Loving and Leveraging the Google Wave Question

Google Wave, which has excited so many lately, began with the question “what would email look like if it were invented today?” I love that question. Here is a similar one prompted from the conversation at #dml09ppp today.

Scaling 100 years ago used different methods with different numeric goals from scaling today. Think about the difference between scaling a service to hundreds of people and scaling a service to hundreds of millions of people. So here’s the question – What would highly scalable learning look like if we invented it today (in the context of existing technologies) as opposed to the schools we invented centuries ago (in the context of the technologies available at the time)?

2 thoughts on “Loving and Leveraging the Google Wave Question”

  1. The best written, audio and video presentations on all topics and all subjects would all be available whenever a learner requested them (as filtered by popularity and previous viewer’s test result improvements).
    Active groups of learners currently absorbing and contributing to a topic would be available whenever a learner wanted to join them.
    Evaluations of needs and compentency would be available and recommended for frequent use to measure the learner’s progress. Incorrect answers would not be a sign of a bad learner; only an opportunity for more learning.
    Competency would be attainable both by testing on existing content and by creating new content. More competency would be earned by content that was found to help others learn more easily and/or thoroughly.
    The system would be able to sort, filter, list and present topics based on prerequisites of the topics and on the previously demonstrated competency and learning preferences of each individual.
    Instructors would be able to suggest a specific sequence of topics to tailor a learning experience for one learner, and create, share and recommend a sequence of topics for general use by learning preference.

  2. Wow, great question. There has been lots of discussion on wave on my website http://bit.ly/10iIrP but this hasn’t yet got around to what other things would look like given the same treatment.

    So how might highly scalable learning work?

    Well some of the underlying technologies in wave are things like “spelly”, which is a background natural language spell checker, but a very clever one that not only looks for spelling errors but also context and miss usage. So in a highly scalable learning platform there may be underlying technologies that sit in the background that knows where the main areas of miss understanding or confusion are, in the same way that a one to one session with a teacher would and gently help clarify those problems, perhaps by asking further questions.

    Perhaps things like behavioral tracking, so watching to see the frequency that a learning, accesses materials, and how their progress along a particular learning path is going, maybe changing the difficulty levels, or adding more or less fun elements to keep them interested.

    Other areas obviously would be lots of peer learning, so being able to ask questions and suggests answers, either in real time like with twitter or wave or more like a wiki depending on the number of people studying any given track.

    There may also recommendation engines where at any stage you could ask how something works or for an example and be linked be libraries of related resource materials , case studies, video, audio clips, questions, work sheets, tests and almost certainly virtual models. These libraries should be available for peer recommendation as well.

    Personal study tracking, resource management and book marking would also be an important factor.

    Well that is possibly a start, i’m not sure if i’m not falling into using the wave model and looking at what is currently potentialy possible or whether i should be truely linking outside of the box and thinking of stuff that we don’t currently know were doing badly.

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