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Learning from each other in an AI world

Undoubtedly machines learning from machines will exponentially speed up (assuming we have enough power in the world!) in the years ahead. But how will people learn in the future?

We are all increasingly aware that fast developing Artificial Intelligence (AI) and digital tools present us with a unique opportunity to reimagine and enhance learning.  Many in the world of education are busy trying to foresee what it will look like.

There is so much about the future we simply can’t predict, but whatever the tools and support systems will the nature of the way we learn change?

Here are some the reasons I think human connection will remain at the heart of how we learn, even in an AI world.

Deep rooted peer learning

Learning is a core part of what makes us human.  Machines may emulate us. But our connectedness to each other and ability to learn from each other is built into our DNA.   The effectiveness and inbuilt nature of social based learning is one the reasons we will continue to learn with and from each other.

We observe peer and collaborative learning across all areas of life, from children in the home learning from siblings to apprentices learning on the job from their colleagues.

Central to the power of peer learning is the reality that we learn a huge amount in life from those in close proximity to us.

Social learning theory particularly highlights the importance of learning through observation, imitation, and modelling of behaviors within a community or group.  Think school playground or the role of social media impacting behaviours and even political opinion.

Contextualising learning

The impact of peer learning extends far beyond the acquisition of knowledge. It can play a pivotal role in building confidence, resilience, and the soft skills necessary in today’s ever-changing world.

This kind of collaborative learning has long been recognised for its ability to facilitate deeper understanding, critical thinking, and active engagement among learners. All capabilities that will become even more essential in an AI-driven world.

By fostering environments that encourage collaboration and leveraging technology to amplify these contextual interactions, we can ensure a future where learning is not just about the acquisition of knowledge, but about building the confidence, character, and competencies needed for us to thrive in our present and future environments.

Tech enabled collaboration

Even the UK government has recognized the value of collaborative learning, emphasizing its importance in developing the skills and competencies needed for the future workforce. In a recent statement, the government highlighted the role of technology in enhancing collaborative learning experiences, stating, “Technology-driven solutions can play a crucial role in scaling effective peer learning practices, making them more accessible and impactful for learners across the nation.”

Research shows that learners benefit from the shared exchange of knowledge, perspectives, and experiences. Such interactions not only enhance cognitive development but also extend our support networks and broaden our perspectives.

I’ve personally seen how building an online learning environment with real human connection at it’s core can measurably enhanced the learning experience.

Knovia’s new Elevate learning model is utilising learning tech to free up tutors for more meaningful interaction with learners and is utilising online collaborative learning to contextualise and apply the learning for the apprentices – all leading to greater engagement and higher satisfaction with the learning experience.

AI driven connection

Technological advancements have given rise to the latest cohort of EdTech companies that are pioneering the use of AI in collaborative learning environments. These platforms leverage AI to provide real-time feedback, personalised learning paths, and collaborative tools that enhance interaction and engagement among learners.

The development of these platforms to increase, rather than replace human interaction and engagement, is a key opportunity to transform traditional educational models, to broaden participation and make learning more engaging and effective.

For example, AI-driven platforms can intelligently match learners with complementary skills and knowledge areas, building a more cohesive and productive learning community.

For me, this is where most of our focus and efforts should be going as we look at how to utilise AI to enhance the impact and effectiveness of our learning models.

Making ‘one small step for mankind’ at a time

It is easy to become paralysed by fear of the future and bury our head in the sand.  Yes, it does feel like tech is changing quickly, but people don’t.

According to the World Health Organisation (2023) only 68% of the world have access to a private toilet that safely disposes of waste.  Only 63% of the world have high-speed internet access and even then, the definition and consistency of ‘high-speed’ can vary hugely!   Whilst around 80% of the world’s children have access to lower senior education (with highly variable quality), the numbers drop considerably for upper secondary education and reduces to 40% for higher education.

There are both human and technology barriers to the speed at which tech can enhance the human learning experience.  AI-driven edtech can play a powerful part of the solution to democratised access to education, but getting the basic infrastructure in place necessary to support this will still take time.  And our human resistance to change is not necessarily a bad thing if we are protecting the things that make us human.

It is great to see the learning and education world starting to play with new AI tools. Building them into our development models will require a bit of trial and error.  This is, of course, how the future of human learning will be created.

My hopeful expectation is that the new tools in our hands will help us to develop future learning that is more collaborative, human connected and socially transformative.

References:

Topping, K. J. (2005). Trends in peer learning. Educational Psychology, 25(6), 631-645. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01443410500345172

Vygotsky, L. (1978). Mind in Society: The Development of Higher Psychological Processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Bandura, A. (1977). Social learning theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Boud, D., Cohen, R., & Sampson, J. (2001). Peer learning in higher education: Learning from and with each other. London: Kogan Page. https://www.koganpage.com/product/peer-learning-in-higher-education-9780749436125

Siemens, G. (2005). Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age. International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning, 2(1). http://www.itdl.org/Journal/Jan_05/article01.htm

UK Government. (2023). Future of Work: The role of technology in enhancing collaborative learning and skills development. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications

Finnish National Agency for Education. (2020). The Finnish Education System. https://www.oph.fi/en/education-system

Ministry of Education, Singapore. (2021). Singapore’s Education System: An Overview. https://www.moe.gov.sg/education/education-system

Luckin, R., Holmes, W., Griffiths, M., & Forcier, L.B. (2016). Intelligence Unleashed: An argument for AI in Education. Pearson. https://www.pearson.com/content/dam/one-dot-com/one-dot-com/global/Files/about-pearson/innovation/open-ideas/Intelligence-Unleashed-Publication.pdf

OECD. (2019). OECD Future of Education and Skills 2030. https://www.oecd.org/education/2030-project/

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The Autonomy, Technology and Coaching (ATC) Learning Model

The ATC Learning Model is a unique approach to adult learning that empowers learners to take control of their learning journey, while providing them with the necessary support and guidance to achieve their goals. By integrating life experience, technology, and coaching, the model delivers highly effective vocational learning that is relevant, relatable, and impactful. By implementing this model, learners can have an improved learning experience and take control of their learning journey, which can positively impact their overall experience.

  1. Autonomy and Life Experience Integration:

Adult learners are empowered to take control of their learning journey, setting their own goals and choosing their learning paths. This component aligns with Malcolm Knowles’ principles of adult learning, emphasising that adults are self-directed and autonomous learners. The model recognises and values the rich life and work experiences of adult learners, encouraging them to draw upon these experiences to make learning more relevant and relatable.

  1. Technology Integration:

The model harnesses technology, including digital platforms, online resources, and interactive tools, to create immersive and effective learning experiences. The use of technology aligns with the stages of the SAMR (Substitution, augmentation, modification and redefinition) model, where technology enhances and transforms the learning experience. The SAMR model allows us to leverage technology for transformative purposes, ultimately leading to improved teaching and enhanced learning outcomes. It promotes creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and prepares learners for the digital age while ensuring that technology serves as a valuable tool to support teaching and learning.

  1. Coaching and Mentorship:

Specialist industry coaches are readily available to provide guidance, answer questions, and offer valuable feedback to learners. Learners benefit from one-on-one coaching sessions to address specific learning needs and maximise their growth potential. Coaching is a powerful tool for developing learners, as it helps them to identify their strengths and weaknesses, set goals, and work towards achieving them.

References:

  1. Knowles, M. S. (1980). The Modern Practice of Adult Education: From Pedagogy to Andragogy. Cambridge Adult Education.
  2. Puentedura, R. R. (2006). Transformation, Technology, and Education. Retrieved from http://www.hippasus.com/rrpweblog/archives/2016/05/29/TransformationTechnologyAndEducation.pdf

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Transforming education: evolving learning through a versatile, balanced method

At our core, as a committed apprenticeship training provider, our mission revolves around equipping aspiring professionals with the essential skills, knowledge and hands-on experience imperative for thriving in their chosen careers. Apprenticeships, focusing on learning while actively engaging in their roles, underscore the significance of blending formal education, practical experiences, collaborative learning, and feedback. Embracing innovative learning models is our continuous effort, and the 70:20:10 approach resonates deeply with our structured apprenticeship training format.

In the field of education and professional development, the 70:20:10 learning model has garnered increasing attention as an effective training approach combining formal, social, and experiential learning. This model, supported by research and learning experts, presents an unconventional yet highly effective way of acquiring and retaining knowledge and skills, mirroring how humans naturally learn and grow.

 

The 70:20:10 learning model fundamentally highlights a well-rounded learning approach that acknowledges three pivotal aspects of knowledge acquisition and skill enhancement:

70% experiential learning: Acknowledging that hands-on experience is pivotal for skill development, around 70% of learning happens through practical application. This feature allows apprentices to directly engage with real-world tasks, challenges, and scenarios, aligning with their future role.

20% social learning: Collaboration, mentorship, and peer interaction play a crucial role in apprentice’s journey. This 20% social learning component encourages apprentices to learn from mentors, colleagues, and fellow apprentices, facilitating the exchange of insights and perspectives.

10% formal learning: While experiential and social learning take precedence, structured classroom sessions, workshops, one-to-one tutor-led sessions, and essential courses constitute roughly 10% of the learning process, providing foundational theoretical knowledge to complement practical experiences.

 

The integration of the 70:20:10 model into apprenticeship training offers several benefits:

Relevance to real-world scenarios: The primary focus on experiential learning ensures that apprentices acquire skills directly applicable to their future careers, expediting the transition from learning to practical application.

Nurturing apprenticeship communities: the emphasis on social learning fosters a sense of belonging and community among apprentices, creating a supportive environment that enhances confidence and personal growth.

Soft skills enhancement: Aside from technical skills, learners develop vital soft skills like communication, teamwork, and problem-solving through experiential and social learning experiences.

Adaptability to industry changes: The 70:20:10 model inherently promotes adaptability, a crucial trait in an ever-evolving job market. Apprentices learn to navigate change and innovation through hands-on experiences.

Strategies for implementing the 70:20:10 learning model:

Encouraging informal learning spaces: Providing platforms for employees and learners to interact, share experiences, and learn from one another. This could be facilitated through discussion forums, social media groups, team projects or regular team meetings.

Offering constructive feedback: Constructive feedback is a vital component of the social learning aspect. Encouraging mentors and peers to provide feedback that highlights both strengths and areas for improvement.

Designing experiential learning opportunities: Structuring roles and projects that allow individuals to take on challenges and learn through hands-on experiences. Encouraging experimentation and providing a safe space for failure.

Balanced curriculum design: When designing formal training, strike a balance between theoretical knowledge and practical application. Incorporate case studies, simulations, and real-life examples to bridge the gap between theory and practice.

As an apprenticeship training provider, our dedication extends beyond crafting skilled professionals; we aim to nurture well-rounded individuals ready to make meaningful contributions to their respective industries. By embracing experiential learning, social collaboration, and formal education, we are actively shaping the future workforce of tomorrow and continually strive to elevate apprenticeship training to new standards, delivering an exceptional teaching and learning experience to every learner, every time.

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How putting quality at the heart of Tempdent has enabled me to grow a market-leading business.

Guest blog by Lorraine Nadel, MD Tempdent

I have always believed that quality should be the foundation upon which any successful business is built. From the very beginning, our mission at Tempdent has been clear: to provide high quality recruitment and training services to the dental profession in the UK. Today, I want to share with you how putting quality at the core of Tempdent has enabled us to grow into a market-leading business.

From the outset, we recognised that the dental sector had unique needs and demands. To truly serve our clients and candidates, we needed to understand these needs inside and out. Our commitment to quality began with a deep understanding of the industry, and that knowledge has been the compass guiding our growth.

Quality can only be achieved with the right people, so we assembled a team of highly experienced recruitment consultants and training staff who shared our passion for a One Tempdent. Their dedication to understanding the intricacies of dental professionals’ requirements and the ever-evolving dental landscape has been instrumental in our success.

One size does not fit all, especially in the dental sector. We took the time to tailor our services to meet the specific needs of both dental professionals and dental practices. Whether it’s finding the perfect match for a dental nurse or designing training programs, our commitment to quality shines through in every interaction.

To stay at the forefront of the industry, we’ve consistently embraced innovation. We introduced an online e-learning platform that provides flexibility and convenience for our training programs. We’ve invested in modern technology to streamline our recruitment processes, ensuring a seamless experience for our clients and candidates.

Quality is not just a buzzword; it’s about adhering to rigorous industry standards. We’ve always held ourselves to the highest ethical and professional standards. This commitment has earned us the trust of dental professionals and practices across the UK, further solidifying our position as a market leader. It also means being open to feedback and learning from our experiences. We actively seek feedback from our clients and candidates to continually improve our services. This commitment to listening has allowed us to adapt and grow in response to changing market dynamics.

Putting quality at the heart of Tempdent has not only enabled us to build a strong reputation but has also created a solid foundation for growth. Our journey at Tempdent has been one of continuous growth and improvement, driven by our unwavering commitment to quality. It’s a journey that wouldn’t have been possible without the dedication of our team, the trust of our clients and candidates, and our willingness to embrace change and innovation.

As we move forward under the umbrella of Knovia Group, we remain firmly committed to putting quality at the heart of everything we do, ensuring that Tempdent continues to lead the way in the dental recruitment and training industry.

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Opportunity for impact in the changing world of Education

Education – a basic human right – A guest blog from our Chair, Ben Pike

From the battle to ensure girls in Afghanistan have a right to education, to the launch of Harvard’s and Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Edx platform back in 2012 , initiatives to broaden access to education have been motivated by a belief that education is an enabler of social mobility and a catalyst for positive societal change. Today education is increasingly considered to be a basic human right .

The impact of learning on individuals can be seen in example after example of transformed opportunity and prospects. The return on investment for business is also clear, with an increasing number of employers recognising that a failure to develop the skills of their workforce is a failure to future proof their business.
Employers continue to complain of skill shortages and productivity challenges in the workforce are a very real inhibitor to economic growth and business success. Even the AI revolution is likely to just further accelerate the need for new skills, delivered even faster. Yet the lack of access to good education for the majority of the global population is still a present reality .

Education maybe accepted as an essential human need, but the opportunity remains to improve the quality of educational experience and to increase access to genuinely impactful learning.

Tech driven change – but we’re still human

Technology driven and AI based platforms offer a tantalising opportunity to democratise access to learning further, but the big danger is that they fail to deliver learning impact. Many major education initiatives over the last decade have delivered minimal impact, despite significant sponsorship , because the technology became the focus rather than the learner.

In the UK many education providers either lack technology capabilities or have an innate fear of change from teaching methods that have worked in the past. Universities struggle to agree their policies for Generative AI and continue to struggle to connect with the rapidly changing needs of industry . Global online content providers battle to improve their very low course completion rates but make little progress.
The way in which people access learning is clearly changing, but keeping people at the centre of the learning experience is key to future success.

Learner data and independent surveys indicate that the vast majority of people prefer to learn with others rather than alone. The world will continue to change but tomorrows education providers will need the capability and expertise to curate programmes that merge tech with human connection and carefully balance the economic benefits of digital with the effectiveness of in person interaction.

Impact – essential measures

The expectations of education providers are rising in our consumer driven world. Both employers and learners want education providers to deliver an impactful learning experience that develops useful new skills and capabilities. A tick box approach to learning is not enough. Education needs to deliver on its promise of improved employability, productivity and social mobility.

We all know that we generally improve what we measure. Therefore, building impact measures into future programmes is critical. This a good example of how technology can be harnessed to enhance learning outcomes. Using individualised tools to support initial assessment, building in ongoing assessment into programmes and where possible independently assessing outcomes are key ways in which impact can be consistently measured.

Integrating meaningful social, business and economic impact measures into learning programmes will be key to convincing stakeholders that education is a positive investment and to ensure learning models can continuing been enhanced and improved.

Future opportunities

Education has a proven impact on the lives of individuals, the performance of companies and the growth of economies . And technology should only make that impact bigger. Yet there are still too many stories of poor provision and too much educational practice stuck in the past.

This provides a backdrop of significant opportunity for a range of stakeholders to build progressive education platforms, programmes and companies that deliver an even better future for learning and in a way that is more impactful and efficient.

Many people who work in the sector see it as a vocation and are passionate to see the sector thrive and deliver more for students. Harnessing this committed workforce and supporting them to embrace and effectively utilise new tech/AI will unlock the potential of the education sector to have a growing impact.
Education is undoubtedly a wonderful sector in which to work, invest and contribute. For those seeking to build learning and education businesses, the future will require us to find more ways to bring together best in sector capabilities, encouraging collaboration, not just competition.

Future success will involve building scale to support proper investment in technology and methodology. It will require the development of human-centric learning solutions that give people the skills they need to perform in a fast-changing world.

Finally, the lesson from the last decade is that we must be relentless in focusing on delivering and measuring the impact of our education solutions and ensure learners remain at the very centre of our exciting future world.

Footnotes

A call for immediate return to school for all girls and women in Afghanistan! – Global Campaign for Education

edX – Wikipedia

Universal Declaration of Human Rights | United Nations Article 26

Skills and labour shortages – House of Commons Library (parliament.uk)

How will reforms to England’s skill system affect productivity? – The Productivity Institute

Right to Education : Situation around the world – Humanium

Why Most Ed Tech Fails (insidehighered.com)

GPT-4 is here. But most faculty lack AI policies. (insidehighered.com)

We must solve the HE-industry disconnect| THE Campus Learn, Share, Connect (timeshighereducation.com)

Why the completion rate for online courses are so low | LinkedIn

How Education and Training Affect the Economy (investopedia.com)