March 28th, 2012
for those of us comfortable with change, especially change regarding education,
the pace of change is almost bewildering.
Three items of note:The hegemony of the resume may be
over in favor of an online profileRecognition of prior learning, or
prior learning assessment (PLA) is gathering steam. The "Google-izing" of
our culture and expectation of ready evidence. At Wende Garrison's site, Out of Practice, I noticed one of her posts that
was an aha! for me: Portoflios Preferred In Job Hunt? In her
post, she referred to an article at ResumeBear, "Are Resumes Obsolete?"
And in that article, another reference was to an article in the Wall Street Journal in
January. Both articles referred to new online ways that employers are
getting a more authentic profile of job candidates.
However, for me, a source of frustration was to read about companies who ask
candidates to submit a set of links to online evidence for use in their review
process, and to realize these companies had no idea there was such a thing as
an eportfolio. I've talked to two vendors this week who each support the
online employment process in one way or the other. It was clear they both
have a market opportunity.
For us in AAEEBL and in academia, what I think is significant is how much our
culture is evolving in ways that invite the growth of the eportfolio market,
and also, in an important way, how much the knowledge culture is
"training" everyone to expect, expect, evidence of
Recognition of Prior Learning
Prior learning assessment (PLA) is related strongly to the open educational
resources movement OERs). MIT is best known for, but hardly alone in,
providing "Open Courseware." Learners can acquire important
knowledge and abilities from many sources. This is not new, but what is
new is the real possibility that learning outside the academy may now result in
certification and employment.
Last Friday, at the AAEEBL regional conference in Providence, RI, Empire State
College presented on PLA, a world-wide phenomenon. Particularly now when
so many formerly employed people are changing to a new career, PLA has
blossomed. I heard today of an application that supports PLA (more about
that in another blog). I can see PLA, badges, OpenCourseware (and its
kin) all coming together with many other forces to create a path for alternate
credentialing either inside the academy (i.e., self-paced learning) or
Academia is subject to cultural forces as never before. Either it adapts
quickly to what is developing as a "perfect storm" of alternate
credentialing, or it will suffer.
The Google-izing of our Culture
It seems now that many of us are not satisfied to accept, on the face, cliches
or supposed truths or assumptions or unsupported claims. We turn to
Google. "Let's see if that's true or not." I personally
have had to re-learn foundational (but unchallenged) beliefs I've held for
years. Small beliefs, like why leaves change color in the fall.
Since a kind of answer is an instant away, it is now easy to seek evidence for
almost any statement or claim. Google has trained us to expect
This habit of turning to evidence has made us all eportfolio-ready.
Years ago, I wondered if our hype from the 80s, 90s, and 2000s was mere
talk. Suddenly, we have moved so far beyond any hype I could have
imagined, I go around in perpetual astonishment. Seeing such broad swings
in consciousness and expectations and practices at the cultural level alerts us
to look beyond the campus.
We need to stop thinking "education" and start thinking
"learning." Learning is a broader enterprise where, yeah, it is