FD2: Distributed Learning Technologies and Next Generation E-Learning


Stephen Downes, National Research Council Canada, Canada

Room: Daloa


This workshop will give participants a map of the next-generation learning technology landscape. It will show how the major developments in new technologies relate to each other and how they will change the learning landscape over the next decade or more. It will offer an accessible and down-to-earth presentation of the concept of 'web3' as it has emerged from the decentralized digital currently community (ie., blockchain) and trace the relation between new and unfamiliar concepts such as hash-graphs, consensus, cloud architecture and machine learning and previous work in online and personal learning environments. And it will explore several new technologies piloted over the last year, including blockchain-based badges, identity graphs, and new types of open educational resources.


09:00 – 10:30

Data and Cloud

  • Content: developing an understanding of dynamic and fluid data networks, how to access open data, and how to work with data in cloud-based resources.
  • Hands-on activities: creation and consumption of RSS feeds, and access to and use of open data; exploration of a cloud environment.

10:30 – 11:00

Tea/Coffee Break

11:00 – 13:00

Graph and Resources

  • Content: new types of graph-based resources, including distributed knowledge networks.
  • Hands-on activities: experience developing graphs, use of distributed resources such as Jupyter Notebooks, and exploration of graph-based content repositories.

13:00 – 14:00


14:00 – 15:30

Identity and Recognition

  • Content: how we know who someone is, how we project ourselves on the internet, and how we can be safe and secure; how we know what someone has learned.
  • Hands-on activities: in this section include the creation of 'identity graphs', creation of public and private keys, and creation of digital credentials, including securing them with blockchain.

15:30 – 16:00

Tea/Coffee Break

16:00 – 17:30

Experience, Community and Agency

  • Content: how to enable learning experiences based on hands-on practice and knowledge creation sufficient to support a rapidly evolving sense of community based on information exchange and consensus.
  • Hands-on activities: an exploration of immersive learning and a consensus-based decision-making activity.



  • Academic or workplace learning managers and professionals, including especially those involved in strategic planning for learning and development programs.
  • Designers and developers of learning systems, including especially instructional designers, software designers, and learning experience designers.


Workplace learning, education research, public sector and government.


How to use a computer, access the internet, use a web browser; a background understanding of learning technology (such as learning management services, mailing lists, etc.) would be helpful.


Participants will:

  • have a wider understanding of how new technologies, and therefore be able to plan for these changes as they impact learning and development in their own institution;
  • be able to make decisions about whether or not to implement new technologies, or to purchase products or solutions, based on a knowledge of the problems addressed and solutions proposed by the technologies;
  • be able to plan for and develop new products and services based on the nature of the network services becoming available during the next decade;
  • be able to maximize the use of new technologies being introduced in order to improve and ensure the quality of learning and development initiatives.


African participants who are not working for international organisations or global corporations may register for €60, all other participants may  register for €75. This full day event includes lunch, tea/coffee breaks and materials.


Participants are encouraged to bring their own laptops or tablets.


To register for this event, please go to the Registration Page and scroll down until the CONFERENCE PARTICIPATION section where you should select the appropriate option. Further down, under PRE-CONFERENCE EVENTS, please select the workshop(s) you wish to attend. Don't forget to submit your registration by clicking the Submit Registration button at the bottom of the form. We will send you a confirmation e-mail once your request has been processed.