Open for Learning: Supporting Coach Education and Development



I was hoping to attend the Sport Leadership sportif Conference in Calgary in November.

I was looking forward to presenting a paper with David Legg and Stephen Price. The title of the paper is Open for Learning: Supporting Coach Development Online. Our aim was to combine insights from Australia and Canada to discuss open access to coach education and development resources.

I was very keen to link open learning opportunities with the insights and practices of Canadian connectivist thinkers and practitioners.

I am disappointed that I am unable to go to Calgary.

I have posted my part of the presentation as a SlideCast. I use experience of a Small Open Online Course (SOOC) to introduce Box’Tag as the focus for the paper.

Given the time constraints on an oral presentation, I thought I would provide some background information here as part of the story behind the story.

The story itself is: two remarkable people decide to offer an open, online coach education and development opportunity. They use the OpenLearning platform to host the course.

Mentor, Driver, Steward

I mention Allan Hahn in the presentation.


I was not sure how to talk about Allan’s role in the course. His wisdom, gentility and guiding hand were omnipresent. Allan is an exemplary mentor and has developed a very close working relationship over a number of years with Paul Perkins, the driver of the course.


Allan and Paul are passionate about Box’Tag. They welcomed participants to the course in this video.

Whenever I meet Allan and Paul, I am struck by their energy and excitement. Anything seems possible. I admire immensely their work at the Erindale PCYC and their connections with their communities.

I see this mentor/driver relationship as the key to the success of the course. There is a profound Socratic element at play in this relationship. It has been fascinating observing Paul transform his coaching as a result of his mentee experiences.

As the technology steward for the course and had a very privileged opportunity to watch Allan and Paul at work.

OpenLearning and Accredible

We were very fortunate to use the OpenLearning platform for the course. In the SlideCast, I note the role Adam Brimo played in helping us realise our ambitions for the SOOC. Open access needs champions and advocates. I feel very fortunate to have met Adam. I think the functionality offered by OpenLearning was invitational and easy to use.

Technology did not get in the way of the course.

Whilst acting as a steward on the course, I found Accredible. I admire their work in documenting learning journeys. I see this as a remarkable opportunity to develop e-portfolios to share. Jenny Kim writes:

What we realized was that we’re far more interested in documenting educational journeys from their beginning rather than signaling their ends. Instead of a certificate, we needed a symbol of openness, possibility, potential. This is where “slate” came from; a “blank slate,” from the Latin tabula rasa, is meant to be filled with new ideas and experiences.

Paul has developed his own Accredible slate as a result of his SOOC experiences. You can find it here.

Shortly after I completed the SlideCast I shared it with Paul. By coincidence one of the participants in the course, Sabrina, was asking me to endorse her participation in the course to share with her college. This is Sabrina’s Accredible slate.

As part of her work experience, Sabrina, spent some time at the PCYC and at the end of the week made a presentation of her experiences to Allan Hahn.


I was very pleased to receive a Vocaroo message from Sabrina and Paul. We have used Vocaroo and Audioboo on the SOOC to share messages with these free online recorders.

Their message (included here with their permission):

My reply:

The Kicker?

In sharing this story behind a story, I hope I have given a feel for the richness of being involved in open learning.

There are three Ps involved in this back story: Passion, People, Platforms.

My aim, in presenting this story in Calgary, is to affirm that by sharing openly and fallibly our learning journeys, we can transform coach education and development.

Photo Credit

Calgary, Alberta (Reg Natarajan, CC BY 2.0)



Connecting 131006


Earlier this month, Katherine Schulten asked What might “connected teaching” or “connected learning” — that is, using technology to build communities and share knowledge — look like in practice?

She shares twenty-eight examples of connections in her blog post.

I was thinking about Seth Godin and his Krypton course initiative as I read her post.

The logistics of the Krypton courses include:

  • Every week for four weeks, a course meets.
  • A course is a group of people learning together.
  • You can host each of the four classes of the course in your office, your home or a coffee shop.
  • The ideal size is 6 to 15 people, but you might want to invite a few extra folks as insurance.
  • We call the person who organizes the classes within a course (that’s you) an organizer. No credentials required, other than a generous desire to lead and share.
  • Every four weeks there will be a new course.

#KryptonTuesday shares news of some of these emerging courses.

Given the expertise that is used to facilitate these Krypton courses, I have been thinking even more about ePortfolios as records of participation and engagement. I like the idea of blending physical presence in convivial meetings with reflection and research in a transparent way.

I think the four-week scale of the courses raises some important issues about intensity and learning. Increasingly, I see remarkable opportunities for self-paced and self-directed learning that can be aggregated and shared through tools like Accredible.

I think this leads inevitably to important debates about equivalence with formal award qualifications. I can see the ability to connect and demonstrate this connection having fundamental implications for accreditation processes too.

I hope that the articulation of formal and informal learning opportunities and the transparent sharing of this articulation might be a worthy topic for a Berkman Center for Internet & Society fellowship application.

Photo Credit

Elliot bay: Seattle’s legendary independent bookstore (Nicola, CC BY 2.0)

Guided Learning Pathways

3910865934_538a5fa7a4_oTwo months ago, I wrote about Accredible.

I was interested to learn that Accredible proposed that “a living portfolio of evidence that shows you have certain knowledge or skills”.  I was reminded of the post today when Stephen Downes linked to news from Fujitsu Laboratories and MIT.

Fujitsu and MIT have announced “a first-of-its-kind, revolutionary asynchronous, personalised learning platform – Guided Learning Pathways”.  The platform combines navigation technology with students’ learning behavior simulation based on “an advanced probabilistic learner model”.

Navigation technology will be used to recommend “nuggets” (single, atomistic concepts) for study. Each learner can follow her or his own pathway through the material. The announcement of the partnership between Fujitsu and MIT provided some background to the algorithm approach that will be adopted:

we created a simulation model based on a stochastic, Bayesian Knowledge Tracing algorithm. We also include a topic-graph generator that allows us to generalize across domains and test large-scale systems. Finally, we utilize an implicit rating system for learning materials, in which learning nuggets are not rated by learners directly, and instead their ratings are calculated based on learning outcome of learners. These components’ parameters were set using published field evaluations and give us a general sense of which recommendation algorithms we should test in a deployed system.

Photo Credit

The Path (The Tahoe Guy, CC BY 2.0)