Finding places for dashboards

Dashboards in higher ed will make it possible for most learning to occur among peers. The labor cost will plummet as the work gets done by those currently considered to be unqualified. There will be almost no "covering the material" or "studying a textbook". The learning will be driven by individual interests arising from each person's recent experiences, explorations and contributions to others' learning. For a system like this to work, each learner needs a dashboard to keep track of their own and others' interests. Dashboards cannot become a universal solution. They don't function for the immediate interests in what I've been calling bad and better places. The design and use of dashboards needs to find where they function effectively. Here's how I've gone looking and found two places.

In any bad place, there are chains of pain. The executive yells at the manager who chews out the direct report who goes home to criticize his/her spouse who screams at their child who whips the dog that attacks the cat that devours a bird. There's no need for a dashboard in chains of pain. All participants are too upset to show an interest in other interests or to see their situation comprehensively. Everyone simply acts out how they were made to feel through their linkage in the chain of pain so the next in line feels the same way. Misery loves company.

In a better place, there are chains of command. The exercise of authority occurs through hierarchical levels. There are roles to fill and penalties for stepping out of line. Higher-ups dictate what those below are allowed to do and how they get evaluated for complying with those dictates. In higher ed, the college president tells the provosts who tell the deans who advise the department chairs who inform the faculty who pass it on to the students.  There's a need for scoreboards in chains of command to measure and compare outcomes. Chains of command keep outbursts to a minimum while fueling every kind of  lip service, sabotage, retaliation and defiance that wont' get caught. Everyone is paying their dues and getting even when they can.

In a good place, there are chains of value. The experience of benefiting from a purchase, interaction or other experience gets passed on down the line. The goodness found by one gets shared so others can take advantage of the opportunity, join in the satisfaction or experience the difference for themselves. Each adds their own subjective value before sharing those advantages with his/her social network.  The beneficiary of a valuable educational experience will tell her/his friends about the experience, the explanations for it and the likely follow-through to get more out of it. There's a big need for dashboards in chains of value. Each needs to monitor how others could value something they might share and what interests of theirs might be served. The tie-ins to one's own interests require continual attention to maintain the intrinsic motivation to serve others' interests and respond effectively to their requests. Everyone is making a difference in others' lives.

In a great place, there are chains of reciprocation. The experience of giving comes back around. It makes tons of sense to share surpluses, care for unmet needs, serve others' interests and contribute to common good. The generosity of spirit gets repaid in countless ways. There's the sheer enjoyment of the process. There are the results that become evident. There's the feedback others communicate. There are opportunities created to make a bigger difference or to collaborate at enhancing the difference made. Dashboards can track all these ways of getting repaid as well as what's going on with others. Everyone is immersed in co-creating satisfying experiences.


  1. My cousin recommended this blog and she was totally right keep up the fantastic work!

    Scorm E Learning

  2. Thanks Joseph. The space that Symbioun is exploring looks great too!