by Derrin Kent

Now that we are living in a world of Web 2.0, Learning 2.0 and Work 2.0 we should be thinking about the importance of WBL 2.0. WBL has always delivered CONTEXTUALISED learning - meeting learners within their own individual Zones of Proximal Development. We now need to think about how we can do this at a distance using our online facilities.

About Me

Derrin Kent's profile picture

I am The Development Manager for http://mahara.tdm.info and for a number of other Mahara platforms around the UK.

I describe myself as being a cross between a "Trainer" a "Manager" a "Linguist" and a "Geek". I have been involved with web development and e-Learning since the year 2000 and with Moodle since 2005. I have worked continuously in Corporate-Sector Education and Corporate-Sector Educational Management since graduating in Education Studies in 1988 - often in overseas locations with a focus on teaching English as a Foreign Language (EFL).  I have worked as a teacher trainer on over 30 Cambridge CELTA Courses (details). 

 I have been involved with WBL delivery in the UK since 2004. I have an NQF Level 7 Teaching Diploma from the University of Cambridge (details) and I am also an LPIC Qualified Linux Professional (details) - which is the Open Source world's equivalent to being a Microsoft-Certified Professional. Focussed on e-Learning and e-Business Improvements, I pragmatically advocate the use of Open Data Standards and Open Source Software Code.



  • First name: Derrin
  • Last name: Kent
  • Country: United Kingdom
  • Official website address: http://tdm.info
  • Personal website address: http://derrin.org
  • Blog address: http://derrin.biz
  • Postal address: TDM Ltd.
    12, High Street,
  • Town: Bewdley
  • City/region: Worcs.
  • Business phone: 01299 405719
  • Mobile phone: 07792 569415
  • Skype username: tdmderrin
  • Fax number: 01299 405719
  • Occupation: Learning Technologist
  • Industry: Open Source Software
  • Email address: derrin@tdm.info

Nobody believes more than I do in the idea of delivering "Teacher-Designed" information content, in a top-down way for the benefit of learners. This Mahara View page is, in essence trying to do just that. I am conveying information to you, I am expecting you to read it and process it and I expect you will. BUT.... any good learning psychologists will tell you that "presenting content" to someone is not enough.

We have now put the man inside the printing machine

Instead, in order for you to make this knowledge "yours" you will need to process it in some way. Learning is not a "jug and mug" process, rather it is an active process of identifying and self-activating the knowledge and skills YOU know you need and want to develop.

We can encourage lots more learning to take place if:

  1. We present learning to people "just-in-time" i.e. AT THE PRECISE MOMENT in which they actually want to learn it and also
  2. The learner gets to APPLY what they learn to their OWN practical working contexts.

For these very two reasons, Work-Based Vocational Learning is, I believe, a better option than college-based vocational learning.

Well-delivered WBL can get people to apply their learning to their REAL situations. The WBL model is a REAL process for the delivery and assessment of real CONTEXTUALISED learning.

It might be unwise for a WBL Training Provider to invest too much time, money and energy into professionally produced content for a Virtual Learning Environment. Depersonalised, pre-prepared learning objects - no matter how flashy and beautiful they are - can actually be quite ineffective as stand-alone learning tools.



  • People prefer to communicate with other people rather than simply communicate with the machines themselves..... BUT we can now communicate through the machine!!
  • It is expensive to produce knowledge presentation materials and these materials can too quickly "date" and lose their relevance.  Instead, we can have a real-life trainer take their real-life learners through online group work and pair work activities - activities which lead them towards actual learning objectives.

The wisest approach for a WBL provider to deliver distance e-learning content is to train up some of your in-house training "experts" to socially interact with your learners online ....in order to help the individual learners get better at what they actually have to do in their own working context.

Nobody is saying that an e-learning course can be delivered without some structure and without some "presentation" of information - but if you want your learners to keep coming back - and if you want new learners to come from other locations further afield... your organisation will start to need to offer learners "The (Wo)Man in the Machine" - and not just offer them the Machine.

Using your Managed Learning Environments as media for Socially Constructed, e-moderated learning experiences is a way for a training provider to engage real work-based learning experiences while spending less money on oil.

WBL2.0 is necessary in the context of a:

where we have reached

It is also necessary in a learning context where we understand the usefulness of

for tapping into a learner's

 Click on any of the links above to read more.
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Effective learning needs to be personalised. Vocational learning objectives will always be best achieved while one-to-one attention is given as learners apply their learning to the practical contexts they engage in within their everyday working practice.

If WBL 1.0 centred around sending assessors out in cars to visit learners in their workplaces....

....I think WBL 2.0 will centre around using the internet to allow work-based learners access to the vocational experience and expertise which training provider assessors and trainers can provide. 

TDM outsource our services to Work-Based Learning (WBL) Providers - helping them to use Mahara for:

  • Reflective Learning
  • Personalised Learning and Critical Feedback
  • Evidence-Based Assessment towards (eg) NVQs or SfL Qualifications
  • Accreditation / Recognition of Prior Learning or Experience
  • Knowledge Transfer
  • Knowledge Capture
  • Knowledge Creation
  • Project-Based Learning
  • ...and more.

We write about how to use Mahara for WBL provision (as well as for schools, college, universities and businesses) in our forthcoming book for Packt publishing illustrated below (Click here for more details)


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Betty Hurley-Dasgupta

Great page!  Have you seen examples of a Mahara page developed out of RSS feeds from student journals?

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