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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Innosight's Michael Horn on How 'Blended Learning' and Technology Can Bridge the Education Gap

Photo: Michael Horn
In less than a decade, half of high school courses in the U.S. will be online, according to Michael Horn, author and co-founder of The Innosight Institute. The Internet will improve how people learn, Horn tells Arabic Knowledge@Wharton, and will be key to reforming the educational system of the future. He sees the advent of 'blended learning,' a system of customized, student-centric learning paired with supervision, which would allow educators to adopt more specialized roles. Across the globe, he adds, mobile devices will be crucial to help bridge the education gap in developing countries.

Photo: Gestures

Horn co-wrote the bestselling book Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns with Harvard Professor Clayton Christensen. He and Christensen later co-founded The Innosight Institute, a non-for profit think tank devoted to applying the theories of disruptive innovation to problems in the social sector.

In the future, Horn predicts the majority of students will be engaged in what he calls "blended learning" where they'll learn online with control over the pace of their learning in schools with teachers providing guidance. As new technologies and applications are introduced into schools, he also predicts the future of teaching shifting into three roles: Teachers who act as mentors and motivators; content experts; and case workers that help students deal with non-academic obstacles to learning. Horn sees such changes creating a more student-centric education system where each child can learn at a customized pace and path.

An example Horn cites is the Khan Academy, launched in 2006 by Salman Khan, a Bangladeshi-American with a mission to provide high quality and free education to anyone in the world through an online platform. An MIT and Harvard Business School graduate, Khan came up with the idea after tutoring his cousin in mathematics using Yahoo!'s Doodle notepad.

Source: Knowledge@Wharton