Tuesday, 11 May 2010

In 2015 augmented learning in a ubiquitous learning environment will be fact

In the Big Question launched by Tony Karrer this month, he wonders what workplace learning will look like in 2015?

This is a very nice challenge, it is short and this question allows you to focus on the gut-feeling you get when looking at all the new emerging technologies.

With the mobile technology increasing and all of us eLearning providers grasping what benefits mobile learning has, I feel confident that the most innovative corporations and academic institutions will invest in their learning environments. These investments will embrace the new learning opportunities that result from adapting a new sense of learning: augmented learning, and a new way of learning: ubiquitous learning.

Augmented learning
Through augmented learning a completely new layer is added to the real and virtual learning that is happening right now. Augmented learning allows us to perceive the real world, and add an extra learning layer to it. This learning layer might be delivered above the existing real world we observe (e.g. the mobile browser layar ), or it can allow us to recognize the real world and get information on it (e.g. google Goggles), or an augmented reality can be brought to live via a barcode attached to a camera (e.g. ARToolKit).

These innovative learning techniques seem to be far off, but they are actually already being incorporated in some corporate learning environments (see this finish example where engineers get on-site information from which they learn what can improve, and which enables them to give immediate feedback to the site again: link to the plant )

Augmented reality allows you to get more information than you can see with the naked eye. And because it can be linked to mobile devices, you can have that information where you need it.

Ubiquitous learning
Our learning environments have evolved. Until only a couple of years ago learning was rather linked to a certain location: your desk or school. With mobile learning on the rise, learning can happen apart from location (and whenever you want it). But in order to do this, the learning environment must be adapted so this ubiquitous learning can occur.

In order to do this the learning environment must be able to cater to a variety of technologies (sometimes you connect with your computer, sometimes with your mobile, sometimes with someone else's device...) and it must be build so the learner can reach relevant information in a variety of ways (e.g. qrcodes, mobile internet, wifi, ...). It must also cater to the need of the learner (some of us learn through our network => social media access, some of us through a content management system => cms that allows multiple device access...).

At this point in time it still takes a lot of effort to really roll out a ubiquitous environment, but in about 5 years we should be ready to feel comfortable to live in a world from which we learn what we want, whenever we want, and with any device we can get our hands on.

Of course this does express the need for standardization both on the device side as on the connection side (oh, would not that be great!).

And to see what lies ahead, it is always a good thing to look back. So have a look at the Future of Education: best articles from 2009 according to Robin Good.