Using *DAS as a learner

(look for someone who looks excited about learning and a person is excited to teach)

“Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible.”

― Richard Feynmann

We are all learners. Not a single day goes by without you learning something about the world or yourself. However, our experiences of learning can be very different. Sometimes we are told what we need to learn. Sometimes we have questions we want answered. In the *DAS team, we believe the best learning experiences come from the curiosity and intrinsic motivation of the learner. However, most of us go through the education system designed to motivate by extrinsic rewards, such as grades. In contrast to the industrial-era school model, the *DAS protocol is designed for you to pursue learning on your own terms while cultivating a rigorous portfolio demonstrating your abilities.

*DAS helps self-directed learners prove their learning.

The best learning is active, not passive. You learn by reading, thinking, listening, talking, creating, producing and sharing—constantly producing evidence of your knowledge and skills. There’s a rumor that you’re interested in learning about... data science! Perhaps you want to look deeper into the latest economic trends, make sense of that data from your fitness tracker or prepare yourself for a new job. You search the course catalogue of your local university, as well as some MOOCs you find while browsing. After some research, you realize that the time table doesn’t fit your schedule and the online course instructors make you fall asleep. Instead, you found a friend of a friend that works in the industry and is willing to be your mentor. She also recommended a few books. You also found some fantastic tutorials and videos online that complement the books. You are excited to begin, but there’s one thing that keeps bothering you. Without going to the local university or passing the MOOC, you won’t have any certificates to show future employers or admissions officers your learning. This is where the *DAS protocol will ensure that no matter what path you choose, the evidence you create while learning will be made valuable to future reviewers.

All *DAS certificates are made by learners, for themselves.

While learning about data science, you create micro certificates (also known as certs) to document your learning and connect the dots between the concepts introduced in the online video tutorials. The *DAS protocol lets you create certs and connect them in a way that smaller certs build up as prerequisites to bigger certs. For each cert, you upload a case as proof that you know the skill you describe in the cert. While following the online tutorial, you create a few small code projects that you uploaded to your GitHub account and keep a weekly learning journal on your blog. These make good cases for your smaller certs. For the bigger certs, you might write a description such as

"Using Python to clean up data from consumer-product sensors before storing it in a MySQL database
and visualizing the trends and correlations with D3.js"

and include a more complex project with code and a blog post as the case. You can also increase the credibility by connecting smaller certs as prerequisites for a bigger cert.

(show a picture of a graph with a bigger cert and a few chains of smaller certs, such as JavaScript, Python, MySQL, data mining from sensors etc).

*DAS encourages the spreading of knowledge because the best evidence of mastery is the ability to teach others

In order to solidify some of your certs with weaker cases, you initiate an informal group with a few peers who are curious about data science. Once a week, you meet up at a co-working space where you give some short lessons and help your peers apply their knowledge to some data sets that interest them. You make sure to set up your smartphone to record the lessons, upload them on a video-sharing website and blog. Attaching cases where you teach a skill to others is the most trustworthy evidence for certs in your learning portfolio.

*DAS allows you to increase your credibility through receiving awards from others, where they stake their own reputation on awarding you the skill

You have come a long way, learning all the theory about the topic and applying what you learned in a few cool projects. The mentor who your friend connected you with has seen you grow on this journey. She didn’t teach you everything, but seeing your projects and certs have given her the confidence to award some of your certs. By awarding some of your certs, she acknowledges that you know the skills as well as her. By using her own cert in the same skill to award you, she stakes her own reputation. However, the benefit is mutual, as when the same recruiter reviews your cert and gives it a good rating, it will also increase her own trustworthiness in that skill. However, if the reviewer gives you a bad rating, it will hurt her own credibility with that reviewer.

*DAS can integrate and share both your formal learning and informal learning to a seamless connected portfolio

In a parallel universe, you did choose to stick with the slightly boring MOOC instructor. The course did get better over time, and you received a certificate from the university by the end of the course. Using *DAS, you can include the small assignments during the course as smaller certs, displaying the actual practice you have done. You can also include the transcript and certificate from the university as a case in your certificate. Whether your own project or a course certificate from university is the most credible evidence for your case is still up to the reviewer to decide.

When you find that next opportunity, you can send a link to your cert or collection of certs to anyone you want to see it. That could be:

That’s it! And the best part is, wherever you go and succeed, you’ll be helping the credibility of the people who you learned with along the way.