Looking backward, looking forward

Thank you for joining us into a future view of 3D learning. These forecasts in the year 2020 revolve around the notion that learners need to learn “to be” in 3D. No longer are they focused on learning about stuff and then going to apply it somewhere else; learners adapt to learning environments in which they are participating all of the time. Work environments are virtual, learning environments are virtual, connected entertainment environments are virtual. Learning is continuous and is integrated in all of our digital life.

Here are some thoughts about learning in the year 2020 that reflect these changes. These are macro forecasts that shape the way we will think about learning, and how to design it and leverage it in new ways as part of the knowledge economy.

At the end of the essay, to provide a historical perspective, I provide a comparative table of earlier predictions made by my colleagues and I in a report produced for the U. S. Department of Commerce, called 2020 Visions: Transforming Education and Training through Advanced Technologies. Those predictions were made seven years ago in 2002. What’s changed?

First start by looking at this set of predictions written ten years ago for the US Department of Commerce by ten notables in this space.

From the book, here are the forecasts from Randy Hinrichs, Managing Partner of 2b3d, Faculty at UW iSchool in Virtual Worlds, Consultant and advocate of 3D learning for over 15 years.

Forecast 1:  We will live inside the data in the 2020, learning through adaptation. The learner becomes the group manager of a problem solving activity. They will simultaneously move between the virtual and physical through mobile computing devices.  They will operate in task oriented, rich role playing holodecks that read data directly from physical sensors. Connected to each other as avatars in virtual worlds, learners will jump into a virtual scenario to practice skills with other participants by accomplishing something that needs to get done, and time, quality and money will be the drivers to get the job done.

Forecast 2:  We evolve into problem-based, reflective learners.  In 2020, students will think of learning as what they need to know to solve a problem, not memorization. They are active in learning what resources are needed, what tools they’ll need, who is their collaborators and competitors. They frame the problem in a virtual world, bringing together their customers and partners into their 3D learning environments to help them review the problem and form a strategy for pursuing a solution.

Forecast 3: We frame our learning into visualizations. In 2020, the learner has tools for combining all their expressions into a rich 3D interactive visualization. 3D interactivity becomes a literacy and students are immersed in 3D and producing 3D content rapidly. Software tools will enable learners to easily design, develop, measure, and demonstrate their learning through immersive experience.

Forecast 4: We create everything new the first time. Unlike content on the web today which is always on, always the same information pushed to us no matter who we are, in 2020 the places that a learner goes to retrieve information changes automatically upon their arrival. The learning environment evaluates all prior knowledge and begins an interactive dialogue with the learner asking questions and listening to the responses. The user moves information components around, sensing and reflecting on their appropriate place in the environment. The people that appear in the learning environment are paired to the learner because of their novelty and their emotional IQ. Experiential interaction is the key outcome. The learner creates the environment by pulling forward those components that satisfy the learning needs.

Forecast 5:  Learners filter their results into transactional interfaces. Because all sorts of people are available in-world, learners can buy nanoconsulting time from others to help them figure out a component of their problem. They can use money or knowledge objects as transaction currency. Adding this layer to learning creates motivation and quality development.

Each learner has the potential to distribute their outcomes to the rest of the world in 2020. Instead of document management tools, shared 2D web spaces, virtual worlds are generated on the fly adding context to each new location. Given the bandwidth and computing speeds in 2020, learners will easily be able to upload 100-gigabits of content per second. The more original content that a learner creates, the more valuable the learner becomes in his contributions.

Prediction in 2002 Prediction in 2009 Comment
STRATEGIES: Learning relies on technology to connect diverse groups together to work on relevant tasks and create digital archives of work. STRATEGIES:  Learning relies on virtual worlds to connect communities of experts, mentors and peers to co-create inside virtual environments. Shift from just accessing technology to living in the data inside rich visual environments.
HARDWARE: Learners rely on broadband videoconferencing, interactive visualizations across interconnected networks, multiple devices and an “Internet in the ear” device. HARDWARE: Learners will wear devices that allow computing on any surface, access to supercomputers, and body sensors for determining cognitive state.  Move away from “the computer” to digital interaction with every device. More integration into the body for feedback.
SOFTWARE: Software supports collaborative learning through video, audio, and voice recognition.  Software personalizes all your information. SOFTWARE:  Software supports production in multimedia virtual worlds, with personalized dynamic 3D digital libraries. Software focuses on relevance of your information. Shift into production in 3D virtual worlds and interaction with data, rather than “searching” for data.
PEDAGOGY: Learning will be experiential and personalized in game like environments. Q&A dominates interaction. PEDAGOGY: Learning will be problem based and driven by requirements, milestones, and acceptance criteria. Learning is more directly connected to solving problems through visualizations rather than consumption. So, users will create to learn.
CONTENT: No one owns content as an end product. It is molecular at its origin and shared by everyone. CONTENT: IP ownership on content is discrete with embedded meta data for copy, transfer and modify rights. Learning environments provide experience and social networking adding value to content, and making it and the learner more a part of the knowledge economy.
TOYS: Embedded technology captures learner’s habits and preferences. TOYS:  Embedded technology captures learner’s habits and adapts. Toys contain chips and can communicate to 3D printers for reconstruction.
MENTORS: Virtual mentors will assist all learners. MENTORS: Virtual teams will assist all learners. Guilds of professionals move as one in virtual worlds.
ASSESSMENT: Capture technologies record learner’s cognitive achievement and provide constant feedback. ASSESSMENT: Learners assess the learning environments cognitive achievement and sends it constant feedback as well.  Assessment is the heart of interconnected learning and requires bi-directional feedback.
ECONOMICS: Transactions and recommender systems are integrated into the learning environment. School is tied more to industry and civic activities for content. ECONOMICS: Every learner creates their own digital learning objects and sells them or gives them away. Learning by doing by putting the leaner in the center of the experience.  3D learning creates jobs and scales education to a universal model.

The book goes into the detail.

One Response to “Looking backward, looking forward”

  1. Silas Bisking Says:

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