“Microsoft Power Up Program” – first impressions

I have recently been accepted into cohort 3 of the Microsoft Power Up Program (MPUP).

Microsoft Power Up Program enables non-tech professionals to successfully advance into a new career path in low-code application development using Microsoft Power Platform


I have played around with a few of the no/low code tools in O365/M365 (and some non-Microsoft tools) so I am looking forward to this program to learn more and formalize skills in this area.


The initial setup is not as easy as might be expected. Rather than using my corporate M365 account, or my personal one for that matter, I received a new account just for the MPUP. Due to the difficulty in switching between M365 accounts, I have setup using the MPUP’s platform in a different browser to what I normally use. The temporary password having to be changed before accessing the platform.

This is of course a well known issue for anyone working in learning tech – you need to make things simple and, sometimes, SSO options can actually complicate things (less of an issue for a control audience like internal staff in a corporate L&D environment).


Microsoft’s potential impact on the learning tech market has been a topic ever since I starting working in learning (15+ years). The potential that 100s of commercial LMS could be destroyed by a real MS market entry has presumably been in the risk section of many such corporations’ long term planning. More recently, the Viva Learning approach has suggested something of a hybrid model with a MS approach (Viva) bringing 3rd-party LMS content/experiences into Teams and elsewhere.

Therefore, it is always interesting to do MS courses/online learning and see what their approach is. In this case it would seem they are using Adobe products (I’m not sure if this is a common partnership across other things?). Therefore in relation to first impressions this post relates both to the Microsoft approach but also Adobe’s service – under the auspice of “https://cpcontents.adobe.com/” (I presume these are Captivate Prime URLs?).

The introduction section included a number of videos outlining the curriculum structure. This outlined the self-study (videos, exercises, quiz, etc) and synchronous (online Q&A) structure. The video introducing the LMS is nearly 12 minutes long (!). Ultimately this feels way too long. There is then a whole video on how discussion boards work – now I appreciate discussion boards might not be familiar to all (especially younger) web users but my oh my this is a way to till kill interest in a learning experience.

The next step was then to setup Power Apps access. The course includes a workflow chart to explain the 3 accounts you will need to have and how you will need to be working between 2 browsers. No doubt this is natural to MS admins but the need for a workflow graphic just to explain access would suggest this is all a bit overwhelming. Ultimately you end up needing a “learner” browser for the LMS and a “developer” browser for the Power Apps access. However, you are soon then into using learn.microsoft content which is ANOTHER system. I appreciate this is reuse of content but its a mess of a user/learner experience. Even worse, I am pretty sure I have done some of these Microsoft Learn components before but that was on a different machine/browser. Worse again the Learn content has a mix of approaches – in some areas you get a VM to work on via a login process, in other areas you are expected in login to a PowerApps system yourself.

Hopefully things will get smoother now up and running…

This really is “Web 4.0”

If you look online there are some quite messy descriptions of what Web 3.0 and 4.0 are.

3.0 is sometimes seen as AI driven but is more typically linked to the evolutions around blockchain and crypto (depending where you look AI might still be 3 and wider adoption of metaverse is 4.0). If we take 4.0 as where we are now – with AI tools proliferating – I have to say it feels like the kind of change we saw with 2.0 in c.2006-2008.

I was lucky with 2.0 as a lot of the buzz was at the same time as me studying for my MA. The team at Sheffield University did a good job of considering where some of the more interactive, social and co-authored web features would change the world. I look back at this as an exciting time where we saw a real shift towards full adoption of the web – Facebook became ubiquitous, video was shared online not on CD, online file storage evolved to a more usable set of tools and many other changes.

Now it is easy again to come across multiple exciting new tools everyday – a number of which eat away at traditional work (see a LinkedIn post from me on this) or, indeed, the types of tools we have seen evolve since the buzz around 2.0. What seems to have been lost in the noise around “AI” and the claims, rightly or wrongly of how AI is used in a lot of these new tools, is that this is just plain exciting. Personally I am not in the “fear” camp with this – we are seeing incredible novel and innovative AI that should make all our lives better.

Altspace VR is gone

This is where we say goodbye. Thank you for joining us on this wonderful adventure, and for making AltspaceVR a warm and welcoming community built by caring and creative people.  🥰

Though we’re sad to go, we hope that the friendships we formed, the experiences we shared, and the memories we made will live on.  

Final email to Altspace users

Microsoft’s Altspace has closed. Whilst I have only used the tool just a handful of times this could be something of major milestone.

As a service with genuine communities that predated the buzz over the “metaverse” Altspace will go down in history. Unfortunately though that may just be that it is just the latest of many examples where big tech acquires a service for it to die later.

Start of the year reflections – including “Full stack instructional designers” (and ending my CMALT status)

New year, new reflections on professional status.

I travelled for work earlier this month, I think this was only the second international work trip in something like 8 years (when I was previously travelling internationally quite a lot). This absence of international work travel has been due to different factors, including different scope of roles, the covid pandemic closures, etc. However, being back in environments I have not seen for a while (airport lounges!) got me thinking about my personal profile again.

“Full stack”?

I have tended, for a decade or so, to think I am a fairly “generalist” L&D person – whilst I came into learning through libraries and eLearning I have moved away from those specialisms into more of a general L&D role. I have noticed of late a few references to “full stack” instructional designers – this seems to be an attempt at saying someone who does a bit of everything, not just a designer but working across ADDIE (the top Google result is to this Medium page from a few years back). Is this IDs looking to be seen as full L&D pros or something else?

The idea of “full stack”, as far as I know, is coming across from IT industry language:

A full stack web developer is a person who can develop both client and server software.

In addition to mastering HTML and CSS, he/she also knows how to:

  • Program a browser (like using JavaScript, jQuery, Angular, or Vue)
  • Program a server (like using PHP, ASP, Python, or Node)
  • Program a database (like using SQL, SQLite, or MongoDB)

I would personally say this does not really work in an ID context unless we mean “full stack” in terms of being a programmer of the systems and not just a user of GUIs to develop learning solutions.

Nonetheless an interesting development given that IT has taken the use of “information” from other domains/professions and we might now reach the point of maturity where IT terminology starts getting adopted in other areas (“Agile”, or at least “agile”, being an other term where this has been usurped outside pure-IT communities I guess).


Thinking about the “generalist” vs “full stack” vs “something else” language impacted on my decision not to renew my CMALT status as of the Jan 1st renewal date.

I was an early CMALT holder, number 53 I believe, having completed my portfolio and application when the CMALT list was just a doc on the ALT website Now it is a nice searchable interface and has effectively become the standard to achieve for UK learning technologists.

CMALT (and the other activities of the Association of Learning Technology) were important to me when working in Higher Ed. This all remained useful when I moved to working in more general L&D areas. However, I have not really engaged with ALT very much in the last few years (beyond completing some reviews of CMALT applications). Therefore, I opted against renewing as it seemed somewhat false to maintain my status when not really engaged in this community (albeit that this is in part a problem with ALT as the focus seems to have been too much on UK HEIs).

This is interesting as, like when chose to drop my Chartered status of CILIP (MCILIP) at the end of 2016, in can be seen as something of a epoch in my professional focus. However, I ended up working in a library service again after dropping MCILIP so who knows what the future will hold.

My last 10ish years on Twitter

Twitter’s current problems have made me think again about how I have used the site over the years. Therefore, I decided to have a look at all my tweets…or at least what I can see via the UI.

Expectations: I have been very stop-start on Twitter and would expect, before looking at the historic tweets, for this to be obvious. The more active times will include event tweeting which I have tried at times – having appreciated the tweets of others in creating useful back channels around conferences and the like.

Via the main UI, the scroll of past tweets, seems to cap at around 10 years…


Some general sharing on professional topics – including libraries, teacher training and online learning. Particular focus on my LMS of the time (Blackboard) and the Higher Ed market in general.


2012 started with my attendance of the Blackboard User Group conference in Durham (that I attended a number of times back then) and was followed with a clear attempt to be sharing interesting news. I was not adding a lot of my own thoughts to posts, more just picking out tweets of particular interest.

June 2012 has a tweet saying I have joined the LSG Ning (https://learningandskillsgroup.ning.com/) – to be honest that feels longer ago than 10 years ago!


The first tweet of 2013 refers to information on Tin Can (which has arguably not really reached its potential although the resulting rise of LXPs will have led to adoption).

There are a few tweets for an event I also blogged about. Followed up by some similar tweets from that year’s learning tech show and BETT. These soon followed by a sad one about the death of Google Reader.

The rest of the year is a mix of learning tech news, as well as some excitement from me on the potential of Open Badges. Some companies mentioned, such as Grovo, having gone on to be bought by other players. There are also an annoying amount of broken links to sites like Chief Learning Officer that don’t really have an excuse for breaking archive links.

A July 2013 tweet advertising that I had used the LPI Capability Map must have been when that went live? I also tweeted to comment on when I setup a FutureLearn account.

Late in the year a couple of tweets from a Learning Pool Live event still hit home – one suggesting we might have to be more honest about the type of staff we have (hostages, disconnected, mercenaries, apostles +the fence sitters) and another talking about Andrew Jacobs work with L&D at Lambeth council moved away from courses (apart from for health and safety).

2013 ends with me saying I was considering leaving Yahoo Mail. Somewhat amazingly I am still actively using it.

In hindsight the news I was sharing is interesting to look back on in this format but as an archive would I ever really use it? I guess there has been the odd time when I have tried to remember something and then remembered I tweeted it.


More BETT thoughts as well as general workplace learning and technology interest. That includes a few tweets about MOOCs and market plays, most of which have not probably been worth the investment for players involved!

Useful picking up of a few old sources I have forgotten about. As well as a welcome reminder of this from ON24:


Begins with some learning tech show tweets but also an interesting one where I wonder what the penetrating of name recognition would be for “webinar”, guess that has changed in the last seven years!

I retweeted one tweet about the 2015 election and I have used Twitter a lot in more recent times to lurk in the political space to try and comprehend Brexit, Trump, Johnson, Truss and other political topics. There is also the first sign of some football related tweeting, another topic/community where Twitter has brought me value.

Overall, a huge amount of dead links – even on big stories like Adobe launching an LMS.


A work focus, with a greater interest in apprenticeships shown in some tweets on that topic. Meanwhile Office 365, Zoom and other current tools all start to appear more obviously.

Overall 2016 is not a hugely engaged year for me (likely a reflection that I was busy enjoying a new job).


More on apprenticeships and learning technology.

AI in learning gets a mention (I think for the first time).

March 2017 is noteworthy for me saying I had just used Microsoft Teams for the first time (and it must have been pretty quick that I adopted it for my team). Microsoft Stream launch gets a mention later in the year.

Also a tweet for an event I went to at the Design Museum – slightly surprised there are not more of these types of post but probably due to me tending to keep my Twitter mostly work related.

Nice to see some tweets from an internal learning conference my team (at the time) helped organise and an external event where I presented on some of our work.


BETT makes an appearance again (I really should have invested in phones with better cameras for pics) as well as some sector (health) specific stuff for the time.

Again, mostly events (I did quite a good job at tweeting from UNLEASH18) and the like with the 2012/13-style news sharing mostly having dried up.

The earlier interest in Open Badges had led to some work where I was presenting on a webinar about my use before some tweets on me moving on from that role.

Later in the year some general workplace performance stuff and a little on apprentices.

I also tried to make LandDoh “a thing” to have some fun with the world of learning. Needless to say that has not really happened.


Quite a general mix of tweets on things of interest from football, learning theory, social stuff and more. Not quite as random as it might look at first glance as some related to the work I was supporting at the time.

The bit that might be important for the future are some recommendations for podcasts, covering Project Cortex and what the future of a Microsoft-powered learning ecosystem might look like.

The November 2019 election event of the UK Conservative party rebranding itself on Twitter as “factcheckuk” is a low point even within the terrible environment of much social media.


Still not sure how it isn’t 2020 today but it would seem that year mostly saw me use Twitter for the “normal” mix of learning tech, some podcast/webinar comments and some waffle. A reasonable amount amongst it all on remote work related productivity topics given the year. Of the pandemic related stuff a tweet on the 1957 flu was one of the more interesting things.

However, a mention for this retweet which remains the most standout amazing thing I have probably seen on Twitter:

2021 & 2022

Alas I did tweet on January 6th 2021 whilst in shock at the events in America.

Elsewhere tweets directly related to my employer here, including about our use of Helpscout. Otherwise digital skills, digital workplaces, etc. I also got into perhaps my nearest thing to a Twitter argument in disagreeing with DTWillingham on the limits of games for learning.