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reflections of the team

NLE2017 learnings - AI & VR: here to stay

Artificial Intelligence is here to stay. At least, that's what Donald Clark tried to convince us of last Tuesday in Den Bosch.

Even though I agree that all these new technologies will have a large impact on various aspects of life including learning, I'm sure certain people will deem them as fads.

So without trying to convince everyone of using technology, and more specifically artificial intelligence and virtual reality in learning; what elements should we definitely take into account?

1.     Modular education

The brain is basically one giant network of concepts and ideas, all linked together via neural paths. The more you know of a certain expertise, the more those concepts will be closely linked. This makes it easier to recall that information. Forgetting is basically not finding a concept or rather, a path to that concept in your neural network. 

Now let's imagine a computer system that works in concepts and ideas and links them all together via multiple routes, all choices you can make as a student.
You could choose which subject would follow a lesson, based on your needs and preferences. You'd choose which path to take, not taking into account any linear increment of difficulty but ratheryour prior knowledge and what you need and wish to learn at that exact moment.

That computer system is AI. It translates well the natural processes from the brain all the while learning while you are.

That system would take learners into their journey, offering a tailored approach and not punishing them for failing but rather: suggesting different routes.

What if we could use this kind of system, without the technology?
How would you use this in your L&D policy?

2.     AI bots versus traditional, real life teachers

Samuel Zeller - Unsplash

Samuel Zeller - Unsplash

Has it ever occurred to you how easy it is that your computer updates automatically? An error found in a system 5000 miles away from you might be fixed in your own computer the next day.

Now, wouldn't it be cool to have our teachers updated the same way?
Imagine your teacher having studied a particular area of expertise 5 to 10 years ago. Now imagine ALL the research that has since occurred in that area of expertise. Now imagine all the work the teacher has, both administrative and practical and only having an hour a week to update him- or herself, over a period of 5 to 10 years. I daresay a natural gap would occur in being up to date all the time, leaving insufficient time for actual instruction.

What if we could update ourselves just the way computer systems do? How would that look like? What possibilities would that provide?

3.     Virtual Reality

Have you ever tried virtual reality? You really should. It's an incredible experience. Imagine going on an amusement park ride, the highest and fastest rollercoaster, from the chair you're sitting in right now! Your attention and emotional engagement would be right through the roof.

Now imagine a traditional class, with a lecture of one person in front of the audience. How is your attention and emotional engagement? Notwithstanding the subject and relevance to your work, it would probably be a bit lower.

How could we rival the attention and emotional engagement put into VR with more traditional means of education? How could you make this work right now?

Next Learning Event 2017 provided a lot of inspiration. Inspiration that only brings more questions. But don't despair: the learning is in the questioning. A subject we will touch upon in our next learnings blog. To be continued!