A short while ago, Bill Gates shared his views on learning technologies in an interview with The Verge. It is always interesting, or at least entertaining, to consider the views of a prominent thinker and technology businessperson.
He begins with an implicit plea for a common understanding of the term “personalized learning”. A request that could extend to other buzzwords from our field. This will make it easier to compare the actual progress in the existing rainbow of learning tech. He stresses the importance of going beyond subjective feelings as measurement of successful education, something other proponents are also mentioning.
Moodle’s offer of analytics plugins includes more wholesome approaches, closing in to a large scale view of learning interventions as investment.
Gates illustrates how a more granular view of a student skill set would make learning more efficient, particularly in the case of remedial strategies. Colleges everywhere invest in getting students up to speed before starting, but the strategies do not seem well-thought-out, in Gates’ eyes.
Moodle support for Competency-based learning is able to provide clear stats on the performance of a student by activity. Moreover, the system can be adjusted for difficulty and non-linear content organization, on an individual basis.
Gates highlights the importance of students to “get more time with the teacher“.
A well-versed moodler exploits the system to use their time in a more productive manner. Support for “flipped classrooms” means more time interacting with them face-to-face, than boring them, face-to-face.
Gates claims that the Common Core is a great opportunity for the VC world to fulfill “a set of knowledge” at a given grade, as it states the exact needs and learning outcomes.
Moodlepreneurs have also came up with solutions and opportunities to fulfill or strengthen the knowledge of a subject, potentially catering the nationwide Common Core market.
Gates admits mobile penetration and connectivity has increased equal access to learning solutions, winning the fight against discrimination. But there are smaller barriers that still need our attention.
The Moodleverse has made many efforts to allow students to continue their learning in extreme situations of connectivity and even limited power. It also recognizes Mobile is an open window with hurdles ahead.
Gates is not sure that learning technologies will completely erase the difficulty of some subjects. He’s looking at you two, Math and Writing. This gives him doubt about some novel approaches by young teachers that seem to dismiss the role of effort in acquiring a new skill.
Moodle, as an Open Source technology, embraces many approaches. But the last decision about methodologies lies on the instructor. Interestingly enough, Moodle has been home to several efforts to make matters simple, or at least make them feel like play.
To end his interview, Gates demands a more prominent role of AI in the classroom and all learning scenarios. At the end of the day, he is optimistic that smart tutors will be ready for everyone within a decade.
Us moodlers are hopeful and excited too. Machine Learning is increasingly prominent, and it’s expected to become more so as algorithms improve and more sources of data are available to everyone.