question the cost of the formal processes and the value offered by completing that process.

For many years I've wondered why many of the areas that require the most credentials and degrees are some of the lowest paying, with M.B.A.s appearing to be a glaring exception to that theory. I suspect M.B.A.s are an exception because it's not valued for evidence of superior knowledge about business (evidenced by the recent meltdown in M.B.A. lead financial institutions), it's closer to belonging to a guild.


Based on decades of experiences, it appears to me that every time an effective informal process becomes formalized and evaluated, it then becomes restricted, loses power and loses effectiveness.

I think it w/b useful for educators and trainers to define what informal learning processes are used, and why they're used/preferred, only if the intent of the evaluation is to improve formal learning processes.

As soon as you formalize the evaluation of informal learning, it's no longer informal.

Christie Mason

Are we ever going to talk about something besides scheduling SL tours?  I was hoping/expecting this would be a discussion of handling trolls, inviting participation, managing synch and asynch discussions, nurturing communities of interest, differences and sameness between a moderator and a facilitator, differences and samesness between facilitating verbal discussions vs text based, installing forum/conference software, comparisons of open-source/proprietary/ASP(as Application Service Provider, not Active Server Pages) applications, value of posting rating systems, etc & etc.

 Christie Mason