Start your journey: introduces Learning Paths to help you stay ahead — from


We all know that the knowledge and skills required to be successful in our jobs today is accelerating. This rate of change challenges all of us to stay ahead in our roles and sets a high bar for those looking to start or change their careers. Today we are introducing more than 50 new learning paths to help you stay ahead in your current job or if you’re looking to make a career pivot.




Learning paths are step-by-step structured courses, supported with quizzes, practice, and learning reminders to encourage you and support you as you make progress towards your goal. These new learning paths include how to become a Web Developer, a Manager, a Bookkeeper, a Project Manager, a Small Business Owner, a Digital Marketer, a Digital Illustrator. Check out the full list here.

Learning paths are also a great way to continue expanding on your existing skill set. If you’re embarking on a new career, you can take advantage of these learning paths to become more knowledgeable about the skills and experience needed to secure your dream job. If  you’re a marketing manager who needs to quickly get up to speed on how to leverage social media for your job, you could take the digital marketing learning path to continue grooming and adding new skills.

We know that making the commitment to learn is incredibly tough; sticking with it can be even harder. To ensure your hard work gets noticed,  you’ll receive a certification of completion at the end of a learning path that you can share with your professional network on LinkedIn. Whether you’re looking to transform your current career path, jump into a new career, or sharpen your skills in your current job, can be your guide.

These new learning paths will be available starting today in English around the world and we are working towards adding new paths for you to take. We look forward to hearing about your learning path stories.



Also see:

LinkedIn launches ‘Learning Paths’ in push to grow education business — from by Kathleen Chaykowski


On Thursday, the Mountain View, Calif.-based company launched more than 50 “Learning Paths,” a package of ordered courses intended to prepare users for a specific role or to update users’ skills for their current job. Some of the new “Learning Paths” include how to become a digital marketer, photographer, digital illustrator, small business owner, project manager, bookkeeper or web developer.

“Whether you’re looking to transform your current career path, jump into a new career, or sharpen your skills in your current job, can be your guide,” Arthur Nicholls, a senior product manager at LinkedIn said. ”We all know that the knowledge and skills required to be successful in our jobs today is accelerating. This rate of change challenges all of us to stay ahead in our roles and sets a high bar for those looking to start or change their careers.”



Fuller profiles on candidates’ skills and qualifications will also advance LinkedIn’s efforts in building an economic graph, a digital map of the skills, economic needs, jobs, companies and people around the world.




Could Slack be the next online learning platform? — from by Amy Ahearn


Enter Slack. The online communication platform launched two years ago and now has more than 2.3 million users. It facilitates an online, supercharged version of watercooler conversation, enabling people to trade information and chat informally with colleagues. And it might just be a game changer for online education.

On Slack there are flexible public channels, along with small private groups for exchanges between just a few people. Media companies including the New York Times are using it as a content management system, and corporations from Walmart to Blue Bottle Coffee rely on it to keep globally distributed teams in sync.


At +Acumen we were intrigued when marketing guru Seth Godin used Slack for an experiment in online learning. In 2014 he started altMBA, an online leadership workshop, and hosted it in Slack.



Also see:






Top business schools want MBAs to monetize AI — from by Dyllan Furness


From Silicon Valley to South Korea, artificial intelligence has been one of the hottest tech topics of the year. In fact, 2016 was meant to be “the year that virtual reality becomes reality”, and yet AI seems to be dominating the discussion. Now, top business schools around the world – from University of California, Berkeley to National University of Singapore – are turning to AI to help bolster their programs and train MBA students to apply machine learning processes to business problems.

Business Because reports that the MBA program at HEC Paris in France turned to Watson’s computing power to see how business practices could use the technology to explore revenue-generating opportunities. “The objective was to integrate Watson with business applications,” said Benoit Banchereau who directs HEC Paris’s business school development.

Hult International Business School is another elite program that sought to monetize Watson’s cognitive computing power for the betterment of business. MBA students at Hult International were asked to define and investigate ways to use AI technology to “create revenue generating business opportunities.”


Also see:



SMU’s pioneering pedagogy, SMU-X, recognised globally for innovation, creativity and impact — from by


SMU launched the SMU-X initiative in 2015 following three-and-a-half years of study and conceptualisation.  Through SMU-X, the University introduced across all its six Schools innovative and fresh curriculum that is multi-disciplinary and hands-on, and also created unconventional, flexible spaces for 24/7 use that meet the usage patterns and behaviours of the millennial student.

Four key principles characterise all SMU-X courses:

(i) inter-disciplinary content and activities;
(ii) experiential learning via an actual problem/issue faced by an organisation;
(iii) active student-mentoring by faculty and industry; and
(iv) three-way learning by faculty, student and partner organisation, in the form of a tripartite sharing forum at the end of the course.









EdTech: These four b-schools are exploring virtual reality with Oculus, Google, Samsung — from by Seb Murray
Elite schools place bets on next big innovation in online learning


The immersive potential of virtual reality has Silicon Valley’s finest pouring vast sums of money into headsets and other whizzy innovations.

Google, Apple and Samsung are betting that these sci-fi concepts will become a staple of everyday life, with potential uses in gaming, advertising, marketing and increasingly, education.

The hype surrounding VR and the more complex augmented reality, is not lost on universities and business schools, who are eyeing its early pioneers and conducting secretive trials of head-mounted VR displays.

Four of the world’s top-ranked schools have told BusinessBecause they are exploring VR in tie-ups with Oculus, Samsung, and Google, as they place bets on the next big innovation in online learning.



From DSC:
Big data is a big theme these days — in a variety of industries. Higher ed is no exception, where several vendors continue to develop products that hope to harness the power of big data (and to hopefully apply the lessons learned in a variety of areas, including retention).

However as an Instructional Designer, when I think of capturing and using data in the context of higher education, I’m not thinking about institutional type of data mining and the corresponding dashboards that might be involved therein.  I’m thinking of something far more granular — something that resembles a tool for an individual professor to use.

I’m thinking more about individual students and their learning.  I’m thinking about this topic in terms of providing additional information for a faculty member to use to gauge the learning within his or her particular classes — and to be able to highlight issues for them to address.

So, for example, when I’m thinking about how a mathematics professor might obtain and use data, I’m thinking of things like:

  • How did each individual do on this particular math problem?
  • Who got it right? Who got it wrong?
  • What percentage of the class got it right? What percentage of the class got it wrong?
  • For those who got the problem wrong, where in the multi-step process did they go wrong?

So perhaps even if we’re only obtaining students’ final answers — whether that be via clickers, smartphones, laptops, and/or tablets — data is still being created. Data that can then be analyzed and used to steer the learning.  This type of information can then help the mathematics professor follow up accordingly — either with some individuals or with the entire class if he/she saw many students struggling with a new concept.

Such data gathering can get even more granular if one is using elearning types of materials.  Here, the developers can measure and track things like mouse clicks, paths taken, and more.  So like the approaching Internet of Things, data can get produced on a massive scale.

But very few mathematics professors have the time to:

  • manually track X/Y/or Z per student 
  • manually capture how an entire class just did on a math problem
  • manually document where each student who got a problem incorrect went wrong

So in the way that I’m thinking about this topic, this entire push/idea of using data and analytics in education requires things to happen digitally — where results can automatically be stored without requiring any manual efforts on the part of the professor.

The ramifications of this are enormous.

That is, the push to use analytics in education — at least at the personalized learning level that I’m thinking of — really represents and actually requires a push towards using blended and/or online-based learning.  Using strictly 100% face-to-face based classrooms and environments — without any digital components involved — won’t cut it if we want to harness the power of analytics/data mining to improve student learning.

Though this may seem somewhat obvious, again, the ramifications are huge for how faculty members structure their courses and what tools/methods that they choose to utilize.  But this goes way beyond the professor.  It also has enormous implications for those departments and teams who are working on creating/revising learning spaces — especially in terms of the infrastructures such spaces offer and what tools might be available within them.  It affects decision makers all the way up to the board-level as well (who may not be used to something other than a face-to-face setting…something they recall from their own college days).

What do you think? Are you and/or your institution using big data and analytics? If so, how?



Also see:

Big data and higher education: These apps change everything — from


Big Data is going to college. The companies on this list have been developing innovative higher education analytics apps. Universities are realizing the importance of harnessing Big Data for the purposes of helping students to succeed, helping instructors to know what students still need to learn, analyzing efficiency in all areas, boosting enrollment, and more.

For example, CourseSmart embeds analytics directly into digital textbooks. These analytics provide an “engagement index score,” which measures how much students are interacting with their eTextbooks (viewing pages, highlighting, writing notes, etc.). Researchers have found that that the engagement index score helps instructors to accurately predict student outcomes more than traditional measurement methods, such as class participation.

In addition, there are dashboards that enable Big Data analytics and visualization for the purpose of monitoring higher education KPIs such as enrollment, accreditation, effectiveness, research, financial information, and metrics by class and by department. Read on to find out about the companies that are shaping Big Data analytics in higher education.



How five edtech start-ups are using big data to boost business education — from by Seb Murray
MOOC platforms explore analytics with b-school partners


“Data is an amazing resource for teachers, who glean detailed feedback on how learners are processing information,” says Julia Stiglitz, director of business development at Coursera, the online learning site with 17 million users.

Coursera, which works with the b-schools IE, Yale and Duke Fuqua, offers a dashboard that gives teachers insight into when students are most likely to stop watching a video, and the percentage who answer assessment questions correctly the first time around.

“By carefully assessing course data, from mouse clicks to time spent on tasks to evaluating how students respond to various assessments, researchers hope to shed light on how learners access information and master materials,” says Nancy Moss, edX’s director of communications.



Meet the 2015 CNBC Disruptor 50 companies — from


In the third annual Disruptor 50 list, CNBC features private companies in 16 industries—from aerospace to financial services to cybersecurity to retail—whose innovations are revolutionizing the business landscape. These forward-thinking upstarts have identified unexploited niches in the marketplace that have the potential to become billion-dollar businesses, and they rushed to fill them.

Here are the first 10:

1 Moderna Therapeutics Reprogramming cells to fight disease.
2 SpaceX Elon Musk’s mission to Mars.
3 Bloom Energy Live off the grid; keep the lights on.
4 Uber A $50 billion on-demand ride.
5 Airbnb The newest idea in room service: Renting one.
6 Dropbox Saving a billion files every day.
7 Palantir Tech Helped find Bin Laden. Don’t like to talk about it.
8 TransferWise Getting bankers out of the forex biz.
9 Slack Giving “slacker” a whole new meaning.
10 Warby Parker Taking on the Luxottica eyewear machine.

World’s first open online MBA to be launched by MOOC platform Coursera — from by Seb Murray
The world’s first open digital MBA degree will be launched in a tie-up between Mooc maker Coursera and US b-school the University of Illinois.


The world’s first open online MBA will launch in 2015 after a landmark decision from a top business school which is expected to pave the way for further digitization of the business degree and disrupt an already shaken education market.

The University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign College of Business has received the seal of approval from its senate to launch the “iMBA”, in collaboration with Coursera, the $300 million-plus Silicon Valley start-up that produces MOOCs and has amassed nearly 13 million users.


Also see:

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign plans to start a low-cost online M.B.A. program in partnership with Coursera, the Silicon Valley-based MOOC provider, hoping to meet its land-grant mission of improving access and also to create a new stream of revenue at a time of shrinking state support for higher education.

Students enrolling in the new online master’s program, dubbed the iMBA, could complete the entire degree for about $20,000 — far less than the approximately $50,000 for the on-campus version or the $100,000 for the university’s executive M.B.A.


Assignment #1:
Review the opinion/posting out at entitled,
Opinion: How the stock market destroyed the middle class” by Rex Nutting and make a listing of the items you believe he is right on the mark on and another listing of items you believe he is mistaken about. Then answer the following questions:

  • What data or other types of support can you find to backup your lists and perspectives? 
  • What data or other types of support does he bring to the table?
  • What are the potential ramifications of this topic (on career development/livelihoods, policy, business practices, business ethics, families, society, innovation, other)?
  • If companies aren’t investing in their employees as much, what advice would you give to existing employees within the corporate world?  To your peers in your colleges and universities or to your peers within your MBA programs?
  • Has the middle class decreased in size since the early 1980’s? What are some of the other factors involved here? Is this situation currently impacting families across the nation and if so, how?


“The ‘buyback corporation’ is in large part responsible for a national economy characterized by income inequality, employment instability, and diminished innovative capacity,” wrote William Lazonick, an economics professor at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell in a new paper published by the Brookings Institution.

Lazonick argues that corporations — which once retained a sizable share of profits to reinvest (including investing in their workforce by paying them enough to get them to stay) — have adopted a “downsize-and-distribute” model.

It’s not just lefty academics and pundits who think buybacks are ruining America. Last week, the CEOs of America’s 500 biggest companies received a letter from Lawrence Fink, CEO of BlackRock BLK, +0.46% the largest asset manager in the world, saying exactly the same thing.

“The effects of the short-termist phenomenon are troubling both to those seeking to save for long-term goals such as retirement and for our broader economy,” Fink wrote, adding that favoring shareholders comes at the expense of investing in “innovation, skilled work forces or essential capital expenditures necessary to sustain long-term growth.”


Also see:


Assignment #2:
Review the current information out at and answer the following questions:

  • What does the $18.2+ trillion (as of 4/24/15) U.S. National Debt affect?
  • What level of debt is acceptable for a nation?
  • What does that level of debt depend upon?
  • Which of the pieces of information below have the most impact on future interest rates?  Do we even know that or is that crystal balling it?
  • Do the C-Suites at major companies look at this information? If so, what pieces of this information do they focus in on?
  • Are there potential implications for inflation or items related to the financial stability of the banking systems throughout the globe?
  • Are there any other ramifications of this information that you can think of?
  • What might you focus in on if you were addressing the masses (i.e., all U.S. citizens)?
  • Should politicians be aware of these #’s? If so, what might their concerns be for their constituents? For their local economies?






Extra Credit Questions:
Now let’s bring it closer to home. Do you have some student loans that are contributing to the Student Loan Debt figure of $1.3+trillion (as of 4/24/15)?  Do you see such loans impacting you in the future? If so, how?






Automated, creative & dispersed: The future of work in the 21st century — from The Economist



Date Published:
May 20th 2015



The key findings are as follows:

  • In the next decade-and-a-half, digital technology will dissolve the concept of work as we know it.
  • The growing use and sophistication of automation will shift the emphasis of human employment towards creativity and social skills.
  • This new reality of work will require a new, more nurturing approach to management.


About the research
Executive summary
Your workplace is… everywhere
The hospital of the future
Creative and social skills will dominate the automated world
The bank of the future
Well-being and employee development top the management agenda
The university of the future
The government of the future
Appendix: Survey results



This requires university workers to develop new skills, she says. Ms Shutt predicts that in the future lecturers will be encouraging more of their students to take work placements or even launch their own start-ups, and developing relationships that give industry a greater input
into the direction of research. “We need to develop skills in interaction with business and in preparing students for the work world.”






Harvard B-school opens the flood gates with online courses — from by John A. Byrne; with thanks to EduWire for the resource
The school is opening up its online education program—based on case studies and videos—to applicants worldwide, including adult learners.


(Poets&Quants) — After a pair of highly successful pilot runs, Harvard Business School is now opening its online program in business basics to students worldwide. The school is also inviting admitted MBA students to enroll in the program as a pre-MBA boot camp experience, particularly for non-traditional admits or those who need more basic quantitative work before showing up on campus.


Following up on yesterday’s posting, History Channel bringing online courses to higher ed, I wanted to thank Mr. Rob Kingyens, President at Qubed Education, for alerting me to some related work that Qubed Education is doing. Below is an example of that work:

The University of Southern California, Condé Nast and WIRED launch Master of Integrated Design, Business and Technology — from
New Learning Model Combines Network and Access of WIRED with Academic Strength and Vision of the USC Roski School of Art and Design

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

MARIN, Calif., October 1, 2014 – The University of Southern California, Condé Nast and WIRED today announced a partnership to create a new online Master’s degree in Integrated Design, Business and Technology. The partnership creates an unprecedented learning experience, combining the expertise of the editors, writers, and designers at WIRED with the academic rigor of USC, a leading research university known for its pioneering interdisciplinary programs. The aim of the 18-24 month degree is to educate creative thinkers and technologists to better equip them to transform the world of industry and enterprise. The first cohort is scheduled to begin in the 2015-2016 academic year.

“The pace of technology development requires higher education to continue to respond with programs that are flexible and adaptable, and that meet the needs of future cultural and business leaders,” said Dean Muhl.

“We’ve been thinking for years about what a university curriculum with WIRED would look like, and now we have a chance to build it with a terrific partner,” said Dadich. “Taking the best from USC and WIRED, we can teach discipline and disruption, business fundamentals, and the very latest innovation models from Silicon Valley. This is going to be thrilling.”

USC’s program development and build out will be powered by higher education partners Synergis Education and Qubed Education.


From Qubed’s website:

Qubed is the gateway for world-class, global brands to enter the education market with top tier universities.


From DSC:
I’ve long wondered if institutions of higher education will need to pool resources and/or form more partnerships and collaborations — either with other universities/colleges or with organizations outside of higher education. This reflection grows stronger for me when I:

  • Think that team-based content creation and delivery is pulling ahead of the pack
  • Hear about the financial situations of many institutions of higher education today (example1; example2)
  • See the momentum building up behind Competency Based Education (CBE)
  • Witness the growth of alternatives like Ideo Futures, Yieldr Academy, Lessons Go Where, ClassDo, Udemy, C-Suite and others
  • Hear about the potential advantages of learning analytics
  • See the pace of change accelerating — challenging higher education to keep up

For some institution(s) of higher education out there with deep pockets and a strong reputation, I could see them partnering up with an IBM (Watson), Google (Deepmind), Apple (Siri), Amazon (Echo), or Microsoft (Cortana) to create some next generation learning platforms. In fact, this is one of the areas I see occurring as lifelong learning/self-directed learning opportunities hit our living rooms. The underlying technologies these companies are working on could be powerful allies in the way people learn in the future — doing some heavy lifting to build the foundations in a variety of disciplines, and leaving the higher-order learning and the addressing of gaps to professors, teachers, trainers, and others.




Ed-Tech advances poised to revolutionize higher ed from all angles — from by Michael Horn


There’s a flip side to unbundling, however, that receives far less attention. As a service’s architecture becomes modular, its performance becomes determined by the raw performance of its subcomponents, which consequently become interdependent — or re-bundled — as the entities making these subcomponents need to wring every ounce of performance out of them. In other words, as one stage becomes modular, an adjacent stage becomes interdependent.

In education, as elements such as content become unbundled, there will exist a need for subcomponents that bundle together — coaching, mentoring, communities, personal learning plans and employer connections, for example, as these areas are critical for student success, but the ways in which they fit together are not yet well enough understood such that there can be clear standards at their various interfaces. Standalone, modular solutions in these areas will struggle to succeed. Creating standards at their interfaces before we know what the standards should be will similarly suffer.
Similarly, too few are thinking about how to help students make sense of and navigate this emerging, unbundled world and integrate the modular pieces together in ways that help them carve out a coherent and sensible life path. This is critical because it appears that in a personalized learning future, every single learner will have a custom-fit educational pathway.


Bundling and Re-bundling — from by George Siemens


There are a few things wrong with the idea of unbundling in education:

1. Unbundling is different in social systems than it is in a content only system. An album can be unbundled without much loss. Sure, albums like The Wall don’t unbundle well, but those are exceptions. Unbundling a social system has ripple effects that cannot always be anticipated. The parts of a social system are less than the whole of a social system. Unbundling, while possible in higher education, is not a zero sum game. The pieces on the board that get rearranged will have a real impact on learners, society, and universities.

2. When unbundling happens, it is only temporary. Unbundling leads to rebundling. And digital rebundling results in less players and less competition. What unbundling represents then is a power shift. Universities are today an integrated network of products and services. Many universities have started to work with partners like Pearson (ASU is among the most prominent) to expand capacity that is not evident in their existing system.
Rebundling is what happens when the pieces that are created as a sector moves online become reintegrated into a new network model. It is most fundamentally a power shift. The current integrated higher education system is being pulled apart by a range of companies and startups. Currently the university is in the drivers seat. Eventually, the unbundled pieces will be integrated into a new network model that has a new power structure. For entrepreneurs, the goal appears to be to become part of a small number of big winners like Netflix or Google. When Sebastian Thrun stated that Udacity would be one of only 10 universities in the future, he was exhibiting the mentality that has existed in other sectors that have unbundled. Unbundling is not the real story: the real issue is the rebundling and how power structures are re-architected. Going forward, rebundling will remove the university from the drivers seat and place the control into the re-integrated networks.









Addendum on 9/17/14:
Ed tech’s next wave rolls into view — from by Roger Novak


If the second wave was about the unbundling of colleges and providing learning as a service, the third wave of companies will be involved in reassembling educational component pieces from various sources to help make students’ learning portfolios more meaningful to both individuals and employers. While we are starting to see colleges taking similar steps to become more student-centered, private-sector companies can act nimbly to fill gaps and create new technologies to help accomplish these goals.


Does Studying Fine Art = Unemployment? Introducing LinkedIn’s Field of Study Explorer — from by Kathy Hwang


[On July 28, 2014], we are pleased to announce a new product – Field of Study Explorer – designed to help students like Candice explore the wide range of careers LinkedIn members have pursued based on what they studied in school.

So let’s explore the validity of this assumption: studying fine art = unemployment by looking at the careers of members who studied Fine & Studio Arts at Universities around the world. Are they all starving artists who live in their parents’ basements?






Also see:

The New Rankings? — from by Charlie Tyson


Who majored in Slovak language and literature? At least 14 IBM employees, according to LinkedIn.

Late last month LinkedIn unveiled a “field of study explorer.” Enter a field of study – even one as obscure in the U.S. as Slovak – and you’ll see which companies Slovak majors on LinkedIn work for, which fields they work in and where they went to college. You can also search by college, by industry and by location. You can winnow down, if you desire, to find the employee who majored in Slovak at the Open University and worked in Britain after graduation.



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