How Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods highlights the hybrid, ‘omnichannel’ future of higher ed — from edsurge.com by Sean Gallagher

Excerpt:

The expectation that students can integrate their learning experiences across channels is now arriving in higher education. Online education has reached a tipping point where almost 30 percent of all students in U.S. higher education are enrolled in at least one online college course. A significant number of students are already blending their experience across online and offline channels—and numerous data points speak to the evolving value of blending online delivery with physical presence, as suggested by Amazon.

In national surveys of prospective adult students that we have conducted regularly at Northeastern University over recent years, we have consistently found that 60 percent of students prefer a blended or hybrid learning experience. In other words, the majority of the higher education student market is neglected by today’s dominant approach that focuses on offering either online or in-person programs.

Like Amazon, the colleges and universities that are able to deliver across channels—leveraging the combination of physical presence and online algorithms—will be uniquely positioned to take advantage of the in-demand, destination nature of studying in certain cities; the local sourcing of faculty; and proximity to key employers, industries, and job opportunities.

 

Over the next decade, growth and competitive success in higher education will not be a function of who is able to offer online programs. Instead, the successful institutions will be those who can symbiotically integrate their placed-based educational operations and experiences with software-driven analytics, learning science, and machine learning to create a more personalized experience. A more Amazon-like experience.

 

 


From DSC:
A few side comments here:

  1. The future won’t be kind to those institutions who haven’t built up their “street cred” in the digital/virtual space. For example, if you are working at a traditional institution of higher education that doesn’t have online-based programs — nor does it have plans to create such programs in the future — you should get your resume up-to-date and start looking…now.
    .
  2. For data/analytics to have a significant impact and inform strategic or pedagogical decisions, one needs to collect the data. This is not hard to do online. But it’s very difficult — at least at a granular level — to do in a face-to-face environment.
    .
  3. Coursera’s MeetUps around the world — where their learners are encouraged to join study and discussion groups related to their online-only courses — make me wonder about the future of learning spaces and whether your local Starbucks might morph into a learning hub.

 

 

 


 

 

 
 

From DSC:
After reading the item below, I wondered:

Should technical communicators, trainers, and help desk personnel get trained on how to design and develop “workbots?”


 

Forget chatbots — you should create a workbot instead — from venturebeat.com by Oren Ariel; with thanks to Thomas Frey for his tweet on this

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

But what about employee-to-company interaction through bots? Chatbots designed for the work environment, or workbots, could become the next step function in work productivity.

Workbots could be the cure for what’s often called “app fatigue.”

They work within the corporate messenger environment (such as Jabber, Skype for Business, Slack, and others) and respond to commands and questions in natural language, whether typed or dictated. They have access to all the corporate information needed to get the job done and can perform complex tasks across multiple systems. The workbot knows what tasks are executed in which back-end system, so the user doesn’t have to know. Because bots rely on natural language processing (NLP) — the ability of humans to interact with computers using free-form language — workbots can help an employee get to the starting point quickly and without any training, in the same way a search engine would, and then help guide the user through the task in a step-by-step fashion.

Chat is no longer just about communication, it’s about bringing the user information.

 

 

 

What a future, powerful, global learning platform will look & act like [Christian]


Learning from the Living [Class] Room:
A vision for a global, powerful, next generation learning platform

By Daniel Christian

NOTE: Having recently lost my Senior Instructional Designer position due to a staff reduction program, I am looking to help build such a platform as this. So if you are working on such a platform or know of someone who is, please let me know: danielchristian55.com.

I want to help people reinvent themselves quickly, efficiently, and cost-effectively — while providing more choice, more control to lifelong learners. This will become critically important as artificial intelligence, robotics, algorithms, and automation continue to impact the workplace.


 

The Living [Class] Room -- by Daniel Christian -- July 2012 -- a second device used in conjunction with a Smart/Connected TV

 

Learning from the Living [Class] Room:
A global, powerful, next generation learning platform

 

What does the vision entail?

  • A new, global, collaborative learning platform that offers more choice, more control to learners of all ages – 24×7 – and could become the organization that futurist Thomas Frey discusses here with Business Insider:

“I’ve been predicting that by 2030 the largest company on the internet is going to be an education-based company that we haven’t heard of yet,” Frey, the senior futurist at the DaVinci Institute think tank, tells Business Insider.

  • A learner-centered platform that is enabled by – and reliant upon – human beings but is backed up by a powerful suite of technologies that work together in order to help people reinvent themselves quickly, conveniently, and extremely cost-effectively
  • An AI-backed system of analyzing employment trends and opportunities will highlight those courses and “streams of content” that will help someone obtain the most in-demand skills
  • A system that tracks learning and, via Blockchain-based technologies, feeds all completed learning modules/courses into learners’ web-based learner profiles
  • A learning platform that provides customized, personalized recommendation lists – based upon the learner’s goals
  • A platform that delivers customized, personalized learning within a self-directed course ?(meant for those content creators who want to deliver more sophisticated courses/modules while moving people through the relevant Zones of Proximal Development)
  • Notifications and/or inspirational quotes will be available upon request to help provide motivation, encouragement, and accountability – helping learners establish habits of continual, lifelong-based learning
  • (Potentially) An online-based marketplace, matching learners with teachers, professors, and other such Subject Matter Experts (SMEs)
  • (Potentially) Direct access to popular job search sites
  • (Potentially) Direct access to resources that describe what other companies do/provide and descriptions of any particular company’s culture (as described by current and former employees and freelancers)

Further details:
While basic courses will be accessible via mobile devices, the optimal learning experience will leverage two or more displays/devices. So while smaller smartphones, laptops, and/or desktop workstations will be used to communicate synchronously or asynchronously with other learners, the larger displays will deliver an excellent learning environment for times when there is:

  • A Subject Matter Expert (SME) giving a talk or making a presentation on any given topic
  • A need to display multiple things going on at once, such as:
  • The SME(s)
  • An application or multiple applications that the SME(s) are using
  • Content/resources that learners are submitting in real-time (think Bluescape, T1V, Prysm, other)
  • The ability to annotate on top of the application(s) and point to things w/in the app(s)
  • Media being used to support the presentation such as pictures, graphics, graphs, videos, simulations, animations, audio, links to other resources, GPS coordinates for an app such as Google Earth, other
  • Other attendees (think Google Hangouts, Skype, Polycom, or other videoconferencing tools)
  • An (optional) representation of the Personal Assistant (such as today’s Alexa, Siri, M, Google Assistant, etc.) that’s being employed via the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI)

This new learning platform will also feature:

  • Voice-based commands to drive the system (via Natural Language Processing (NLP))
  • Language translation ?(using techs similar to what’s being used in Translate One2One, an earpiece powered by IBM Watson)
  • Speech-to-text capabilities for use w/ chatbots, messaging, inserting discussion board postings
  • Text-to-speech capabilities as an assistive technology and also for everyone to be able to be mobile while listening to what’s been typed
  • Chatbots
    • For learning how to use the system
    • For asking questions of – and addressing any issues with – the organization owning the system (credentials, payments, obtaining technical support, etc.)
    • For asking questions within a course
  • As many profiles as needed per household
  • (Optional) Machine-to-machine-based communications to automatically launch the correct profile when the system is initiated (from one’s smartphone, laptop, workstation, and/or tablet to a receiver for the system)
  • (Optional) Voice recognition to efficiently launch the desired profile
  • (Optional) Facial recognition to efficiently launch the desired profile
  • (Optional) Upon system launch, to immediately return to where the learner previously left off
  • The capability of the webcam to recognize objects and bring up relevant resources for that object
  • A built in RSS feed aggregator – or a similar technology – to enable learners to tap into the relevant “streams of content” that are constantly flowing by them
  • Social media dashboards/portals – providing quick access to multiple sources of content and whereby learners can contribute their own “streams of content”

In the future, new forms of Human Computer Interaction (HCI) such as Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and Mixed Reality (MR) will be integrated into this new learning environment – providing entirely new means of collaborating with one another.

Likely players:

  • Amazon – personal assistance via Alexa
  • Apple – personal assistance via Siri
  • Google – personal assistance via Google Assistant; language translation
  • Facebook — personal assistance via M
  • Microsoft – personal assistance via Cortana; language translation
  • IBM Watson – cognitive computing; language translation
  • Polycom – videoconferencing
  • Blackboard – videoconferencing, application sharing, chat, interactive whiteboard
  • T1V, Prsym, and/or Bluescape – submitting content to a digital canvas/workspace
  • Samsung, Sharp, LCD, and others – for large displays with integrated microphones, speakers, webcams, etc.
  • Feedly – RSS aggregator
  • _________ – for providing backchannels
  • _________ – for tools to create videocasts and interactive videos
  • _________ – for blogs, wikis, podcasts, journals
  • _________ – for quizzes/assessments
  • _________ – for discussion boards/forums
  • _________ – for creating AR, MR, and/or VR-based content

 

 

AIG teams with IBM to use blockchain for ‘smart’ insurance policy — from reuters.com by Suzanne Barlyn

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Insurer American International Group Inc has partnered with International Business Machines Corp to develop a “smart” insurance policy that uses blockchain to manage complex international coverage, the companies said on Wednesday.

AIG and IBM completed a pilot of a so-called “smart contract” multi-national policy for Standard Chartered Bank PLC which the companies said is the first of its kind using blockchain’s digital ledger technology.

IBM has been partnering with leading companies in various industries, including Danish transport company Maersk, to create blockchain-based products that can streamline complex international dealings across sectors.

 

Blockchain technology, which powers the digital currency bitcoin, enables data sharing across a network of individual computers. It has gained worldwide popularity due to its usefulness in recording and keeping track of assets or transactions across all industries.

 

 

From DSC:
Why post this item? Because IBM and others are experimenting with and investing millions into blockchain-based technologies; and because the manner in which credentials are stored and recognized will most likely be significantly impacted by blockchain-based technologies. Earlier this year at the Next Generation Learning Spaces Conference in San Diego, I mentioned that this topic of blockchain-based technologies is something that should be on our radars within higher education.

 

 

 

 

 

 

From DSC:
Given the increasing use of robotics, automation, and artificial intelligence…how should the question of “What sort of education will you need to be employable in the future?” impact what’s being taught within K-12 & within higher education? Should certain areas within higher education, for example, start owning this research, as well as the strategic planning and whether changes are needed to the core curricula for this increasingly important trend?

The future’s coming at us fast — perhaps faster than we think. It seems prudent to work through some potential scenarios and develop plans for those various scenarios now, rather than react to this trend at some point in the future. If we wait, we’ll be trying to “swim up the backside of the wave” as my wise and wonderful father-in-law would say.

 



The above reflections occurred after I reviewed the posting out at cmrubinworld.com (with thanks to @STEMbyThomas for this resource):

  • The Global Search for Education: What Does My Robot Think?
    Excerpt:
    The Global Search for Education is pleased to welcome Ling Lee, Co-Curator of Robots and the Contemporary Science Manager for Exhibitions at the Science Museum in London, to discuss the impact of robots on our past and future.

 

 

 



 

 

Australian start-up taps IBM Watson to launch language translation earpiece — from prnewswire.com
World’s first available independent translation earpiece, powered by AI to be in the hands of consumers by July

Excerpts:

SYDNEY, June 12, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Lingmo International, an Australian technology start-up, has today launched Translate One2One, an earpiece powered by IBM Watson that can efficiently translate spoken conversations within seconds, being the first of its kind to hit global markets next month.

Unveiled at last week’s United Nations Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Good Summit in Geneva, Switzerland, the Translate One2One earpiece supports translations across English, Japanese, French, Italian, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, German and Chinese. Available to purchase today for delivery in July, the earpiece carries a price tag of $179 USD, and is the first independent translation device that doesn’t rely on Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connectivity.

 

Lingmo International, an Australian technology start-up, has today launched Translate One2One, an earpiece powered by IBM Watson that can efficiently translate spoken conversations within seconds.

 

 

From DSC:
How much longer before this sort of technology gets integrated into videoconferencing and transcription tools that are used in online-based courses — enabling global learning at a scale never seen before? (Or perhaps NLP-based tools are already being integrated into global MOOCs and the like…not sure.) It would surely allow for us to learn from each other in a variety of societies throughout the globe.

 

 

 

The first state to offer free community college to nearly every adult – from npr.org by Emily Siner

Excerpt:

The opportunity to go to college for free is more available than ever before. States and cities, in the last year especially, have funded programs for students to go to two-year, and in some cases, four-year, schools.

Tennessee has taken the idea one step further. Community college is already free for graduating high school students. Now Tennessee is first state in the country to offer community college — free of charge — to almost any adult.

Republican Gov. Bill Haslam has long preached the importance of getting adults back to school. He says it’s the only way that more than half of Tennesseans will get a college degree or certificate.

And the program is simple: If you don’t have a degree, and you want one, your tuition is free.

 

From DSC:
I’m listing universities and colleges as some of the selected keywords/categories here as well, as such institutions will certainly be significantly impacted if this becomes a trend.

Increasingly, people need to reinvent themselves in order to remain marketable and employed — and to do so as quickly and cost-effectively as possible. That’s what I want to be involved in/with. But the direction that I would like to personally pursue is the development of a next generation learning platform/paradigm/system that helps people reinvent themselves, quickly and cost-effectively.* A system that offers constant, up-to-date, curated micro-learning streams of content on a lifelong basis. Team-based efforts will leverage this platform within K-12, higher ed, as well as in corporate learning & development space. Such a system will be accessed on the road, at home, in the office, in group study spaces/learning hubs, as well as in the classrooms across the land.

 

*If you or someone you know is working on a state-of-the-art, next generation learning platform, please email me at danielchristian55@gmail.com and let me know. I would greatly appreciate being involved in the development of this kind of learning platform — working on what the various pieces/tools should be and how the various features should work and interoperate. I can plug into other areas as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

From DSC — in regards to the below item involving Intel:

In the future, will we be able to bring remote students into our face-to-face-based classrooms using technologies similar to what Intel is working on? If so, that would offer some serious opportunities for learners worldwide. More choice, more control.

 



How Intel is using VR to try to change sports viewing now and into the future — from fastcompany.com by Daniel Terdiman

The tech giant has grand ambitions, and thinks that fully immersive live sports is the key to giving fans what they want–someday.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

There are hundreds of millions, if not billions, of passionate sports fans around the world. And yet, according to Intel, no more than 1% of those people will ever get to see their favorite team in person.

That massive experience gap is at the center of Intel’s ambitious live-sports virtual reality efforts, a series of initiatives that over the next couple of years should solidify the company’s “as if you’re there” philosophy about sports, said Jeff Hopper, the business strategy lead at Intel Sports Group.

In the short term, those efforts will focus on single-user, individual experiences. But over time, Intel plans on making it possible for fans to be right in the middle of their favorite team’s action, create personalized 3D highlights, and share them with friends.

Fans watching the games—via Intel’s True VR app on Samsung’s Gear VR headset—will be able to choose from multiple camera angles around a stadium, each of which will give them a wide, immersive view of the action.

 



 

 

 

 



 

 

A question/reflection from DSC:


Will #MOOCs provide the necessary data for #AI-based intelligent agents/algorithms? Reminds me of Socratic.org:


 

 


Somewhat related:

 
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