Wednesday, 12 September 2012

The Future of Learning Technologies


As we have covered many times in our blog we are living in an age where new technologies are being developed and released all the time and these technologies have fantastic uses in the world of education and more general learning.  A recent article discusses various learning technology trends of 2012.  These include cloud technologies (software online rather than on a single computer) and flipped learning (spending ‘home time’ doing things such as reading and listening to educational podcasts and ‘lesson time’ discussing and doing group projects).

One of the trends that the article cites is gamification.  It argues that games based learning is on the rise and it is effective as games “provide meaning through real engagement, immediate feedback and a sense of accomplishment that is well-integrated with sound pedagogy”.  In fact, the article quotes a neurologist in saying “games provide an individualized achievable goal that initiates the dopamine-reward system, which provides a powerful pleasure response”.  Scientific proof that games based learning is great :)  Another mechanism that occurs was discussed in our previous blog post, ‘Neuroscience, Stress and Games Based Learning’.

The article also suggests that games based learning works so well because it is a safe environment in which to explore.  I mentioned in a previous blog post (‘Unorthodox Uses of Games in Education’) an article entitled ‘9 ways virtual learning is better’ which is really worth a look and this makes the same point.  In fact number one on their list is “With virtual experience, there is no risk. No danger. No loss of money or resources (other than the cost of designing and doing the activity). Minimal loss of time. Not so in the real world”.


This is a nice little graphic from envisioningtech.com to represent the future of educational technology.  A large part of the visualisation is gamification, which they argue is so effective as it offers “instant feedback to acquired knowledge through achievements and reward systems”.  Another benefit is that is allows ‘self-paced learning’.  It looks like the future could be pretty bright for education technology, which could lead to some pretty bright kids.  Let’s hope that some of these technologies can actually break through the red tape and stagnation of the education system.

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3 comments:

  1. Game-based learning will have a huge impact on the education field. The military has been using game based learning and simulation for years now and it has been huge in helping train soldiers. The Firearms Training Simulator (FATS) has been used by the military and law enforcement to teach their personnel how to use various weapons. It also puts them in a scenario where they have to react and engage a criminal or combatant using a weapon. Scenarios range from pulling over a vehicle to engaging an enemy in a jungle (see website for more info: http://www.ammoland.com/2011/07/11/fats-firearms-training-simulator/#axzz26haCFuP3 ). Military pilots as well as commercial airline pilots use various aircraft simulators where they fly a virtual aircraft in a scenario. Tanks and Humvee training also have a simulator with a game like scenario that is used to train soldiers. There are even simulations that let you fight an entire war through a computer like game. Game based learning does provide a real world environment where trainees can learn and make all the mistakes they want because no one will get hurt or equipment damaged. The learner is actually engaged and can get immediate feedback on all their actions. Game-based learning also provides better learning because it stimulates all the senses. The military is fully engaged in game-based learning but as classrooms become more technology based it will soon be coming into the public and private schools more then it is currently used today.

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