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)



Narration and Narrative Form

8094090513_c2b1736d7e_o I received a Twitter alert overnight from Darrell Cobner (@CPAUWIC) Darrell and I have been exchanging ideas about performance analysis as story telling and story sharing. (I posted some thoughts about this last week in What Counts?) I was interested to learn that Darrell was sharing some Harold Jarche insights from What’s Working and What’s Not Working in Online Training. Harold points out that “Today, content capture and creation tools let people tell their own stories and weave these together to share in their networks. It’s called ‘narrating your work'”. He adds that:

The public narration of what we do, attempt and learn on a daily basis not only helps us help others, but also puts us in a position to get help from peers. When your co-workers know what you’re working on and what problems you run into, they can offer their experience.

I liked the way Harold explained the flow of sharing through stories and his encouragement of collaboration. I try to monitor opportunities for online collaboration and cooperation. Darrell and Harold set me off thinking about narration and narrative form (I revisited some of the fifty-four posts on Clyde Street with a narrative tag). Back in 1988 Donald Polkinghorne produced the delightful book Narrative Knowing and the Human Sciences. In his preface to the book he observes that “practitioners work with narrative knowledge. They are concerned with people’s stories…” In Chapter Two he notes that “Narrative is the fundamental scheme for linking individual human actions and events into interrelated aspects of an understandable composite.” I think we have remarkable opportunities to develop a digital “understandable composite”. Our sense of the aesthetic enables each of us to share a narration in a narrative form. I wondered if in response to Darrell, I might nominate seven tools to support the public sharing that Harold identifies as an important component of a community of practice.

I think each one of these tools has enormous potential for the narration discussed by Darrell and Harold. The choice is personal and enables each of us to have our narrative form.


As I was compiling the list I was think how our narration might be acknowledged by our communities of practice. In addition to the collaboration Harold identifies as important in these communities, I started to think about how a tool like Accredible might make this narration even more transparent by finding a way of peer valuing of experience.

Photo Credit

Henry Cabot Lodge speaking (Boston Public Library, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Personalising Performance Observations

2587165483_e0e271eb13_oSome of my personal learning network contacts have started me off re-thinking performance observations and re-view.

Michael Hussey’s cricket bag has helped clarify my thoughts!

Earlier this morning, I was following up on a discussion (Is Performance Analysis drowning in raw, useless data?) that has been running for some time in the Performance Analysis in Sport Group on LinkedIn. Despite the discussion running over the Christmas and New Year holiday there has been a vibrant exchange of views. Two days ago I was introduced to geographic choropleths in the exchange between Mark Upton, Chris Carling and Russ Shopland.

Concurrent with this reading I received an alert to a taster for Richard Hill’s Whackademia. In it, Richard writes:

For one performance review, I received a report that bore little resemblance to my own appraisal. So incongruent was its assessment of the quality of my work that I thought I had been sent the wrong review. As I glanced through the error-strewn missive, I was astonished by the ability of the author to conjure such a fictional narrative from so poorly informed points of history: innuendo, gossip, circumstantial evidence, gross inaccuracies, simple untruths and other cosmic distortions littered the document. I was confronted by invective masquerading as objective assessment. I stared at the offending document more in amazement than disbelief, but worried about how I might begin to extract myself from this hornet’s nest. I was gripped by a sense of impending doom, as if I were about to be hauled off to the Tower and my head impaled on a spike.

Elsewhere, Richard observes (about university performance review):

performance reviews in all their manifestations are probably here to stay: the struggle now is to try to ensure some equity and equilibrium is built into the system. … By and large, however, the current system of review is very much grounded in a hierarchical structure which rests on aspects of organisational life that are simply unavoidable: personal fads and foibles, and subjective preferences and judgments.

7136210011_bb45983ab9_bI think I am particularly sensitive to these ideas at the moment. One of my recent performance reviews led to me to think about the Michael Leunig’s poem The Horse I Backed which has the delightful concluding line “The horse I backed took a different course”.

I have been thinking about the New York Times’ Snow Fall too. This has disturbed me in the way reading Edward Tufte in the 1990s did. I think there is a new standard set for visualisation and narrative in the Snow Fall project.

Michael Hussey’s cricket bag? Listening to Michael Hussey about how he packs his bag and what it contains encouraged me to think about the tool kit I use for performance re-view and feedforward. I have been looking at voice options (Vocaroo), screencasting (Camtasia 2) and notes (Evernote) in the last few days. I have looked at Blubbr too. I have been thinking a lot about responsive design after the reformatting of Clyde Street. I enjoyed my exchange with Mark Upton about the flipped characteristics of this personalisation.

2013 is going to be a remarkable learning year for me in addressing personalisation issues. Given the quality of the discussion on LinkedIn I am wondering if the next step is to encourage a community of practice to share its attempts to personalise performance re-view. At present I am thinking that Drupal might be a perfect platform for this sharing.

Photo Credits

Heirloom Leica (Earthworm, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Horse race (Boston Public Library, CC BY_NC-ND 2.0)