LinkedIn Learning Opens Its Platform (Slightly) [Young]

LinkedIn Learning Opens Its Platform (Slightly) — from edsurge by Jeff Young

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

A few years ago, in a move toward professional learning, LinkedIn bought Lynda.com for $1.5 billion, adding the well-known library of video-based courses to its professional social network. Today LinkedIn officials announced that they plan to open up their platform to let in educational videos from other providers as well—but with a catch or two.

The plan, announced Friday, is to let companies or colleges who already subscribe to LinkedIn Learning add content from a select group of other providers. The company or college will still have to subscribe to those other services separately, so it’s essentially an integration—but it does mark a change in approach.

For LinkedIn, the goal is to become the front door for employees as they look for micro-courses for professional development.

 

LinkedIn also announced another service for its LinkedIn Learning platform called Q&A, which will give subscribers the ability to pose a question they have about the video lessons they’re taking. The question will first be sent to bots, but if that doesn’t yield an answer the query will be sent on to other learners, and in some cases the instructor who created the videos.

 

 

Also see:

LinkedIn becomes a serious open learning experience platform — from clomedia.com by Josh Bersin
LinkedIn is becoming a dominant learning solution with some pretty interesting competitive advantages, according to one learning analyst.

Excerpt:

LinkedIn has become quite a juggernaut in the corporate learning market. Last time I checked the company had more than 17 million users, 14,000 corporate customers, more than 3,000 courses and was growing at high double-digit rates. And all this in only about two years.

And the company just threw down the gauntlet; it’s now announcing it has completely opened up its learning platform to external content partners. This is the company’s formal announcement that LinkedIn Learning is not just an amazing array of content, it is a corporate learning platform. The company wants to become a single place for all organizational learning content.

 

LinkedIn now offers skills-based learning recommendations to any user through its machine learning algorithms. 

 

 



Is there demand for staying relevant? For learning new skills? For reinventing oneself?

Well…let’s see.

 

 

 

 

 

 



From DSC:
So…look out higher ed and traditional forms of accreditation — your window of opportunity may be starting to close. Alternatives to traditional higher ed continue to appear on the scene and gain momentum. LinkedIn — and/or similar organizations in the future — along with blockchain and big data backed efforts may gain traction in the future and start taking away some major market share. If employers get solid performance from their employees who have gone this route…higher ed better look out. 

Microsoft/LinkedIn/Lynda.com are nicely positioned to be a major player who can offer society a next generation learning platform at an incredible price — offering up-to-date, microlearning along with new forms of credentialing. It’s what I’ve been calling the Amazon.com of higher ed (previously the Walmart of Education) for ~10 years. It will take place in a strategy/platform similar to this one.

 



Also, this is what a guerilla on the back looks like:

 

This is what a guerilla on the back looks like!

 



Also see:

  • Meet the 83-Year-Old App Developer Who Says Edtech Should Better Support Seniors — from edsurge.com by Sydney Johnson
    Excerpt (emphasis DSC):
    Now at age 83, Wakamiya beams with excitement when she recounts her journey, which has been featured in news outlets and even at Apple’s developer conference last year. But through learning how to code, she believes that experience offers an even more important lesson to today’s education and technology companies: don’t forget about senior citizens.Today’s education technology products overwhelmingly target young people. And while there’s a growing industry around serving adult learners in higher education, companies largely neglect to consider the needs of the elderly.

 

 

From DSC:
I have often reflected on differentiation or what some call personalized learning and/or customized learning. How does a busy teacher, instructor, professor, or trainer achieve this, realistically?

It’s very difficult and time-consuming to do for sure. But it also requires a team of specialists to achieve such a holy grail of learning — as one person can’t know it all. That is, one educator doesn’t have the necessary time, skills, or knowledge to address so many different learning needs and levels!

  • Think of different cognitive capabilities — from students that have special learning needs and challenges to gifted students
  • Or learners that have different physical capabilities or restrictions
  • Or learners that have different backgrounds and/or levels of prior knowledge
  • Etc., etc., etc.

Educators  and trainers have so many things on their plates that it’s very difficult to come up with _X_ lesson plans/agendas/personalized approaches, etc.  On the other side of the table, how do students from a vast array of backgrounds and cognitive skill levels get the main points of a chapter or piece of text? How can they self-select the level of difficulty and/or start at a “basics” level and work one’s way up to harder/more detailed levels if they can cognitively handle that level of detail/complexity? Conversely, how do I as a learner get the boiled down version of a piece of text?

Well… just as with the flipped classroom approach, I’d like to suggest that we flip things a bit and enlist teams of specialists at the publishers to fulfill this need. Move things to the content creation end — not so much at the delivery end of things. Publishers’ teams could play a significant, hugely helpful role in providing customized learning to learners.

Some of the ways that this could happen:

Use an HTML like language when writing a textbook, such as:

<MainPoint> The text for the main point here. </MainPoint>

<SubPoint1>The text for the subpoint 1 here.</SubPoint1>

<DetailsSubPoint1>More detailed information for subpoint 1 here.</DetailsSubPoint1>

<SubPoint2>The text for the subpoint 2 here.</SubPoint2>

<DetailsSubPoint2>More detailed information for subpoint 2 here.</DetailsSubPoint2>

<SubPoint3>The text for the subpoint 3 here.</SubPoint3>

<DetailsSubPoint3>More detailed information for subpoint 3 here.</DetailsSubPoint1>

<SummaryOfMainPoints>A list of the main points that a learner should walk away with.</SummaryOfMainPoints>

<BasicsOfMainPoints>Here is a listing of the main points, but put in alternative words and more basic ways of expressing those main points. </BasicsOfMainPoints>

<Conclusion> The text for the concluding comments here.</Conclusion>

 

<BasicsOfMainPoints> could be called <AlternativeExplanations>
Bottom line: This tag would be to put things forth using very straightforward terms.

Another tag would be to address how this topic/chapter is relevant:
<RealWorldApplication>This short paragraph should illustrate real world examples

of this particular topic. Why does this topic matter? How is it relevant?</RealWorldApplication>

 

On the students’ end, they could use an app that works with such tags to allow a learner to quickly see/review the different layers. That is:

  • Show me just the main points
  • Then add on the sub points
  • Then fill in the details
    OR
  • Just give me the basics via an alternative ways of expressing these things. I won’t remember all the details. Put things using easy-to-understand wording/ideas.

 

It’s like the layers of a Microsoft HoloLens app of the human anatomy:

 

Or it’s like different layers of a chapter of a “textbook” — so a learner could quickly collapse/expand the text as needed:

 

This approach could be helpful at all kinds of learning levels. For example, it could be very helpful for law school students to obtain outlines for cases or for chapters of information. Similarly, it could be helpful for dental or medical school students to get the main points as well as detailed information.

Also, as Artificial Intelligence (AI) grows, the system could check a learner’s cloud-based learner profile to see their reading level or prior knowledge, any IEP’s on file, their learning preferences (audio, video, animations, etc.), etc. to further provide a personalized/customized learning experience. 

To recap:

  • “Textbooks” continue to be created by teams of specialists, but add specialists with knowledge of students with special needs as well as for gifted students. For example, a team could have experts within the field of Special Education to help create one of the overlays/or filters/lenses — i.e., to reword things. If the text was talking about how to hit a backhand or a forehand, the alternative text layer could be summed up to say that tennis is a sport…and that a sport is something people play. On the other end of the spectrum, the text could dive deeply into the various grips a person could use to hit a forehand or backhand.
  • This puts the power of offering differentiation at the point of content creation/development (differentiation could also be provided for at the delivery end, but again, time and expertise are likely not going to be there)
  • Publishers create “overlays” or various layers that can be turned on or off by the learners
  • Can see whole chapters or can see main ideas, topic sentences, and/or details. Like HTML tags for web pages.
  • Can instantly collapse chapters to main ideas/outlines.

 

 

Robots won’t replace instructors, 2 Penn State educators argue. Instead, they’ll help them be ‘more human.’ — from edsurge.com by Tina Nazerian

Excerpt:

Specifically, it will help them prepare for and teach their courses through several phases—ideation, design, assessment, facilitation, reflection and research. The two described a few prototypes they’ve built to show what that might look like.

 

Also see:

The future of education: Online, free, and with AI teachers? — from fool.com by Simon Erickson
Duolingo is using artificial intelligence to teach 300 million people a foreign language for free. Will this be the future of education?

Excerpts:

While it might not get a lot of investor attention, education is actually one of America’s largest markets.

The U.S. has 20 million undergraduates enrolled in colleges and universities right now and another 3 million enrolled in graduate programs. Those undergrads paid an average of $17,237 for tuition, room, and board at public institutions in the 2016-17 school year and $44,551 for private institutions. Graduate education varies widely by area of focus, but the average amount paid for tuition alone was $24,812 last year.

Add all of those up, and America’s students are paying more than half a trillion dollars each year for their education! And that doesn’t even include the interest amassed for student loans, the college-branded merchandise, or all the money spent on beer and coffee.

Keeping the costs down
Several companies are trying to find ways to make college more affordable and accessible.

 

But after we launched, we have so many users that nowadays if the system wants to figure out whether it should teach plurals before adjectives or adjectives before plurals, it just runs a test with about 50,000 people. So for the next 50,000 people that sign up, which takes about six hours for 50,000 new users to come to Duolingo, to half of them it teaches plurals before adjectives. To the other half it teaches adjectives before plurals. And then it measures which ones learn better. And so once and for all it can figure out, ah it turns out for this particular language to teach plurals before adjectives for example.

So every week the system is improving. It’s making itself better at teaching by learning from our learners. So it’s doing that just based on huge amounts of data. And this is why it’s become so successful I think at teaching and why we have so many users.

 

 

From DSC:
I see AI helping learners, instructors, teachers, and trainers. I see AI being a tool to help do some of the heavy lifting, but people still like to learn with other people…with actual human beings. That said, a next generation learning platform could be far more responsive than what today’s traditional institutions of higher education are delivering.

 

 

From DSC:
Ever notice how effective Ted Talks begin? They seek to instantly grab your attention with a zinger question, a somewhat shocking statement, an interesting story, a joke, an important problem or an issue, a personal anecdote or experience, a powerful image/photo/graphic, a brief demonstration, and the like.

Grabbing someone’s attention is a key first step in getting a piece of information into someone’s short-term memory — what I call getting through “the gate.” If we can’t get through the gate into someone’s short-term memory, we have zero (0) chance of having them actually process that information and to think about and engage with that piece of content. If we can’t make it into someone’s short-term memory, we can’t get that piece of information into their long-term memory for later retrieval/recall. There won’t be any return on investment (ROI) in that case.

 

 

So why not try starting up one of your classes this week with a zinger question, a powerful image/photo/video, or a story from your own work experience? I’ll bet you’ll grab your students’ attentions instantly! Then you can move on into the material for a greater ROI. From there, offering frequent, low-stakes quizzes will hopefully help your students slow down their forgetting curves and help them practice recalling/retrieving that information. By the way, that’s why stories are quite powerful. We often remember them better. So if you can weave an illustrative story into your next class, your students might really benefit from it come final test time!

Also relevant/see:

Ready, set, speak: 5 strong ways to start your next presentation — from abovethelaw.com by Olga Mack, with thanks to Mr. Otto Stockmeyer for this resource
No matter which of these five ways you decide to launch your presentation, ensure that you make it count, and make it memorable.

Excerpts:

  1. Tell a captivating story
  2. Ask thought-provoking questions to the audience
  3. State a shocking headline or statistic
  4. Use a powerful quote
  5. Use silence
    When delivering a speech, a pause of about three or even as many as 10 seconds will allow your audience to sit and quiet down. Because most people always expect the speaker to start immediately, this silence will thus catch the attention of the audience. They will be instinctively more interested in what you had to say, and why you took your time to say it. This time will also help you gather your nerves and prepare to speak.

 

 

 

Reflections on “Inside Amazon’s artificial intelligence flywheel” [Levy]

Inside Amazon’s artificial intelligence flywheel — from wired.com by Steven Levy
How deep learning came to power Alexa, Amazon Web Services, and nearly every other division of the company.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Amazon loves to use the word flywheel to describe how various parts of its massive business work as a single perpetual motion machine. It now has a powerful AI flywheel, where machine-learning innovations in one part of the company fuel the efforts of other teams, who in turn can build products or offer services to affect other groups, or even the company at large. Offering its machine-learning platforms to outsiders as a paid service makes the effort itself profitable—and in certain cases scoops up yet more data to level up the technology even more.

It took a lot of six-pagers to transform Amazon from a deep-learning wannabe into a formidable power. The results of this transformation can be seen throughout the company—including in a recommendations system that now runs on a totally new machine-learning infrastructure. Amazon is smarter in suggesting what you should read next, what items you should add to your shopping list, and what movie you might want to watch tonight. And this year Thirumalai started a new job, heading Amazon search, where he intends to use deep learning in every aspect of the service.

“If you asked me seven or eight years ago how big a force Amazon was in AI, I would have said, ‘They aren’t,’” says Pedro Domingos, a top computer science professor at the University of Washington. “But they have really come on aggressively. Now they are becoming a force.”

Maybe the force.

 

 

From DSC:
When will we begin to see more mainstream recommendation engines for learning-based materials? With the demand for people to reinvent themselves, such a next generation learning platform can’t come soon enough!

  • Turning over control to learners to create/enhance their own web-based learner profiles; and allowing people to say who can access their learning profiles.
  • AI-based recommendation engines to help people identify curated, effective digital playlists for what they want to learn about.
  • Voice-driven interfaces.
  • Matching employees to employers.
  • Matching one’s learning preferences (not styles) with the content being presented as one piece of a personalized learning experience.
  • From cradle to grave. Lifelong learning.
  • Multimedia-based, interactive content.
  • Asynchronously and synchronously connecting with others learning about the same content.
  • Online-based tutoring/assistance; remote assistance.
  • Reinvent. Staying relevant. Surviving.
  • Competency-based learning.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’re about to embark on a period in American history where career reinvention will be critical, perhaps more so than it’s ever been before. In the next decade, as many as 50 million American workers—a third of the total—will need to change careers, according to McKinsey Global Institute. Automation, in the form of AI (artificial intelligence) and RPA (robotic process automation), is the primary driver. McKinsey observes: “There are few precedents in which societies have successfully retrained such large numbers of people.”

Bill Triant and Ryan Craig

 

 

 

Also relevant/see:

Online education’s expansion continues in higher ed with a focus on tech skills — from educationdive.com by James Paterson

Dive Brief:

  • Online learning continues to expand in higher ed with the addition of several online master’s degrees and a new for-profit college that offers a hybrid of vocational training and liberal arts curriculum online.
  • Inside Higher Ed reported the nonprofit learning provider edX is offering nine master’s degrees through five U.S. universities — the Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of Texas at Austin, Indiana University, Arizona State University and the University of California, San Diego. The programs include cybersecurity, data science, analytics, computer science and marketing, and they cost from around $10,000 to $22,000. Most offer stackable certificates, helping students who change their educational trajectory.
  • Former Harvard University Dean of Social Science Stephen Kosslyn, meanwhile, will open Foundry College in January. The for-profit, two-year program targets adult learners who want to upskill, and it includes training in soft skills such as critical thinking and problem solving. Students will pay about $1,000 per course, though the college is waiving tuition for its first cohort.

 

 

 

NEW: The Top Tools for Learning 2018 [Jane Hart]

The Top Tools for Learning 2018 from the 12th Annual Digital Learning Tools Survey -- by Jane Hart

 

The above was from Jane’s posting 10 Trends for Digital Learning in 2018 — from modernworkplacelearning.com by Jane Hart

Excerpt:

[On 9/24/18],  I released the Top Tools for Learning 2018 , which I compiled from the results of the 12th Annual Digital Learning Tools Survey.

I have also categorised the tools into 30 different areas, and produced 3 sub-lists that provide some context to how the tools are being used:

  • Top 100 Tools for Personal & Professional Learning 2018 (PPL100): the digital tools used by individuals for their own self-improvement, learning and development – both inside and outside the workplace.
  • Top 100 Tools for Workplace Learning (WPL100): the digital tools used to design, deliver, enable and/or support learning in the workplace.
  • Top 100 Tools for Education (EDU100): the digital tools used by educators and students in schools, colleges, universities, adult education etc.

 

3 – Web courses are increasing in popularity.
Although Coursera is still the most popular web course platform, there are, in fact, now 12 web course platforms on the list. New additions this year include Udacity and Highbrow (the latter provides daily micro-lessons). It is clear that people like these platforms because they can chose what they want to study as well as how they want to study, ie. they can dip in and out if they want to and no-one is going to tell them off – which is unlike most corporate online courses which have a prescribed path through them and their use is heavily monitored.

 

 

5 – Learning at work is becoming personal and continuous.
The most significant feature of the list this year is the huge leap up the list that Degreed has made – up 86 places to 47th place – the biggest increase by any tool this year. Degreed is a lifelong learning platform and provides the opportunity for individuals to own their expertise and development through a continuous learning approach. And, interestingly, Degreed appears both on the PPL100 (at  30) and WPL100 (at 52). This suggests that some organisations are beginning to see the importance of personal, continuous learning at work. Indeed, another platform that underpins this, has also moved up the list significantly this year, too. Anders Pink is a smart curation platform available for both individuals and teams which delivers daily curated resources on specified topics. Non-traditional learning platforms are therefore coming to the forefront, as the next point further shows.

 

 

From DSC:
Perhaps some foreshadowing of the presence of a powerful, online-based, next generation learning platform…?

 

 

 

Aligning the business model of college with student needs: How WGU is disrupting higher education — from christenseninstitute.org by Alana Dunagan

Excerpt:

Since its inception, Western Governors University (WGU) has aimed to serve learners otherwise shut out of the traditional system. Now, the groundbreaking institution has both graduated 100,000 students and has over 100,000 students currently enrolled. These milestones demonstrate WGU’s ability to scale its high-quality, low-cost model, signaling a momentous shift in the higher education landscape.

In the mid-1990s, governors of 19 states across the western United States were concerned about bringing accessible college education to rural populations, especially working adults.These governors, led by Utah Governor Mike Leavitt, decided to explore building a new university to address the challenge. As the memorandum of understanding between those governors that officially marked the founding of WGU stated, “The strength and well-being of our states and the nation depend increasingly on a strong higher education system that helps individuals adapt to our rapidly changing economy and society. States must look to telecommunications and information technologies to provide greater access and choice to a population that increasingly must have affordable education and training opportunities and the certification of competency throughout their lives.”

 

Now in its third decade, WGU has students in every U.S. state and has over 100,000 enrolled students—a 230% increase since 2011. 

 



Excerpts from their paper:

The potential of competency-based education
Competency-based education is an approach to learning that allows students to determine the pace of their learning and move ahead once they demonstrate mastery in a concept. As described by Clayton Christensen and Michelle Weise:

Competency-based programs have no time-based unit. Learning is fixed, and time is variable; pacing is flexible. Students cannot move on until they have demonstrated proficiency and mastery of each competency but are encouraged to try as many times as necessary to demonstrate their proficiency. Although skeptics may question the “rigor” behind an experience that allows students to keep trying until they have mastered a competency, this model is actually far more rigorous than the traditional model, as students are not able to flunk or get away with a merely average understanding of the material; they must demonstrate mastery—and therefore dedicated work toward gaining mastery—in any competency.

Competency-based education first took hold in the K-12 education system, but it is also growing in higher education. As of fall 2015, roughly 600 institutions were using or exploring competency-based programs in higher education.13 However, only a handful of institutions are using competency-based education exclusively and have designed their business models around it.

WGU offers programs across four industry areas: education, business, information technology, and healthcare. All of these programs are offered online; unlike most higher education institutions, WGU has no physical campus. Instead, it has invested heavily in a technology platform that allows it to deliver curriculum asynchronously, to wherever students are. In addition to its online platform, another unique aspect of WGU’s resources is its approach to faculty. In traditional institutions, faculty are responsible for academic research, course development, teaching, assessment, and advising students. Alternatively, WGU’s model unbundles the faculty role into component parts, with specialists in each role.

 

A rubric for evaluating e-learning tools in higher education — from er.educause.edu by Lauren Anstey and Gavan Watson
The Rubric for E-Learning Tool Evaluation offers educators a framework, with criteria and levels of achievement, to assess the suitability of an e-learning tool for their learners’ needs and for their own learning outcomes and classroom context.

Excerpt:

We organized our rubric’s evaluation criteria into eight categories (functionality; accessibility; technical; mobile design; privacy, data protection, and rights; social presence; teaching presence; cognitive presence). Each category has a specific set of characteristics, or criteria, against which e-learning tools are evaluated, and each criterion is assessed against three standards: works well, minor concerns, or serious concerns. Finally, the rubric offers individual descriptions of the qualities an e-learning tool must have to achieve a standard.

Although our rubric integrates a broad range of functional, technical, and pedagogical criteria, it is not intended to be overly prescriptive. Our goal is for the framework to respond to an instructor’s needs and be adapted as appropriate. For example, when a rubric criterion is not relevant to the assessment of a particular tool, it can be excluded without impacting the overall quality of the assessment.

The rubric reflects our belief that instructors should choose e-learning tools in the context of the learning experience. We therefore encourage an explicit alignment between the instructor’s intended outcomes and the tool, based on principles of constructive alignment. Given the diversity of outcomes across learning experiences, e-learning tools should be chosen on a case-by-case basis and should be tailored to each instructor’s intended learning outcomes and planned instructional activities. We designed the rubric with this intention in mind.

The Rubric for E-Learning Tool Evaluation offers educators a framework, with criteria and levels of achievement, to assess the suitability of an e-learning tool for their learners’ needs and for their own learning outcomes and classroom context. The rubric was designed with utility in mind: it is intended to help decision-makers independently evaluate e-learning tools.

 

 

 

Adobe Announces the 2019 Release of Adobe Captivate, Introducing Virtual Reality for eLearning Design — from theblog.adobe.com

Excerpt:

  • Immersive learning with VR experiences: Design learning scenarios that your learners can experience in Virtual Reality using VR headsets. Import 360° media assets and add hotspots, quizzes and other interactive elements to engage your learners with near real-life scenarios
  • Interactive videos: Liven up demos and training videos by making them interactive with the new Adobe Captivate. Create your own or bring in existing YouTube videos, add questions at specific points and conduct knowledge checks to aid learner remediation
  • Fluid Boxes 2.0: Explore the building blocks of Smart eLearning design with intelligent containers that use white space optimally. Objects placed in Fluid Boxes get aligned automatically so that learners always get fully responsive experience regardless of their device or browser.
  • 360° learning experiences: Augment the learning landscape with 360° images and videos and convert them into interactive eLearning material with customizable overlay items such as information blurbs, audio content & quizzes.

 

 

Blippar unveils indoor visual positioning system to anchor AR — from martechtoday.com by Barry Levine
Employing machine vision to recognize mapped objects, the company says it can determine which way a user is looking and can calculate positioning down to a centimeter.

A Blippar visualization of AR using its new indoor visual positioning system

 

The Storyteller’s Guide to the Virtual Reality Audience — from medium.com by Katy Newton

Excerpt:

To even scratch the surface of these questions, we need to better understand the audience’s experience in VR — not just their experience of the technology, but the way that they understand story and their role within it.

 

 

Hospital introducing HoloLens augmented reality into the operating room — from medgadget.com

Excerpt:

HoloLens technology is being paired with Microsoft’s Surface Hub, a kind of digital whiteboard. The idea is that the surgical team can gather together around a Surface Hub to review patient information, discuss the details of a procedure, and select what information should be readily accessible during surgery. During the procedure, a surgeon wearing a HoloLens would be able to review a CT or MRI scan, access other data in the electronic medical records, and to be able to manipulate these so as to get a clear picture of what is being worked on and what needs to be done.

 

 

Raleigh Fire Department invests in virtual reality to enrich training — from vrfocus.com by Nikholai Koolon
New system allows department personnel to learn new skills through immersive experiences.

Excerpt:

The VR solution allows emergency medical services (EMS) personnel to dive into a rich and detailed environment which allows them to pinpoint portions of the body to dissect. This then allows them then see each part of the body in great detail along with viewing it from any angle. The goal is to allow for users to gain the experience to diagnose injuries from a variety of vantage points all where working within an virtual environment capable of displaying countless scenarios.

 

 

For another emerging technology, see:

Someday this tiny spider bot could perform surgery inside your body — from fastcompany.com by Jesus Diaz
The experimental robots could also fix airplane engines and find disaster victims.

Excerpt:

A team of Harvard University researchers recently achieved a major breakthrough in robotics, engineering a tiny spider robot using tech that could one day work inside your body to repair tissues or destroy tumors. Their work could not only change medicine–by eliminating invasive surgeries–but could also have an impact on everything from how industrial machines are maintained to how disaster victims are rescued.

Until now, most advanced, small-scale robots followed a certain model: They tend to be built at the centimeter scale and have only one degree of freedom, which means they can only perform one movement. Not so with this new ‘bot, developed by scientists at Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and Boston University. It’s built at the millimeter scale, and because it’s made of flexible materials–easily moved by pneumatic and hydraulic power–the critter has an unprecedented 18 degrees of freedom.

 


Plus some items from a few weeks ago


 

After almost a decade and billions in outside investment, Magic Leap’s first product is finally on sale for $2,295. Here’s what it’s like. — from

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

I liked that it gave a new perspective to the video clip I’d watched: It threw the actual game up on the wall alongside the kind of information a basketball fan would want, including 3-D renderings and stats. Today, you might turn to your phone for that information. With Magic Leap, you wouldn’t have to.

Abovitz also said that intelligent assistants will play a big role in Magic Leap’s future. I didn’t get to test one, but Abovitz says he’s working with a team in Los Angeles that’s developing high-definition people that will appear to Magic Leap users and assist with tasks. Think Siri, Alexa or Google Assistant, but instead of speaking to your phone, you’d be speaking to a realistic-looking human through Magic Leap. Or you might be speaking to an avatar of someone real.

“You might need a doctor who can come to you,” Abovitz said. “AI that appears in front of you can give you eye contact and empathy.”

 

And I loved the idea of being able to place a digital TV screen anywhere I wanted.

 

 

Magic Leap One Available For Purchase, Starting At $2,295 — from vrscout.com by Kyle Melnick

Excerpt:

December of last year U.S. startup Magic Leap unveiled its long-awaited mixed reality headset, a secretive device five years and $2.44B USD in the making.

This morning that same headset, now referred to as the Magic Leap One Creator Edition, became available for purchase in the U.S. On sale to creators at a hefty starting price of $2,275, the computer spatial device utilizes synthetic lightfields to capture natural lightwaves and superimpose interactive, 3D content over the real-world.

 

 

 

Magic Leap One First Hands-On Impressions for HoloLens Developers — from magic-leap.reality.news

Excerpt:

After spending about an hour with the headset running through set up and poking around its UI and a couple of the launch day apps, I thought it would be helpful to share a quick list of some of my first impressions as someone who’s spent a lot of time with a HoloLens over the past couple years and try to start answering many of the burning questions I’ve had about the device.

 

 

World Campus researches effectiveness of VR headsets and video in online classes — from news.psu.edu

Excerpt:

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State instructional designers are researching whether using virtual reality and 360-degree video can help students in online classes learn more effectively.

Designers worked with professors in the College of Nursing to incorporate 360-degree video into Nursing 352, a class on Advanced Health Assessment. Students in the class, offered online through Penn State World Campus, were offered free VR headsets to use with their smartphones to create a more immersive experience while watching the video, which shows safety and health hazards in a patient’s home.

Bill Egan, the lead designer for the Penn State World Campus RN to BSN nursing program, said students in the class were surveyed as part of a study approved by the Institutional Review Board and overwhelmingly said that they enjoyed the videos and thought they provided educational value. Eighty percent of the students said they would like to see more immersive content such as 360-degree videos in their online courses, he said.

 

 

7 Practical Problems with VR for eLearning — from learnupon.com

Excerpt:

In this post, we run through some practical stumbling blocks that prevent VR training from being feasible for most.

There are quite a number of practical considerations which prevent VR from totally overhauling the corporate training world. Some are obvious, whilst others only become apparent after using the technology a number of times. It’s important to be made aware of these limitations so that a large investment isn’t made in tech that isn’t really practical for corporate training.

 

Augmented reality – the next big thing for HR? — from hrdconnect.com
Augmented reality (AR) could have a huge impact on HR, transforming long-established processes into engaging and exciting something. What will this look like? How can we shape this into our everyday working lives?

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

AR also has the potential to revolutionise our work lives, changing the way we think about office spaces and equipment forever.

Most of us still commute to an office every day, which can be a time-consuming and stressful experience. AR has the potential to turn any space into your own customisable workspace, complete with digital notes, folders and files – even a digital photo of your loved ones. This would give you access to all the information and tools that you would typically find in an office, but wherever and whenever you need them.

And instead of working on a flat, stationary, two-dimensional screen, your workspace would be a customisable three-dimensional space, where objects and information are manipulated with gestures rather than hardware. All you would need is an AR headset.

AR could also transform the way we advertise brands and share information. Imagine if your organisation had an AR stand at a conference – how engaging would that be for potential customers? How much more interesting and fun would meetings be if we used AR to present information instead of slides on a projector?

AR could transform the on-boarding experience into something fun and interactive – imagine taking an AR tour of your office, where information about key places, company history or your new colleagues pops into view as you go from place to place. 

 

 

RETINA Are Bringing Augmented Reality To Air Traffic Control Towers — from vrfocus.com by Nikholai Koolonavi

Excerpt:

A new project is aiming to make it easier for staff in airport control towers to visualize information to help make their job easier by leveraging augmented reality (AR) technology. The project, dubbed RETINA, is looking to modernise Europe’s air traffic management for safer, smarter and even smoother air travel.

 

 

 

15 more companies that no longer require a degree — apply now — from glassdoor.com

Excerpt:

With college tuition soaring nationwide, many Americans don’t have the time or money to earn a college degree. However, that doesn’t mean your job prospects are diminished. Increasingly, there are many companies offering well-paying jobs to those with non-traditional education or a high-school diploma.

Google and Ernest & Young are just two of the champion companies who realize that book smarts don’t necessarily equal strong work ethic, grit and talent. Whether you have your GED and are looking for a new opportunity or charting your own path beyond the traditional four-year college route, here are 15 companies that have said they do not require a college diploma for some of their top jobs.

 

From DSC:
Several years ago when gas prices were sky high, I couldn’t help but think that some industries — though they were able to grab some significant profits in the short term — were actually shooting themselves in the foot for the longer term. Sure enough, as time went by, people started looking for less expensive alternatives. For example, they started buying more hybrid vehicles, more electric cars, and the sales of smaller cars and lighter trucks increased. The average fuel economy of vehicles went up (example). The goal was to reduce or outright eliminate the number of trips to the gas station that people were required to make.  

These days…I wonder if the same kind of thing is happening — or about to happen — with traditional institutions of higher education*? Are we shooting ourselves in the foot?

Traditional institutions of higher education better find ways to adapt, and to change their game (so to speak), before the alternatives to those organizations gain some major steam. There is danger in the status quo. Count on it. The saying, “Adapt or die” has now come to apply to higher ed as well.

Faculty, staff, and administrators within higher ed are beginning to experience what the corporate world has been experiencing for decades.

Faculty can’t just teach what they want to teach. They can’t just develop courses that they are interested in. The demand for courses that aren’t attractive career-wise will likely continue to decrease. Sure, it can be argued that many of those same courses — especially from the liberal arts colleges — are still valuable…and I would agree with some of those arguments. But the burden of proof continues to be shifted to the shoulders of those proposing such curricula.

Also, the costs of obtaining a degree needs to come down or:

  • The gorillas of debt on peoples’ backs will become a negative word of mouth that will be hard to compete against or adequately address as time goes by
  • The angst towards higher ed will continue to build
  • People will bolt for those promising alternatives to traditional higher ed where the graduates (badge earners, or whatever they’re going to be called) of those programs are hired and shown to be effective employees
  • I hope that this isn’t the case and that it’s not too late to change…but history will likely show that higher ed shot itself in the foot. The warning signs were all over the place.

 

 

The current trends are paving the way for a next generation learning platform that will serve someone from cradle to grave.

 

 

* I realize that many in higher ed would immediately dispute that their organizations are out to grab short term profits, that they don’t operate like a business, that they don’t operate under the same motivations as the corporate world, etc.  And I can see some of these folks’ points, no doubt. I may even agree with some of the folks who represent organizations who freely share information with other organizations and have motivations other than making tons of money.  But for those folks who staunchly hold to the belief that higher ed isn’t a business at all — well, for me, that’s taking things way too far. I do not agree with that perspective at all. One has to have their eyes (and minds) closed to cling to that perspective anymore. Just don’t ask those folks to tell you how much their presidents make (along with other higher-level members of their administrations), the salaries of the top football coaches, or how many millions of dollars many universities’ receive for their television contracts and/or their ticket sales, or how much revenue research universities bring in from patents and so on and so forth.

 

 



Addendum on 8/24, per University Ventures e-newsletter

2. Facebook Goes Back to College (emphasis DSC)
TechCrunch report on how digital giants are buying into Last-Mile Training by partnering with Pathstream to deliver necessary digital skills to community college students.
Most good first jobs specifically require one or more technologies like Facebook or Unity — technologies that colleges and universities aren’t teaching. If Pathstream is able to realize its vision of integrating industry-relevant software training into degree programs in a big way, colleges and universities have a shot at maintaining their stranglehold as the sole pathway to successful careers. If Pathstream’s impact is more limited, watch for millions of students to sidestep traditional colleges, and enroll in emerging faster and cheaper alternative pathways to good first jobs — alternative pathways that will almost certainly integrate the kind of last-mile training being pioneered by Pathstream.

 

America’s colleges and universities could learn a thing or two from Leo, because they continue to resist teaching students the practical things they’ll need to know as soon as they graduate; for instance, to get jobs that will allow them to make student loan payments. Digital skills head this list, specifically experience with the high-powered software they’ll be required to use every day in entry-level positions.

But talk to a college president or provost about the importance of Marketo, HubSpot, Pardot, Tableau, Adobe and Autodesk for their graduates, and they’re at a loss for how to integrate last-mile training into their degree programs in order prepare students to work on these essential software platforms.

Enter a new company, Pathstream, which just announced a partnership with tech leader Unity and previously partnered with Facebook. Pathstream supports the delivery of career-critical software skill training in VR/AR and digital marketing at colleges and universities.

 



 

Addendum on 8/24, per University Ventures e-newsletter
3. Faster + Cheaper Alternatives to College
Inside Higher Education Q&A on upcoming book A New U: Faster + Cheaper Alternatives to College.
Last-mile training is the inevitable by-product of two crises, one generally understood, the other less so. The crisis everyone understands is affordability and unsustainable levels of student loan debt. The other crisis is employability. Nearly half of all college graduates are underemployed in their first job. And we know that underemployment is pernicious and lasting. According to the recent report from Strada’s Institute for the Future of Work, two-thirds of underemployed graduates remain underemployed five years later, and half remain underemployed a decade later. So today’s students no longer buy that tired college line that “we prepare you for your fifth job, not your first job.” They know that if they don’t get a good first job, they’re probably not going to get a good fifth job. As a result, today’s students are laser-focused on getting a good first job in a growing sector of the economy.

 

 

 

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