Education is the next social media boom, says Claudio Concha.
Proprietary systems like Blackboard flourished with a lack of competition and their keen ability to target educational institutions. These systems answered numerous perceived needs, but they were not able to future-proof themselves in an unfolding landscape of endless disruptive technology.
After Blackboard came cloud-based software-as-a-service platforms Moodle, Brightspace and 2U that would promise to transform higher education. Yet, by their very nature as established learning management systems, these platforms all lacked the vital ingredients required by today’s virtual student.
The successful social education network will treat today’s 12 year-old as a sophisticated social being. It will understand that, while the learner needs ‘just-in-time’ orientation and guidance, he or she is primarily an individual inundated with information and possibilities. Today’s virtual student was born in the ‘always-on’ internet age. Weaned on eighth generation game consoles, he has an online ingenuity that has so far been neglected by the manufacturers of online pedagogy.
The learning experience of tomorrow may well exploit gamification techniques similar to Vivo Edge and have elements of massive online open courses (MOOC) like Udemy, Coursera, Udacity, Canvas and edX. It will certainly be shaped by clever data and meta-data mining, real-time location services and recommendation systems. It will give birth to an online ecosystem where personalized content and subject-specific discussions flow across evolving virtual and geographical boundaries. Topics will be transformed into vivid experiences as learners engage with a fluid community of knowledge that would have been impossible to imagine 10 years ago. Within this, an intuitive communication dynamic between instructors, learners and peers will help foster collaborations intrinsic to individual advancement and growth.
Right now there is an unprecedented potential for the learner, but there are many challenges to face. The risk of human isolation and disconnect for students, whose interaction with others is reduced primarily to screens, is paramount. Issues surrounding child protection also need addressing, as do the political ramifications innate to education theory. Despite these complexities, the way in which we learn is primed to burst out of the school gate and onto the information superhighway towards the artificially intelligent platforms of tomorrow.
A new intelligent education system, pioneered to adapt, will likely join the pantheon of Google, Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter, so ubiquitous to the human experience that we can no longer conceive of life without it.