10 Must Read Books for Learning Designers — from linkedin.com by Amit Garg

Excerpt:

From the 45+ #books that I’ve read in last 2 years here are my top 10 recommendations for #learningdesigners or anyone in #learninganddevelopment

Speaking of recommended books (but from a more technical perspective this time), also see:

10 must-read tech books for 2023 — from enterprisersproject.com by Katie Sanders (Editorial Team)
Get new thinking on the technologies of tomorrow – from AI to cloud and edge – and the related challenges for leaders

10 must-read tech books for 2023 -- from enterprisersproject.com by Katie Sanders

 

Can a Group of MIT Professors Turn a White Paper Into a New Kind of College? — from edsurge.com by Jeffrey R. Young

Excerpt:

A group of professors at Massachusetts Institute of Technology dropped a provocative white paper in September that proposed a new kind of college that would address some of the growing public skepticism of higher education. This week, they took the next step toward bringing their vision from idea to reality.

That next step was holding a virtual forum that brought together a who’s who of college innovation leaders, including presidents of experimental colleges, professors known for novel teaching practices and critical observers of the higher education space.

The MIT professors who authored the white paper tried to make clear that even though they’re from an elite university, they do not have all the answers. Their white paper takes pains to describe itself as a draft framework and to invite input from players across the education ecosystem so they can revise and improve the plan.

IDEAS FOR DESIGNING An Affordable New Educational Institution

IDEAS FOR DESIGNING An Affordable New Educational Institution

The goal of this document is simply to propose some principles and ideas that we hope will lay the groundwork for the future, for an education that will be both more affordable and more effective.

Promotions and titles will be much more closely tied to educational performance—quality, commitment, outcomes, and innovation—than to research outcomes. 

 

These are the most important AI trends, according to top AI experts — from nexxworks.com
Somewhat in the shadow of the (often) overhyped metaverse and Web3 paradigms, AI seems to be developing at great speed. That’s why we asked a group of top AI experts in our network to describe what they think are the most important trends, evolutions and areas of interest of the moment in that domain.

Excerpt:

All of them have different backgrounds and areas of expertise, but some patterns still emerged in their stories, several of them mentioning ethics, the impact on the climate (both positively and negatively), the danger of overhyping, the need for transparency and explainability, interdisciplinary collaborations, robots and the many challenges that still need to be overcome.

But let’s see what they have to say, shall we?

Also relevant/see:

AI IS REVOLUTIONIZING EVERY FIELD AND SCIENCE IS NO EXCEPTION — from dataconomy.com by KEREM GÜLEN

Table of Contents

  • Artificial intelligence in science
    • Artificial intelligence in science: Biology
    • Artificial intelligence in science: Physics
    • Artificial intelligence in science: Chemistry
  • AI in science and research
    • How is AI used in scientific research?
      • Protein structures can be predicted using genetic data
      • Recognizing how climate change affects cities and regions
      • Analyzing astronomical data
  • AI in science examples
    • Interpreting social history with archival data
    • Using satellite images to aid in conservation
    • Understanding complex organic chemistry
  • Conclusion

Also relevant/see:

  • How ‘Responsible AI’ Is Ethically Shaping Our Future — from learningsolutionsmag.com by Markus Bernhardt
    Excerpt:
    The PwC 2022 AI Business Survey finds that “AI success is becoming the rule, not the exception,” and, according to PwC US, published in the 2021 AI Predictions & 2021 Responsible AI Insights Report, “Responsible AI is the leading priority among industry leaders for AI applications in 2021, with emphasis on improving privacy, explainability, bias detection, and governance.”
  • Why you need an AI ethics committee — from enterprisersproject.com by Reid Blackman (requires providing email address to get the article)
 

Teaching: Flipping a Class Helps — but Not for the Reason You’d Think — from the Teaching newsletter out at The Chronicle of Higher Education by Beckie Supiano

Excerpt:

The authors propose a different model of flipping that gives their paper its title, “Fail, Flip, Fix, and Feed — Rethinking Flipped Learning: A Review of Meta-Analyses and a Subsequent Meta-Analysis.”

Their model:

  • Fail: Give students a chance to try solving problems. They won’t have all the information needed to arrive at the solution, but the attempt activates their prior learning and primes them for the coming content.
  • Flip: Deliver the content ahead of class, perhaps in a video lecture.
  • Fix: During class time, a traditional lecture can deepen understanding and correct misperceptions.
  • Feed: Formative assessment lets students check their level of understanding.

I find this paper interesting for a number of reasons. It ties into a challenge I’d like to dig into in the future: the gap that can exist between a teaching approach as described in research literature and as applied in the classroom.

From DSC:
Though I haven’t read this analysis (please accept my apology here), I would hope that it would also mention one of the key benefits of the flipped classroom approach — giving students more control over the pacing of the content. Students can stop, fast-forward, rewind, and pause the content as necessary. This is very helpful for all students, but especially for students who don’t have English as their primary language.

I like this approach because if students fail to solve the problem at first, they will likely be listening more/very carefully as to how to solve it:

Drawing on related research, we proposed a more specific model for flipping, “Fail, Flip, Fix, and Feed” whereby students are asked to first engage in generating solutions to novel problems even if they fail to generate the correct solutions, before receiving instructions.

Plus, students will begin to recall/activate their prior knowledge on a subject in order to try to solve the problem. That retrieval practice in and of itself can be helpful.

 

What researchers learned about online higher education during the pandemic — from hechingerreport.org by Jon Marcus
Its massive expansion created a worldwide laboratory to finally assess how well it works

Excerpts:

Now the results of this experiment are starting to come in. They suggest that online higher education may work better than pre-pandemic research showed, and that it is evolving decisively toward a combination of in-person and online, or “blended,” classes.

“Initially when we were doing that research it was always on the class or the course level and very rarely were you able to see how online education worked across programs and across institutions,” never mind across the world, said Michael Brown, assistant professor of higher education and student affairs at the Iowa State University School of Education.

By last year, more than half of all faculty said they “agreed” or “strongly agreed” that they wanted to combine online with face-to-face instruction, a Bay View Analytics survey found. A Harvard University task force found that 82 percent of faculty there were interested in adding digital tools they adopted while teaching remotely to their in-person classes.

“It’s going to take years for us to really be able to see, out of the things coming out of the pandemic, what works well, what works well in some settings and what works well for some students and not for others,” Hart said.


Also from hechingerreport.org by Jon Marcus, see:


 

A $500 Million International Project Will Create the Most Detailed Map of the Brain Ever — from singularityhub.com by Edd Gent

Excerpt:

That’s why the National Institutes of Health’s BRAIN Initiative has just announced $500 million in funding over five years for an effort to characterize and map neuronal and other types of cells across the entire human brain. The project will be spearheaded by the Allen Institute in Seattle, but involves collaborations across 17 other institutions in the US, Europe, and Japan.

“These awards will enable researchers to explore the multifaceted characteristics of the more than 200 billion neurons and non-neuronal cells in the human brain at unprecedented detail and scale,” John Ngai, director of the NIH BRAIN Initiative, said in a statement.

From DSC:
The LORD does awesome work. I wonder how many of these scientists and researchers will become believers while doing this project.

Proverbs 27:1

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

 

The real strength of weak ties — from news.stanford.edu; with thanks to Roberto Ferraro for this resource
A team of Stanford, MIT, and Harvard scientists finds “weaker ties” are more beneficial for job seekers on LinkedIn.

Excerpt:

A team of researchers from Stanford, MIT, Harvard, and LinkedIn recently conducted the largest experimental study to date on the impact of digital job sites on the labor market and found that weaker social connections have a greater beneficial effect on job mobility than stronger ties.

“A practical implication of the research is that it’s helpful to reach out to people beyond your immediate friends and colleagues when looking for a new job,” explained Erik Brynjolfsson, who is the Jerry Yang and Akiko Yamazaki Professor at Stanford University. “People with whom you have weaker ties are more likely to have information or connections that are useful and relevant.”

 

Why aren’t people going to college? — from highereddive.com by Rick Seltzer
Many of those who didn’t enroll or complete degrees say college was too expensive — but they also cite stress and career uncertainty, new research finds.

Excerpts:

Researchers offered four main insights for higher education:

  • Who attends college isn’t just a demographic question
  • The education marketplace is fundamentally different today than it has been in the past
  • Higher education’s language is missing the mark, and so are educational pathways
  • Students are willing to pay for college if they know returns will follow

Also relevant/see:

Some High-School Grads Say No to College. Here’s Why — and What Might Change Their Minds. — from chronicle.com by Audrey Williams June

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

The data also underscore how the education marketplace has shifted in recent years, said Adam Burns, chief operations officer and senior research analyst for Edge Research, during a media call. For instance, nearly 47 percent of the young adults surveyed said they had taken a class offered via YouTube or were currently doing so.

“As we all know,” Burns said, “there are more educational options at people’s disposal than ever before.”

MIT Professors Propose a New Kind of University for Post-COVID Era — from edsurge.com by Jeffrey R. Young

Excerpt:

Five professors at Massachusetts Institute of Technology say they have some answers.

They released a white paper yesterday called “Ideas For Designing An Affordable New Educational Institution,” where they lay out a framework for essentially a new class of university that would take advantage of various trends that have emerged in the past few years.

 

To Improve Outcomes for Students, We Must Improve Support for Faculty — from campustechnology.com by Dr. David Wiley
The doctoral programs that prepare faculty for their positions often fail to train them on effective teaching practices. We owe it to our students to provide faculty with the professional development they need to help learners realize their full potential.

Excerpts:

Why do we allow so much student potential to go unrealized? Why are well-researched, highly effective teaching practices not used more widely?

The doctoral programs that are supposed to prepare them to become faculty in physics, philosophy, and other disciplines don’t require them to take a single course in effective teaching practices. 

The entire faculty preparation enterprise seems to be caught in a loop, unintentionally but consistently passing on an unawareness that some teaching practices are significantly more effective than others. How do we break this cycle and help students realize their full potential as learners?

From DSC:
First of all, I greatly appreciate the work of Dr. David Wiley. His career has been dedicated to teaching and learning, open educational resources, and more. I also appreciate and agree with what David is saying here — i.e., that professors need to be taught how to teach as well as what we know about how people learn at this point in time. 

For years now, I’ve been (unpleasantly) amazed that we hire and pay our professors primarily for their research capabilities — vs. their teaching competence. At the same time, we continually increase the cost of tuition, books, and other fees. Students have the right to let their feet do the walking. As the alternatives to traditional institutions of higher education increase, I’m quite sure that we’ll see that happen more and more.

While I think that training faculty members about effective teaching practices is highly beneficial, I also think that TEAM-BASED content creation and delivery will deliver the best learning experiences that we can provide. I say this because multiple disciplines and specialists are involved, such as:

  • Subject Matter Experts (i.e., faculty members)
  • Instructional Designers
  • Graphic Designers
  • Web Designers
  • Learning Scientists; Cognitive Learning Researchers
  • Audio/Video Specialists  and Learning Space Designers/Architects
  • CMS/LMS Administrators
  • Programmers
  • Multimedia Artists who are skilled in working with digital audio and digital video
  • Accessibility Specialists
  • Librarians
  • Illustrators and Animators
  • and more

The point here is that one person can’t do it all — especially now that the expectation is that courses should be offered in a hybrid format or in an online-based format. For a solid example of the power of team-based content creation/delivery, see this posting.

One last thought/question here though. Once a professor is teaching, are they open to working with and learning from the Instructional Designers, Learning Scientists, and/or others from the Teaching & Learning Centers that do exist on their campus? Or do they, like many faculty members, think that such people are irrelevant because they aren’t faculty members themselves? Oftentimes, faculty members look to each other and don’t really care what support is offered (unless they need help with some of the technology.)


Also relevant/see:


 

Brandon Hall Group to Launch Study on Transforming L&D — from globenewswire.com
Just over one-third of the organizations in Brandon Hall Group’s Transforming Learning for the Future of Work study say that their approach to learning is positioning them well for the future of work. This upcoming study explores how and why organizations need to make learning much more personalized in order to meet the rapidly changing needs of both learners and the business.

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

Boca Raton, FL, Aug. 24, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Brandon Hall Group, the leading independent HCM research and analyst firm, is launching a study on August 30 to determine and understand the impact personalized learning has on individual and organizational outcomes.

To participate in this study, go to https://www.research.net/r/HTBD85F. Participants will receive summary results of the survey six to eight weeks after the survey launch and will get immediate download access to Brandon Hall Group’s eBook, Personalization for Performance.

Along the lines of research about our learning ecosystems, also see:

Technology Access in Higher Education in Prison Programs — from by Steve Pokornowski, Kurtis Tanaka
New Survey Launch

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

We are excited to announce the launch of a new survey on the landscape of technology access in higher education in prison programs. This survey is a part of Ithaka S+R’s larger work on access to information for incarcerated students and the role of media review in higher education in prisons.

This survey launches today, August 23, and will remain open for responses until September 30, 2022. We will conduct follow-up interviews with a select number of programs that demonstrate particularly expansive or interesting implementations of technology.

If you direct or coordinate a higher education in prison program and would like to make sure that someone from your program has the opportunity to take the survey, please email surveys@ithaka.org for more information.

 

Augmented Books Are On The Way According To Researchers — from vrscout.com by Kyle Melnick

Excerpt:

Imagine this. You’re several chapters into a captivating novel when a character from an earlier book makes a surprise appearance. You swipe your finger across their name on the page at which point their entire backstory is displayed on a nearby smartphone, allowing you to refresh your memory before moving forward.

This may sound like science fiction, but researchers at the University of Surrey in England say that the technology described above is already here in the form of “a-books” (augmented reality books).

The potential use-cases for such a technology are virtually endless. As previously mentioned, a-books could be used to deliver character details and plot points for a variety of fictional works. The same technology could also be applied to textbooks, allowing students to display helpful information on their smartphones, tablets, and smart TVs with the swipe of a finger.

From DSC:

  • How might instructional designers use this capability?
  • How about those in theatre/drama?
  • Educational gaming?
  • Digital storytelling?
  • Interaction design?
  • Interface design?
  • User experience design?

Also see:


 

The workforce is changing. Can community colleges change with it? — from workshift.opencampusmedia.org by Bylilah Burke; with thanks to Dr. Paul Czarapata for this resource
Advocates and researchers in education are asking if two-year institutions might transform to reach a fuller potential—serving as community hubs for social and economic mobility.

Excerpt:

Increasingly, they’re also the place students like Plunkett turn to when they find themselves at a dead end in their career and need to retool. And advocates and researchers in education are asking if these institutions might transform to reach a fuller potential—serving as community hubs for social and economic mobility.

That’s certainly the future envisioned by groups like Achieving the Dream, a leader in the student success movement. Karen Stout, president and CEO of the organization, has said that means colleges must take a more active role in bringing career-aligned education and reskilling opportunities—whether their own programs or those developed by industry—to the community.

“In the past, community colleges were lifelong-learning institutions,” Stout told Work Shift earlier this year. “Now we must become lifelong career-matching institutions—a source of upskilling, a rational pathway to career development that weaves together opportunities for students to move in and out of work and school that is designed to progressively lead to a career in a particular field.”

It’s a tall order, as the American workforce from Alabama to Wyoming is set to change drastically over the next few decades. Can community colleges rise to the occasion? Some already are. 

Also from workshift.opencampusmedia.org, see:

 

15 technical skills employers look for in 2022 — from wikijob.co.uk by Nikki Dale

Excerpts:

A technical skill is the ability to carry out a task associated with technical roles such as IT, engineering, mechanics, science or finance. A typical technical skill set might include programming, the analysis of complex figures or the use of specific tools.

Technical skills are sometimes referred to as ‘hard skills’ because you can learn how to do them and, in some cases, get qualified or at least certified.

Some technical skills employers are looking for include:

 

10 Arguments for Inciting Learning — from insidehighered.com by Cathy N. Davidson and Christina Katopodis
Active learning has been clearly shown to be more effective than traditional modes, write Cathy N. Davidson and Christina Katopodis, who outline its many merits to those who continue to resist it.

Excerpts:

So what can we do to convince more instructors to actually support and use active learning? Over the past several years, we’ve been researching and interviewing faculty members around the world for our upcoming book on teaching and learning, The New College Classroom. And a number of those faculty have asked us how they can best explain the merits of active learning to colleagues and administrators—and even to students and their parents— who continue to be resistant to it. Here are 10 principles, or convincing arguments, that we’ve shared with them.

“Nothing will change until faculty incentives do.
Until we change our academic reward structures for hiring and promotion, faculty members have no reason to take valuable time out from writing monographs or refereed papers to rethink their role in the classroom. We cannot incite students to learn without inciting—and incentivizing—their instructors first so they will invest in understanding and applying active learning. We’ve already made the case for why such an educational approach is vitally important, so we now say simply to top administrators: let’s do it!

Audre Lorde

 

From DSC:
Below are several observations re: our learning ecosystems — and some ideas on how we can continue to improve them.


It takes years to build up the knowledge and skills in order to be a solid teacher, faculty member, instructional designer, and/or trainer. It takes a lot of studying to effectively research how the brain works and how we learn. Then we retire…and the knowledge is often lost or not passed along. And the wheel gets reinvented all over again. And again. And again.

Along these lines — and though we’re making progress in this area — too often we separate the research from the practical application of that research. So we have folks working primarily in learning science, neuroscience, cognitive psychology, and related fields. But their research doesn’t always get practically applied within our learning spaces. We have researchers…and then we have practitioners. So I greatly appreciate the likes of Pooja Agarwal and Patrice Bain out at RetrievalPractice.org, Daniel Willingham, Eva Keiffenheim, The Learning Scientists, James Lang, and several others who bridge this gap.

We need to take more of the research from learning science and apply it in our learning spaces.

Perhaps more researchers, faculty members, teachers, trainers, instructional designers, principals, provosts, etc. could blog or be active out on social media.

***

Along these lines, we need to spend more time helping people know how best to study and to learn.
If that type of thing is ever to be learned, it seems like it’s often learned or discussed in the mid- to later years of one’s life…often after one’s primary and secondary days are long gone.

Instead, we should consider putting these easy-to-understand posters from the Learning Scientists in every K-12 school, college, and university in the nation — or something like them.

***

To provide the most effective engaging learning experiences, we should consider using more team-based approaches. As appropriate, that could include the students themselves.

***

We put way too much emphasis on grades — which produces gameplayers who seek only to do the minimum amount of work necessary to get the A’s.  Doing so creates systems whereby learning is not the goal — getting a 4.0+ is.

***
As we are now required to be lifelong learners, our quality of life as a whole goes waaaay up if we actually enjoy learning.  Many people discover later in life that they like to learn…they just didn’t like school. Perhaps we could place greater emphasis within K-16 on whether students enjoyed their learning experiences or not. And if not, what might have made that topic more enjoyable to them? Or what other topics would they like to dive into (that weren’t’ on the original learning menu)?

This could also apply in the corporate training/L&D space as well. Such efforts could go a long way in helping establish stronger learning cultures.

***

We don’t provide enough choice to our students. We need to do a better job of turning over more control to them in their learning journey. We turn students off to learning because we try to cram information that they don’t care about down their throats. So then we have to use the currency of grades to force them into doing the work that they could care less about doing. Their experience with learning/school can easily get soured.

Learners need: More voice. More choice. More control. -- this image was created by Daniel Christian

We need to be more responsive with our curricula. And we need to explain how the information we’re trying to relay is relevant in the real world and will be relevant in their futures.

***

So those are some ideas that I wanted to relay. Thanks for your time and for your shared interests here!

 
© 2022 | Daniel Christian