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Monday, November 24, 2014

Personalized learning encourages creativity

"Associate professor at New York University Winslow Burleson gave a Human-Computer Interaction seminar lecture on motivational environments." reports Adithya Venkatesan, Junior Staffwriter.

Photo: CMU The Tartan Online

With so many new technologies available today, from robots to responsive spaces, we have a great opportunity to make better systems for personalized learning, intelligent creativity support, and open health innovation.

“Some knowledge is sticky and hard to acquire and often you can understand that knowledge in one of two ways: A self-discovery, and a toolkit that brings about that discovery,” said Winslow Burleson, an associate professor at New York University’s College of Nursing, during a Human-Computer Interaction seminar lecture last Wednesday titled “Motivational Environments: Strategies for Personalized Learning, Intelligent Creativity Support, and Open Health Innovation.”

“If we take education broadly as being a training of individuals’ expertise for them to contribute to society and we take a perspective of time, over time we’ve had the ability to train individuals to sufficient expertise to deal with the problems of the day,” Burleson said.

As a result, people have been able to solve many of today’s problems, but as we solve these problems, even harder problems begin to appear. The difficulty curve increases rapidly, resulting in the need for a system that is able to sufficiently increase learners’ expertise to match the increasing curve. To fulfill this need, learners would have to acquire a broad range of knowledge and a deep understanding of the material. According to Burleson, this is the goal of personalized learning and teaching strategies.

Burleson said people need to be “engaged in passion-based learning” throughout their lives so that they can explore their interests and help humanity. These types of individuals are vital to solving the world’s newest problems. According to information provided by Stanford University and the University of Washington, formal learning takes up about 18.5 percent of a person’s life in grades one to 12, which is extremely rigid. Burleson argues that we can blur these lines to get a better lifelong learning opportunity.

This is the goal of Burleson’s inventors’ workshops, which are “open online and physical, peer supported and expert mentored, communities,” according to the abstract for his lecture. Focusing on the idea of Froebel Gifts, or providing gifts at the right time, such as when people need them, the workshops are designed to try to understand these gifts and toolkits. For example, one can find millions of hours of educational videos online, ranging from TED talks to online lectures from various colleges. But the problem with the workshops is that they are passive.

Source: CMU The Tartan Online

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