Monday’s Night with a Futurist offered perspectives on “Next Generation Learning” provided by Michael Cushman. To Cushman, the opportunity for improved learning and training derives from the historically static nature of education combined with the potential offered by the increased pace of technology development. While “our founding fathers were born with the same technology they died with,” current generations are faced with an environment that changes much more rapidly. Advances in the fields of wireless communications and virtual simulation promise a Copernican revolution in education methodology, which Cushman currently identifies as the key constraint in solving the world’s largest problems.
Cushman believes the problem lies not in the ability to learn but rather in the use of less than optimal teaching methods. Teaching today is primarily based on a classroom model. Yet taking students from a classroom and instead providing one-on-one tutoring has been shown to achieve vastly superior learning – students from the 50 percentile moved to the 98 percentile – a 2 sigma (2 standard deviations) move. Similar results for individual instruction have been demonstrated for skills training in US Navy studies. With the clear success of this method, the question becomes how this tutoring environment can be mimicked without the expense and logistical impossibility of providing one-on-one human-based support.
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