When we talk about learning and development, we don’t focus on students in K-12 or pursuing undergraduate degree because they any how are pursing institutionalized education and the path is pretty much charted for them. But we primarily focus on working professionals who know they have the onus of their lifelong learning is a very personal endeavor to them. In the previous article we discussed how learning has shaped throughout time and where do we stand right now. Let’s continue our journey from here and explore the uncharted land of possibilities.
Several recent technological innovations offer the possibility of creating a personalized and adaptive lifelong learning experience. We propose five technological innovations for each building block of a learning environment - content design, selection, creation, delivery, and credentialing.
First, the design of learning content can be further disaggregated from the course level down to smaller chunks of independent mini-modules. In academia, this concept of independent mini-modules was developed in the early 2000s as “learning objects” , inspired by the programming paradigm of object orientation, and then envisioned as intelligent, adaptive, scalable, and affordable web-based educational service architectures.
Second, these mini-modules can be adaptively combined to create a customized learning journey that focuses on the specific skills that are relevant for the learner’s context by applying artificial intelligence based recommender systems to learning modules, along the lines of recommendation engines used by Netflix, Spotify or Amazon for content recommendations.
Third, the learning content can be sourced from open marketplaces that match content providers with learners, along the lines of on-demand marketplaces for ridesharing (Uber, Lyft)or video content (YouTube). Platform providers can match learners with content providers and mentors in a multi-sided marketplace, where consumers can take on the role of producers and vice versa.
Fourth, educational content can be delivered as an ongoing service by creating “Learning-as-a-Service”, along the lines of the “Software-as-a- Service” model that has transformed the software industry. This Learning-as-a -Service approach, as envisioned by Spaniol et al. (2008), can follow a subscription or pay-as-you-go model.
Finally, a transparent technology for digital certificates is needed to create an immutable record of the learning credentials that can be accessed by recruiters and human resource professionals to evaluate employees for specific job positions. Blockchain technology can be used to create and manage digital certificates. Such approaches have already been developed by MIT Media Labs and Knowledge Media Institute and commercialized by various companies.
Excerpt from Prof Mohanbir Sawhney blog - Future of Learning