Technology Enhanced Teaching, Learning, Assessmentand Development“The Future is all in the Past”Presentation for Moscow E-Learn Expo June 18th2013
IntroductionThis presentation reflects on the progress made in the application of technologies which supportlifelong learning and development and suggests that during the decade since the first MoscowELearn Expo, the focus and role of teaching in learning and development has been completelytransformed and has shifted from a teacher/organisation centric model based on knowledgedissemination to a learner centric model based on personalised, intelligent, adaptive andcollaborative lifelong knowledge creation.It also suggests that this shift in the application of technology mirrors the ancient learning anddevelopment practices that have existed since the dawn of time.
Competentum Learning Management SystemReview of E-Learn Expo Technologies since 2003The very first ELearn Expo in Moscow had a heavy focus on Learning Management Systems. Thefocus of LMS has been to provide a set of technology tools which help organisations to disseminateand track organisational knowledge and to build the competence and capabilities of employees toacquire the standardised knowledge and skills required to meet organisational objectives.The key point about such systems is that they revolved around improving the cost effectiveness offormal training and assessment and were most suited to a stable social and economic climate inwhich employees stayed with the same organisation and that organisation operated in a stable orslowly changing environment.
Tim Neill’s Kompressomatic 3000 Training Simulation circa 2003Interactive MultimediaWhilst the Learming Management Systems acted as a repository for corporate knowledge and aplatform for its delivery, the growing multimedia capabilities of the desktop PC were creating ademand for more interactive and engaging content delivery which could not only disseminateknowledge but also challenge and simultaneously assess the learner.Tim Neil gave an impressive demonstration in 2003 of a concept which was very advanced. TheKompressomatic 3000 simulator introduced faults into a fictitious machine and demonstrated thesymptoms of the fault through an audio visual simulation. The learner could use on-line hints tocarry out tests and replace parts with each test and part replacement bearing costs in time andparts. After each test and part replacement, the simulation could be run again to see the impact ofany changes.The combination of knowledge dissemination, learning by doing and real-time assessment pointedthe way to the future. The most competent learners solved the problem quickly with minimal cost inparts and labour, whilst the slower learners might take longer to develop an understanding of theprocesses. Recording the capabilities of each learner into an LMS, helped organisations to identifyand track the competences of individuals.
Screenshot of Webex Virtual ClassroomVirtual ClassroomsOver the following E-Learn Expos, a number of other technologies were highlighted and discussed.Early E-Learn Expos included demonstrations of Virtual Classroom technologies and webinars. I havebeen involved in delivering on-line seminars using a host of virtual classroom technologies from HP,Microsoft, Webex, Adobe and others.The key thing about virtual classrooms is that they seek to emulate the traditional classroom modelwith tools that enable the subject matter expert to reach a global audience, record expert sessionsfor later anytime access and stimulate peer to peer learning in a very cost effective manner.Many organisations now run webinars both internally and externally but few organisations, in myopinion, fully exploit the potential of these technologies and there is still an understandablepreference for face to face classroom learning
Applying Technology to Traditional Teaching PracticesCorporate Learning and Mass Education Technology Objectives circa 2003Ever since the invention of the printing press, communication technologies have been applied tobring knowledge and Information to the masses and teachers and educators have fulfilled a jointrole of acquirers and disseminators of that knowledge combined with assessors, motivators andmentors.This dual role of knowledge dissemination and coaching required teachers and educators to becomeknowledge professionals, and like the trade apprentices of previous centuries, developed theircareers and status around acquiring the knowledge and skills that they could pass on to theirstudents and learners.Technology enhanced learning therefore followed this same pattern, with a heavy focus, as in theearly days of the printing press, on reaching the largest possible audience as cost effectively aspossible.
E-Learn Expo 2010 Conference Presentation on Immersive TechnologiesTechnologies for Exploring and Discovering KnowledgeBy 2010, the concept of “Serious Games” as a learning and development methodology was gainingtraction and symbolised the shift away from existing knowledge dissemination towards knowledgediscovery and peer to peer learning. Serious Games is far from a new concept because games havealways generated learning outcomes as those involved in playing and observing games inevitablylearn and develop from the experience.In 2010, the technologies of video games and virtual worlds were beginning to mature sufficiently tomake them a viable alternative to traditional physical games such as role playing exercises. At thistime the cost of custom development of learning games for specific learning objectives meant thatgames technology tended to be used only where there was either a sufficiently large number ofpeople to be trained to justify the development cost or where an existing “Off the Shelf” game couldbe re-purposed to achieve specific learning goals.
Second Life Virtual WorldGuided Exploration using Virtual WorldsThe virtual world Second Life developed by Linden Labs began to be used as a learning by discoveryplatform because it provided a 3D immersive environment which was sufficiently cheap andaccessible for users to create interesting learning environments which could be explored 24/7 withor without intervention or guidance from a tutor.Such learning environments could include rich multimedia and interactive challenges to add to theexperience but another very important characteristic of these virtual worlds which is often neglectedor misunderstood is their inherent ability to log learner activities and achievements in real time andstore these indefinitely. This process lays the foundations for what lies ahead in the future.
Hybrid Seminar using a Physical Audience and a Virtual WorldHybrid Learning EnvironmentsAt E-Learn Expo 2010, I ran a hybrid workshop which incorporated a live session in Second Life thatbrought together a physical audience with a virtual audience that also included several virtual worldexperts located in different parts of the world. This was a technique I had introduced at the SeriousGames Institute in 2007 and it illustrated the potential of immersive technologies to not onlydisseminate knowledge to a mass audience anywhere in the world, but also to facilitate peer to peerlearning between delegates and experts anywhere in the world.The workshop session also served to illustrate that the technology was practical even over a satellitewireless network using a USB modem.
Changing the Learning ParadigmPersonalised Lifelong Learning, Assessment and DevelopmentToday, in 2013, I believe we are at the dawn of a revolution in technology enhanced learning whichcould totally change the role and focus of teachers and educators and transform the objectives andoperations of Learning Management Systems.The role of a teacher as a disseminator of existing knowledge is almost dead, along withstandardised mass education and assessment.Tomorrow the focus will be on personalised learning, knowledge creation and sharing andcontinuous assessment and development throughout the whole lifetime.
Learning through gameplayCombined Learning and AssessmentAs Tim Neill’s Kompressomatic 3000 simulation demonstrated back in 2003, games and simulationsprovide a superb environment for learning by doing and embedded assessment. Whether as playersor observers, we become immersed in games and simulations as risk-free (or relatively risk-free)worlds where our behaviours are more natural and continuous peer to peer learning and assessmenttakes place.Technology now not only provides a platform to create such experiences to be accessible 24/7 butalso provides tools to store performances and match learners with either other learners or real orvirtual experts to provide on-demand support.
Global Knowledge NetworksGlobal Knowledge Networks and Internet of ThingsToday, information and knowledge is widely accessible to most parts of the globe on a 24/7 basisand accredited courses can be chosen by learners from a huge number of providers, makingeducation a very learner-centric model. This freedom of choice is creating a market-driven model fortechnology enhanced learning.
The Hole in the Wall ProjectSelf-Directed Learning, Collaboration and AssessmentProfessor Sugata Mitra of Newcastle University was the brains behind the famous “Hole in the Wall”project designed to test the potential of children to self-organise their learning through technology.The project involved setting up a computer in a remote village in a hole in the wall and observing thebehaviour of children and their learning behaviours.Over a relatively short period after the computer was installed without and prior training or warningabout the project, groups of children began to explore the computer and were soon able to discoverGoogle, use the mouse and keyboard and access knowledge. The children organised themselves andshared their experiences.Although this mysterious object in the wall happened to be a computer, I believe that any alienobject suddenly appearing in an environment would soon be explored, discovered and learnt aboutin the same way but this project certainly illustrated the power of self-directed and collaborativelearning.
Community Based LearningIntelligent, Immersive and Adaptive LearningLong ago, even before the invention of the printing press and still today in remote corners of theworld untouched by civilisation, community based learning was intelligent, adaptive and immersive.In such communities where people spent their lives in the same village and rarely experiencedtravel, teachers were the wise, old, respected elders in the community who saw children growingday by day, week by week and year by year. These elders acted as teachers, guides and mentors totheir students, treating them as individuals, knowing their strengths and weaknesses andintelligently adapting the learning process to each individual to prepare them for the role in theirsociety that suited them most.These elders could direct their learners to sources of knowledge and experiences the best motivatedthem and suited their capabilities and interests.This personalisation of the learning experience has been absent from today’s society for many yearsand the notion of tight knit communities has been eroded by today’s mobility and freedom of accessto communications technology. We are simultaneously the most connected and the least connectedsociety in history.
Embedded Sensors and Visualisation TechnologiesContinuous Monitoring, Assessment and LearningOne of the most important aspects of personalised learning and development is continuousobservation of the learning and development process, appropriate feedback and subsequent actionas part of a “learning and development loop”. A good example of this, which shows the demand forsuch a process is the growth in “lifestyle and fitness” coaching where you work closely with anindividual who sees you every day, oversees your progress and is able to develop a personalprogramme that help the individual achieve personal goals.One of the biggest revolutions that is about to hit the education process and transform the use oftechnology to enhance education is the use of embedded sensors and devices which continuouslymonitor our learning process, visualise our progress and suggest personal goals and actions whichhelp us to develop.A good example of this is the range of activity monitoring sensors like the “Jawbone Up” braceletthat records, stores and visualises our daily activities, sleeping and eating patterns and provides uswith the tools for self-directed and personalised learning.
The iPad Tellagami ApplicationPersonal Creative Technologies and the ProsumerAmongst the other major influencers in technology enhanced personalised learning is the raft ofcreative tools for both teachers and learners that are exploding onto portable devices such as theiPad and mobile phones. These tools empower individuals to easily create personalised rich learningexperiences easily and quickly with the power to share these experiences with a global audience.Today’s society has been transformed from a world of knowledge consumers to a world ofknowledge “prosumers” (producers and consumers).
Social Media and Personalised RelationshipsSocial Media and PersonalisationSocial Media applications such as Facebook provide platforms to share knowledge with a globalaudience and also build a community of personal relationships which can develop to create theequivalent of “tribes” or communities of interest.Combining social media with artificial intelligence and the “wisdom of the crowd” strengthens theperception of personal relationships which can now include people you have never met but whoshare your experiences, visions, attitudes and interests.
The Future of Learning and DevelopmentTechnology Enhanced/Enabled Personalised Learning and DevelopmentThis image of Professor Sugata Mitra observing children teaching themselves on a portable tabletsymbolises what I believe will be the future of education, bringing us back to the age old practice ofintelligent, adaptive, immersive and personalised learning.The wisdom of the elders acting as guides and mentors to new learners whom, with the help ofembedded sensor and assessment tools, will provide personalised coaching to anywhere in theworld where their experiences and interests match the needs of learners.
Professor Sugata Mitra’s TED VideoBuilding a School in The CloudOver 1.25 million people have watched Professor Mitra’s vision for the future of children’s educationmade accessible and affordable by Cloud Technology.
The Future of Learning ManagementPersonalised, Lifelong, Intelligent and Adaptive LMSThis presentation began with the role of Learning Management Systems at the very first E-LearnExpo. LMS is still very much a relevant tool for learning, assessment, development and recording ofprogress but I believe that in tomorrow’s vision of technology enhanced learning, LMS will not becontrolled or run by single organisations but will be the lifelong learner’s e-portfolio and gateway topersonalised, adaptive and intelligent learning and development that effectively mirrors theprocesses of the past and makes them accessible to a global audience.
Thanks for ListeningCopyright InformationThis presentation was developed for the Moscow E-Learn Expo 2013 Conference held in June 2013.It can be freely copied and disseminated.David Wortley FRSAImmersive Technology Strategieswww.davidwortley.comEmail: firstname.lastname@example.orgMobile: +447896659695