MAVEN Atlas V Launch

A question of such immense and worldwide importance

Reda Sadki Thinking aloud

Scale: Predictions over the impact of climate change and globalization suggest that we will see more frequent disasters in a greater number of countries, along with more civil unrest in those states less able to cope with this rapidly changing environment, all generating a greater demand for humanitarian and development assistance (cf. Walker, P., Russ, C., 2012. Fit for purpose: the role of modern professionalism in evolving the humanitarian endeavour. International Review of the Red Cross 93, 1193–1210.) Complexity: The world’s problems are characterized by volatility, uncertainty, and complexity in a knowledge society. The industry to tackle these growing challenges has expanded rapidly to become increasingly professionalized, with a concentrated number of global players increasingly focused on the professionalization of more than 600,000 paid aid workers and over 17 million volunteers active worldwide in UN agencies, the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, and the main international non governmental organizations (INGOs). …

Lifebuoy soap for health

Sustainability

Reda Sadki Thinking aloud

In a complex, knowledge-driven society, learning, education and training are key to sustainability. Sustainability initiatives need to explicitly make learning strategic in order to succeed in the face of growing challenges. No organization, no sector can do so alone. Professionalization alone is not the answer. Education is failing to prepare humanity for disasters, climate change, globalization or conflicts. Existing partnerships do not address this gap. Attempting to do more of what has been done in the past is not the answer. There are three main reasons why a profit-making enterprise has a shared interest in sustainability: To increase and maintain stability To resolve crises so that business can continue To improve the economy This is what links profit and non-profit sectors. Learning is the unexplored conduit. Photo credit: Under the floorboard

Chicken crossing the road

Panamanian chicken

Reda Sadki Thinking aloud, Travel

Why did the chicken cross the road? Lunch time, after a jet-lagged conference morning. Hand shakes and smiles, mingling Spanish and English. Forks and knives scrape plates as we skewer the plump, roast chicken. Within the first 90 seconds, I am being mandated or tasked to request funding immediately upon returning to headquarters. Before dessert, we are exploring how Caribbean and Asia Pacific island nations could – should – work together on sustainability. There is funding for that, too. Pause. Smile. Eyes light up.  Puckers his lips. Whispers. Confides. “Cross-cutting.” “It’s a magic word,” he bursts out. Say this word and you are skewering the organizational silos. You are cutting through the red tape. You are opening the doors to the world. You are bridging the gap. Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to the other side, of course.

ARM-processor

Four billion

Reda Sadki Global health

A few months ago, a malaria guy showed me the $20 dumb Nokia phones he buys in a Geneva convenience store and then gives out to trainees who then use it to collect data via SMS text messages. ARM says that the US$20 smart phone (read: Android with an ARM chip) will arrive this year. At stake: how to get the next four billion people online. Source: ARM says $20 smartphones coming this year, shows off 64-bit Cortex-A53 and A57 performance. Photo: Fr3d.org/Flickr

There is no spoon

There is no scale

Reda Sadki Thinking aloud

So, you are unhappy with a five percent completion rate. Hire tutors (lots of them, if it is massive). Try to get machines to tutor. Use learners as tutors (never mind the pedagogical affordances, you only care about scale and completion). Set up automated phone calls to remind people to turn in their homework. Ring the (behaviorist) bell. Or not. Google’s Coursebuilder team has an interesting take on completion rates. Let’s start by asking learners what they want to achieve. Then examine their behavior against their own expectations, rather than against fixed criteria. Surprise, surprise: take learner agency into consideration, and it turns out that most folks finish… what they wanted to. Bill Cope has an interesting take on scale. He says: there is no scale. It is not only that face-to-face/online is a false dichotomy. The intimacy of learning can be recreated, irregardless of how many people are learning. …

Château de Divonne

Divonne

Reda Sadki Thinking aloud

Demure, soft-spoken, personable, affable, no-nonsense. All those things, in that peculiarly North American way. Those words don’t do justice to B., the uniquely compelling individual I met for the second time last night in Divonne-les-Bains. To describe him as a living legend in the world of learning and development is accurate, but far from complete. The first time we met, our lunch turned into a nine-hour knee-to-knee exploratory journey of the linkages between corporate learning and the wicked problems of humanitarian education. Reflecting on his insights kept me awake at night. When I finally found sleep, it was only to find myself wrapped in vivid dreams in which the ideas became colors and shapes, many moving parts dancing in complex patterns. B. shared three lessons from a time when he set out on his own, leaving the comfort of an established organization. Lesson #1: Autonomy. Learn that being independent means …

Pipeline

Pipeline

Reda Sadki Learning

“In a knowledge economy, the flow of knowledge is the equivalent of the oil pipe in an industrial economy. Creating, preserving, and utilizing knowledge flow should be a key organizational activity.” – George Siemens, Knowing Knowledge (2006) Photo: Oil Pipeline Pumping Station in rural Nebraska (Shannon Ramos/Flickr)

Complexity & Networks

Know-where

Reda Sadki Thinking aloud

Six months after starting to develop LSi.io, I have 64 ongoing conversations with 150 interlocutors, connecting humanitarian and development learning leaders, Chief Learning Officers and academic researchers. Being independent has given me a unique vantage point from which to examine the humanitarian and development sector’s learning, education and training strategies. I believe that such perspective is indispensable if we are to give more than lip service to “cross-sector” approaches, in an extremely competitive industry faced with shrinking resources (think ECHO budget cuts) and growing needs (think climate change). And I’ve found learning leaders from our world to be a smart, thoughtful and active bunch, finely attuned to the sector’s changing landscape. I’ve also enjoyed profound and promising  discussions with CLOs from the corporate sector. One of the most humble I’ve met manages two large brick-and-mortar campuses, one in Asia and the other in Old Europe, running hundreds of courses and …