Finding the Right Tech for Learning – Where Ever It Is

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Surfing – the (bad?) habit of clicking on a link in a webpage just to see what’s on the other side.

From the first day I came in contact with the internet, I was a surfer – sometimes to my detriment as I’d wander around the web aimlessly with little to show for the effort other than a couple wasted hours. But then there are the times I’d come across a find. Like today.

I clicked on a link on a Microsoft page and found this marketing content regarding a professor in Australia doing learning the right way. David Kellermann at University of New South Wales has cobbled together a learning environment that should be a model for how learning can, and should, happen given the existing, available technologies.

While his project is for a university audience, I believe the lessons that can be gleened from this project are just as applicable to workplace learning.

Now Microsoft, of course wants you to know that he’s done it with only their technology (and with their support). But I think the real news is the process Kellermann took to build it. He started with a simple solution of using Microsoft Teams to connect the 500+ students and teaching assistants in one place along with his content.

From there Kellermann added tools that helped better fill his goal wanting to move the students from “500 islands” to a single team, working together no matter where they are or what their individual situations might be. He now has a system that is creative, simple, collaborative, and individualized.

He uses AI tools that help students ask questions and identify content that meets their learning needs. He’s offers his lectures and notes in a way they can be searched by students, TA’s, and AI. The system can accommodate learners with different needs (autism, blind, deaf, etc.). Student/TA communication is improved by tools that can route questions to the right TA.

But the lessons I gleened from this :

  1. Have an unwavering focus on what motivates your learners (and what decreases their motivation).
  2. Understand how your learners learn in the real world. HINT: They don’t go to an LMS or a training class.
  3. Look to technologies your learners already use and either use them or mimic them.
  4. Work iteratively. Work in manageable chunks.
  5. Experiment. If you find a technology that you think might work to meet your goals – try it, test it, and, if you like it figure out how best to incorporate it.
  6. Understand what various tools can do. You don’t have to be a programmer, but you do need to know how the tool can enhance your ability to to meet your goals.

He admits it’s a lot of work, but he is motivated by a very inspiring mission:

I’m just trying to be a good engineer and create a good system that solves a problem, by rethinking education end-to-end and using AI to enhance humanity and make our interactions richer.

David Kellermann, University of New South Wales

PLEASE SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS IN COMMENTS BELOW

What do you think? Is your learning organization changing how you approach creating or delivering learning solutions? If so, please share what you are doing? If not, what is holding you back?

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