This unique free event is designed to give our learning community a chance to explore the most popular topics discussed at Learning Technologies.

The 2020 Learning Technologies Summer Forum (#LTSF20) takes place online, looking at some of the key topics we examined at February’s conference. Once again, the Summer event is an opportunity to interact, experiment and try some new things together.

 

“Many—perhaps millions—will need quick, job-focused upskilling and reskilling.”

— from The Indispensable Institution | Reimagining Community College
by Opportunity America

 

From DSC:
This is exactly the need that I’ve been getting at here. Many people don’t have the time — and now, the $$ — to take 4 years to get a college degree. Even 2 years is too long for many people these days. They need to be able to quickly reinvent themselves. As such, we need to tap into — and contribute to — streams of content. All. The. Time.

And do so, efficiently, safely, securely — and inexpensively!

Learning from the living class room

 

The “new normal” paradox: What COVID-19 has revealed about higher education — from bigthink.com by Dr. Michael Crow, President of ASU

Excerpt:

Third, it is abundantly apparent that universities must leverage technology to increase educational quality and access. The rapid shift to delivering an education that complies with social distancing guidelines speaks volumes about the adaptability of higher education institutions, but this transition has also posed unique difficulties for colleges and universities that had been slow to adopt digital education. The last decade has shown that online education, implemented effectively, can meet or even surpass the quality of in-person instruction.

Digital instruction, broadly defined, leverages online capabilities and integrates adaptive learning methodologies, predictive analytics, and innovations in instructional design to enable increased student engagement, personalized learning experiences, and improved learning outcomes. The ability of these technologies to transcend geographic barriers and to shrink the marginal cost of educating additional students makes them essential for delivering education at scale.

Far too many higher education outcomes are determined by a student’s family income, and in the context of COVID-19 this means that lower-income students, first-generation students and students of color will be disproportionately afflicted. And without new designs, we can expect post-secondary success for these same students to be as elusive in the new normal, as it was in the old normal.

This is not just because some universities fail to sufficiently recognize and engage the promise of diversity, this is because few universities have been designed from the outset to effectively serve the unique needs of lower-income students, first-generation students and students of color.

 

Colleges cut academic programs in the face of budget shortfalls due to Covid-19 — from cnbc.com by Jessica Dickler

Key points:

  • As colleges face extreme budget shortfalls, some institutions are cutting academic programs that were once central to a liberal arts education.
  • The University of Alaska system announced it will cut 39 academic departments in all, including sociology, creative writing, chemistry and environmental science.

 

Even before the global pandemic caused craters in the economy, some institutions were facing financial hardship after years of declines in state funding for higher education. A number of private schools had already made wrenching budget cuts, from curriculum changes to complete overhauls of their liberal arts programs.

 

From DSC:
A screenshot from the video (below) shows a new type of liberal arts program at Hiram College.

It could very well be that online-based learning turns out to save the liberal arts!!!!! How ironic is that!?!!

That is, many college presidents, provost, and faculty members — especially from smaller liberal arts types of schools — have disdained online-based learning for decades now. It was always viewed as “less than” in their minds…they didn’t want to go that route, as doing so would dilute their precious (and often overpriced) brands. (To be clear, this is not my view…but it was, and still is in many cases, their view.)

Anyway, it looks like more of these same folks will be losing their jobs in the next few years (if they haven’t already). At that point, we may see some of these same folks encounter a sudden paradigm shift. (A shift many of their colleagues have already gone through in prior years.) These same folks may come to appreciate that people will be willing to pay them for their knowledge — but only willing to do so at a much more affordable price…which will likely mean online.

Fewer people — especially when 47 million people in the U.S. alone have filed for unemployment over the last 14 weeks — can afford the cost of getting a degree. They are looking for inexpensive, convenient, efficient, effective means of reinventing themselves.

 

Huh…another potential irony here…it appears that colleges and universities are coming to know what many of us have known and experienced for years…and that is, the struggle to:

  • Reinvent oneself
  • Stay relevant
  • Survive
 

Learning channels of the future will offer us more choice. More control. [Christian]

 

From DSC:
And this phenomenon of learning from the living [class] room will likely pick up steam; some learning-related services are already heading that way.

 

Learning from home -- masterclass dot com

Learning from home -- masterclass dot com

 

Also see:

Preparing Students for a Lifelong Disruptive Future: The 60-Year Curriculum — from evolllution.com by Chris Dede | Professor of Learning Technologies in the Graduate School of Education, Harvard University and John Richards | Professor in the Graduate School of Education, Harvard University

Although written before the pandemic, a just-published book, The 60-Year Curriculum: New Models for Lifelong Learning in the Digital Economy (Dede and Richards, 2020), describes the looming challenge/opportunity of a coming, epic half-century whose intensity of disruption will rival the historic period civilization faced from 1910-1960: two world wars, a global pandemic, a long-lasting economic depression and unceasing conflicts between capitalism and communism.

In our tactical responses to moving teaching online because of the pandemic, we have the strategic opportunity to develop a new model that blends higher and continuing education and realizes the potential of next-generation methods of instruction and assessment (National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, 2018) to focus on lifelong learning.

 

DC: Ouch! Likely a *major game-changer* — esp given the current landscape of #HigherEducation. [Christian]

From DSC:
Readers of this blog will know that I’m a big fan of online learning. That said, I realize it’s not for everyone. Our son, who is studying to become an actor, hates it.

Given:

  • our current technological tools, setups, and  infrastructures
  • the ways that we are used to doing things
  • our past and current educational systems 
  • and folks’ learning preferences

…it’s hard to do some things online. I get it.

That said, I wouldn’t rule out the further significant growth and development of online-based learning experiences by any stretch of the imagination. The Coronavirus will force traditional institutions of higher education (plus many K-12 school systems as well as corporate training programs) to invest much more aggressively in the research and development of online-based learning experiences. And with AI-based tools like Otter.AI, our future virtually/digitally-based learning ecosystems could be very powerful indeed.

As but one example, consider that AI technologies — as unseen but present participants in future videoconferencing calls — will “listen” to the conversation and likely provide us with a constantly updating sidebar that will consist of beneficial resources such as:

  • relevant research
  • websites
  • journal articles
  • blog postings
  • former team conversations
  • etc.

The output from that sidebar will likely be able to be saved /downloaded just like we do with transcripts of chat sessions. The available options for such a service will be customizable, and filtering mechanisms can be turned on, or off, or be adjusted.

Otter dot AI

 

All of that said, it IS time to reduce the investments that are being used to create new athletic facilities and/or other new physical buildings. And it’s time to start reallocating those millions of dollars of investments into creating/developing highly-effective online-based learning experiences. 

Don’t get me wrong. Going to campus is an ideal learning experience, and I hope that for everyone out there. But if the current trends continue — especially the increasing costs of obtaining a degree — that won’t be an option for a growing number of people (especially with the aftermath/ripple effects of the Coronavirus on our society).

#CostOfObtainingADegree #StudentRelated #AI #InstructionalDesign #IntelligentSystems #IntelligentTutoring #FutureOfHigherEducation #Innovation #LearningEcosystems #HigherEducation #Change #NewBusinessModels #Reinvent #StayingRelevant #Surviving

 

Dawn of the Age of Digital Learning [Moe & Rajendran]

Dawn of the Age of Digital Learning — from medium.com by Michael Moe and Vignesh Rajendran
An Acceleration of Trends That Have Been Building for Years

Excerpts:

Some of these new online learners will sink. Some will crawl out of the pool and never go back in. But we believe most will get the hang of it, like it, and will no longer be confined to the shore. Effectively, the genie is not going back in the bottle… digital learning has come of age. We have a B.C. (Before Coronavirus) world transitioning to A.D. (After Disease).

The Coronavirus has brought forth the Dawn of the Age of Digital Learning — a time for builders to create the platforms, tools, and technology to propel society forward.

We now believe Digital Learning will reach 11% of the education market by 2026, representing a ~$1 Trillion market and a 30% CAGR, close to double the rate of growth projected in Before Covid-19

 

From DSC:
So many of the things in this article reminded me of the things, developments, trends, needs, and possibilities that I have been tracking for years in this vision of a next-generation, global learning platform that I have entitled:

We need a next gen learning platform -- I call this vision Learning from the Living Class Room

My guess is that the large, primarily online institutions/organizations will come out of this ordeal in much better shape than the majority of the traditional institutions of higher education. It won’t matter what faculty members at liberal arts institutions think about online learning. And as much as some faculty members won’t like to see or hear about it, students will no longer need for such faculty members to be sold on it. Students will come to realize that it was under those faculty members watch that their own enormous gorillas of debt were created. And they are beginning to witness and hear that it’s taking (or will take) older family members decades to pay down their debt.

So, I think that the market will decide the fate of many traditional institutions of higher education. Lifelong learners will vote with their feet — and fingers actually, by typing in a new URL — and simply move to the SNHU’s, ASU’s, UMass Online’s, WGU’s, and Liberty University’s of the world. After 5-10 years of investments in online learning, there will likely be some pretty amazing learning experiences out there.

 

From DSC:
Some of the areas likely to see such tools integrated into their arenas, operations, and ecosystems:

 

With thanks to my sister, Sue Ellen Christian, for forwarding me Jeremy Caplan’s site/newsletter.

Also see:

…and this one as well:

Three words of advice that I wish I had heard when I first started teaching

 

From DSC:

Will tools like Otter be much more integrated into our future learning ecosystems, meetings, & teleconferences?

 

Why education is a ‘wicked problem’ for learning engineers to solve — from edsurge.com by Rebecca Koenig

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

So, back to the wicked problem: How do we make education that’s both quality education and at the same time accessible and affordable?

“Now, we are building a new technology that we call Agent Smith. It’s another AI technology— and we’re very excited about it—that builds [a] Jill Watson for you. And Agent Smith can build a Jill Watson for you in less than 10 percent of the hours.”

So one question for online education is, can we build a new set of tools—and I think that’s where AI is going to go, that learning engineering is going to go—where AI is not helping individual humans as much as AI is helping human-human interaction.

Huge ethical issues and something that learning engineering has not yet started focusing on in a serious manner. We are still in a phase of, “Look ma, no hands, I can ride a bike without hands.”

Technology should not be left to technologists.

Learning from the living class room

 

My thanks to a friend for causing me to further reflect on this article: “Can computers ever replace the classroom?” [Beard]


From DSC:
I’d like to thank Mr. Eric Osterberg — a fraternity brother and friend of mine — for sending me the following article. I wrote back to him. After thanking Eric for the article, I said:

Such an article makes me reflect on things — which is always a good thing for me to try to see my blindspots and/or to think about the good and bad of things. Technologies are becoming more powerful and integrated into our lives — for better at times and for worse at other times.

I’m wondering how the legal realm can assist and/or help create a positive future for societies throughout the globe…any thoughts?


Can computers ever replace the classroom? — from theguardian.com by Alex Beard
With 850 million children worldwide shut out of schools, tech evangelists claim now is the time for AI education. But as the technology’s power grows, so too do the dangers that come with it. 

Excerpts:

But it’s in China, where President Xi Jinping has called for the nation to lead the world in AI innovation by 2030, that the fastest progress is being made. In 2018 alone, Li told me, 60 new AI companies entered China’s private education market. Squirrel AI is part of this new generation of education start-ups. The company has already enrolled 2 million student users, opened 2,600 learning centres in 700 cities across China, and raised $150m from investors.

The supposed AI education revolution is not here yet, and it is likely that the majority of projects will collapse under the weight of their own hype.

The point, in short, is that AI doesn’t have to match the general intelligence of humans to be useful – or indeed powerful. This is both the promise of AI, and the danger it poses.

It was a reminder that Squirrel AI’s platform, like those of its competitors worldwide, doesn’t have to be better than the best human teachers – to improve people’s lives, it just needs to be good enough, at the right price, to supplement what we’ve got. The problem is that it is hard to see technology companies stopping there. For better and worse, their ambitions are bigger. “We could make a lot of geniuses,” Li told me.

 

How innovations in voice technology are reshaping education — from edsurge.com by Diana Lee
Voice is the most accessible form you can think of when you think about any interface. In education, it’s already started to take off.

It could be basic questions about, “Am I taking a class to become X?” or “How strong are my skills relative to other people?” An assistant can help with that. It could potentially be a coach, something that follows you the rest of your life for education. I’m excited about that. People that can’t normally get access to this kind of information will get access to it. That’s the future.

From DSC:
The use of voice will likely be a piece of a next-generation learning platform.

Voice will likely be a piece of the next generation learning platform

 

6 Ed Tech Trends to Watch in 2020 — from campustechnology.com by Rhea Kelly with:

  • Bridget Burns, Executive Director, University Innovation Alliance
  • James Frazee, Chief Academic Technology Officer and Associate VP, Instructional Technology Services, San Diego State University
  • Ernie Perez
    Director, Educational Technology, Digital Learning & Innovation, Boston University

This year’s top issues in education technology reflect the bigger picture of a student’s pathway from individual courses all the way to graduation and career.

Topics include:

1) Workforce Readiness
2) Artificial Intelligence and Chatbots
3) Extended Reality (XR)
4) Video and Accessibility
5) Predictive Analytics and Advising
6) Industry Partnerships

 

DC: Precursor to a next gen learning platform…? Another piece is falling into place.

 

 

Learning from the living class room

 
© 2021 | Daniel Christian