Saturday, May 3, 2008

Grand Challenge – Advance Personalized Learning

Grand Challenge – Advance Personalized Learning

The National Academy of Engineering in the US has selected fourteen grand challenges to focus on
One of these is “Advance Personalized Learning"

I posted some comments on the discussion page and I present a copy of my comments below.

1. Improved in education could have as large an impact on societies around the world as abolition of slavery had two centuries ago. It could form the basis of an international initiative, increasing prosperity all over, and reducing human misery.
2. Online learning has so far been a technology without an adequate scientific base. Expanding and strengthening this base will require advanced, multi-disciplinary research.
3. You cannot have systems which help a learner about which you can say "forgive them; they not what they are doing". Representations of knowledge that needs learnt, its links with outside representations (including web pages), representations of a student’s current knowledge, his learning context, links to various learning resources, etc. are all necessary. These will lead to personalized learning on a grand scale. A whole new part of the service sector will emerge, as big as the traditional education sector or the financial services sector, contributing to a worldwide economic boom.
4. There is a hope that significant advances can be made in the near future with a concerted effort.
5. As action points I would suggest

a) creation of a forum and its popularization, for interested researchers to network. Perhaps the National Academy of Engg website where this would be posted could be that website
b) Identification of one or two international conferences and/or workshops (or creation of a new series) for specialists addressing this grand challenge to gather and exchange thoughts.
c) use of technology for sharing all kinds of content, including videos, open access tools and software, etc., relevant to this grand challenge.
d) identifying or creating journals to serve specialists working on this grand challenge.

Srinivasan Ramani
May 3, 2008

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