Thursday, November 3, 2016

Pursuing the Future in E-Learning--Part II---Putting the Pieces Together

Although the use of technology is important in collaborative thinking, we should remember that it starts with the human being and his or her skillsets. It was pointed out that the necessary skillsets that learners need to nurture and develop have changed because of the paradigm shift brought on by the triumvirate of three driving forces:
  1. Pedagogy
  2. Technology
  3. Change Management

When we now look at "collaborative thinking" in this new context, we are not talking about the group work or "break out sessions" of the past. The characteristics that learners must have in order to work collaboratively in an online environment is largely defined by the nature of the online resources available. The purpose for such activity now takes on the need to solve complex real world problems that will in fact have consequences that will benefit people and their quality of life on a global scale. Consideration must once again be given to the "cause and effect" construct.The groups that will come together in an online environment with the mandate to research and produce solutions to very real and complex societal problems, will be made up of people who believe that the modern world problems of today can only be solved through a cross disciplinary approach. Unlike the protected silos of knowledge and skillsets of the past, the new collaborative thinking recognizes the need to bring together individuals who have the necessary skillsets to solve a complex problem. A simple example might be the following:

Tasked Problem: " Dateline: August 25, 2017:A plane carrying diplomats from three countries has crash landed on a small plateau of ice in the Himalayas at a peak called Nanga Parbat. Transponders on the bodies of the diplomats are sending back physiological data  including heart, respiration, and internal body temperature readings. Readings indicate that all diplomats are alive although there is a discrepancy in body temperatures. The transponder of the plane, although weak, indicates that the plane crashed at 6700 m. above sea level."


  1. In order to mount a rescue, what disciplines and skillsets will be needed in order to not only get a complete picture of the problem and then come up with an effective solution?
  2. Checking with online AI, give us a list of people who have the necessary complementary skillsets that we will need to address the tasked problem.
  3. What global databases will we need to have free and open access to in order to establish an effective VPN?
  4. What are the potential routes that may be used for the intended rescue? Who can provide us with accurate pro's and con's of each route?
  5. What technologies can we harness in order to get a full picture of the problem and come up with solutions? How do we maintain contact with body transponders if power starts to fail?

Collaborative thinking goes beyond simple discussion and instead incorporates each team member's ability to access credible data, assess data from a number of sources and use the individual specific talent whether it is meteorology, mathematics, or medical skills and contribute to the analysis of the problem and ultimately to an innovative but effective solution.
An important skillset that all team members must have is the practiced ability to ask the right questions about the problem tasked. This is where access to an AI machine is invaluable because of its ability to do needed calculations, offer probability factors and also link with important global discipline databases on the web. The problem suggested above is relatively simple compared to the many complex rel world problems that the world currently faces. In these types of problems, the "wild card" is the unpredictable behaviour of human beings.

This type of scenario based learning is the type that should be utilized more and more in E-Learning because it nurtures the type of collaborative thinking needed in order for agents of change to become effective problem solvers of the very real problems that our world faces. The skillset of being able to interface with an AI and its abilities will enable us to go along way to the goal of stopping global problems that are destabilizing our civilizations. The path taken is exciting, purposeful and meaningful.

Next...Pursuing the future in E-Learning---Creativity and Innovation Thinking
[It is worth taking note that conversations only can take place when people are willing to share their views on topics. Surprisingly enough it is under such conditions that deeper learning takes place rather than the shallow temporary learning that takes place in information jolts. Pass this message along.]

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