Thursday, September 14, 2017
I am at the Smart Learning Institute at Beijing Normal University and visited NetDragon in Fuzhou while here. In various discussions, I have arrived at the thought that learning systems of the future might become organic as opposed to merely being adaptive to different learners. An organic learning system would have two important characteristics, both of which involve a developmental aspect.
First, an organic learning system would have the ability to learn. This could occur through a process of examining large sets of data about learners or subject matter and noticing patterns among the data; when a pattern is identified, it could become a new rule in a relevant database and used to guide and support subsequent learners and learning activities. An organic learning system might then be said to mature and grow more intelligent over time and with experience.
Second, an organic learning system would view learners as developing individuals. What the system knows about learner X1 at time T1 might not apply to that learner at a later time. The learner might have developed new interests or changed majors and become engaged in different outside activities, all of which could be used to customize learning activities for that learner. An organic learning system, then, recognizes that the primary users of the system are organisms that change over time. In recognition of that fact, an organic learning system would support learner choice and control with regard to what to learn, when, in what order to proceed, at what pace, and with which learning activities.
Well, it’s just a thought … I must add that I was totally impressed by how Dejian Liu has created and organized an amazing work environment at NetDragon (see, for example, http://netdragon.com/about/picture1.shtml).