Archive for February, 2010

Almost every kind of IT has a potential impact on education. If you look at the various dimensions that constitute mainstream adoption, you want to look at the fit to the educational need, the capability of the audience to consume it, the access and availability of both platform and content, supporting infrastructure required and of course the cost & scalability factors.

Most forms of IT interventions in elearning, I always say, fail due to the death by technology syndrome i.e. an overwhelming emphasis on technology and delivery. I would place many forms and methods of generating elearning content, especially the same umbrella term of technology.

We know that the space has potential, but the problems we face with traditional elearning and elearning technology such as the ability to personalize learning, to make it experiential & engaging and to demonstrate a return on investment, get a little more complex as we look at 3D immersive technology and we must build solutions keeping this in mind.

So firstly we need to focus on the learning needs. India is uniquely positioned because we have the youngest population. We must ask ourselves what will our needs be and thus our expectations be from the workforce in the next few years and work towards aligning all efforts in that direction. That direction must also be inclusive and equitable, and this is critical for us.

Then the way our young population has embraced the changes in the global workplace, and especially in the next generation Internet based technologies/movements like social networking, open source collaboration and mobility, needs to be leveraged as a 21st century skill, the way other countries are doing in a concerted manner.

Then we need to ask what kinds of segments we can address with which solution. For example, 3D immersive technology is a no-brainer for vocational training, manufacturing, technical training on hardware, product marketing, brand presence, eCommerce, generic collaboration etc. In the K12 segment, there are a host of possibilities such as for discovery-based learning, virtual laboratories, educational games and simulations that can make the experience come alive for our children. This technology is appealing because it is based in a visually immersive setting, like the world around us, and therefore lends itself to collaboration, discovery, exploration, problem solving, critical thinking and many other key learning dimensions.

We must then build capability with teachers and educationists to navigate these possible solutions. Traditional assessment solutions also need to be reworked in the context of the rich feedback that some of these solutions can provide on student activity and competency.

Creative content is then going to be an important part of the solutions we create. In my opinion, technology solutions that offer easy and cost effective ways to generate 3D based learning solutions will be critical in this space.

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