August 17, 2015

Imagine a system where learners meet clearly stated, performance-oriented goals, acquiring skills and knowledge that are relevant to real-life problems. In this system, designed to enable high performance, learners of all levels meet the objectives with the aid of flexible programs that accommodate varied learning styles and abilities. Learners leave the system with all the skills needed to become a world-class workforce that can respond to changing consumer tastes.

It can also be the face of American education — but only if we take seriously the very real needs of education, including current education reform movements and trends in public policy.

Education is poised to borrow heavily from the media-based training industry — but not until it can reverse its current emphasis on rote learning — while refocusing, once again, on understanding and retention (the qualities that will pay lifelong dividends) .

Brought to the forefront by the highly competitive global economy, the changes afoot in education can result in both opportunities and responsibilities for multi-sensory learning.

Media-based learning does indeed offer the world the best educational and training tools we have ever known. If applications producers treat knowledgeably-designed media as another communication tool that can deliver effective learning and retention (which also happens to be multi-sensory, measurable and more consistent), learning wins — without being sacrificed on the altar of technological whim.

In “Transforming Education with Technology, A Conversation with Karen Cator,” Cator answers the question, “Do you think that learning that occurs online is different from learning that happens in traditional classrooms?:”

‘I think today it is. In the past, online learning has tended to be isolating and less participatory and has been distinct from using technology in the classroom. But going forward, interactions will be key. Just as people engage in online interactions—around virtual sports teams, cooking, or whatever—students will be able to engage in participatory learning experiences online in and out of the classroom.

Right now classrooms are predominantly print-based environments with textbooks, teachers’ guides, assessment materials, and supplemental materials. And today, the available technology is often a shared resource. As we transition to a digital learning environment and each learner has his or her own device, we will be able to facilitate personalization, participation, interaction, and collaboration—with people who might be right there in the classroom or people who might be across the world.

In this digital learning environment, we’ll incorporate cognitive tutors and integrate simulations, visualizations of complex math and science concepts, videos, and animated demonstrations. And we need to make sure the environments are fully accessible to all students.”

The instructional designers of today and tomorrow must communicate with the learner’s senses through the effective application of video, graphic animations and optional full audio if we want to heighten the learning experience for both our children and our workforce.

These are most exciting times in learning!

More on Wednesday – – –

— Bill Walton: co-Founder, ITC Learning
(Mondays & Wednesdays)