George Siemens writes that although “progress has been made on pulling centralised information elements apart … we haven’t yet developed the technologies that will allow pulling things back together into coherent, personally owned, wholes”. Sure.

He also says that although “activation of latent capacity is the driving element of every successful technology”, many learners find the process that is required to activate this latent capacity (taking control, joining a network, or learners becoming creators) disorienting and uninviting. In our research group we have created a visualisation tool for learners to map out, reflect on, and to share their experience about just these issues (amongst other things), and particularly with their tutors, so that their tutors can respond to the way they learn to cope with these changes in the way learning happens.

And George also writes about the “content fetish is the heart of what is wrong with education. The big shift that needs to be made in education is to shift from knowing content to knowing learners … [we need] a clear profile of what a learner knows. It doesn’t matter where the learner learned things – work, volunteering, hobbies, personal interest, formal schooling, etc. What matters is that learners are aware of what they know and how this is related to the course content/curriculum".

The UK has a surprisingly unheralded, working model for just how this can be done. It’s a variant on APL (accreditation of prior learning), but it is specifically based on self-evidencing and self-mapping learning from any field onto curriculum outcomes. (See: Open Assessment in this wiki).

The next steps would be to make this process a bit more negotiable, open, and emergence-friendly – i.e. to make it possible for learners to self-evidence and self-map their learning against a wider range of curricula. Later (?) this could include negotiating new curricula, against a generic template for academic degrees, but that’s asking a bit much of a very conservative academic administration (in the UK at least) right now.