In today’s increasingly fluid and complex world where things that seem ‘modern’ can turn out to be outdated the next day, the constant influx of disruptions and innovations have predominantly shifted the way we live our life to the extent of what it was a decade ago. With changing time, Mr. James R. Engel, a Chief Learning Architect at SEAC, has called attention to education and the way we learn as things that are in dire need of an upgrade

In his talk, he shared with us 7 ways of how we can transform learning from ‘sucks’ to ‘cool’ with ways that can improve one’s life work with the help of technology.

WHY THE CURRENT WAY WE LEARN SUCKS AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?

There’s no company in the world that could survive decades without making major shift or improvements to its operation, though that is not the case for education and learning as Mr. Engel believed. For decades traditional education or our way of learning have essentially remained the same, with it still following the framework used 50 years ago, mainly being lecture-based.

Name an industry that’s raised its price by 1400% without any significant innovation or delivery service improvement.

- Prof. Scott Galloway on CNN Talk with Anderson Cooper


He gave several examples including how universities still focus solely on putting learners in seats, corporations putting their budget on training and event-based learning, and e-learning (such as self-paced, and Virtual Instructor Led Training) in what supposed to be a low-budget solution. Such methods proved to be ineffective given its nature of forcing content onto people, resulting in one-way communication that lacks interaction between educators and learners.

Furthermore, in the present where turmoil and disruption reigns, Mr. Engel addressed the urgency to reskill at-least a billion people in the workforce in the next 10 years stating that our way of learning will not be enough. Regarding the concerns, there is still a silver lining with the recent pandemic situation that acted as a catalyst in pushing the education and the learning industry with technology. 

Thus, he shared that individuals to corporations can transform learning from the traditional ‘sucks’ to the up to date ‘cool’.

 7 Ways to Transform Learning from “Sucks” to “Cool” with Technology

1. From Topic/Content to Learner outcome/content

With traditional learning focusing on content delivery, Engel pointed that what education has failed is trying to push content into the learner without listening to them or seeing the context that they are in. What needs to be changed is to shift the focus from just delivering content to the learner outcome and context. This can be done by matching content with the learner’s situation, building courses or lessons with the learner in mind, and focusing on the outcome of what they can do to make their life better, instead of dumping tools and theories that don't connect the learner to their world. For example, in the case of ‘ time management’ course, it can be change to ‘getting more things done’ 

2. Ways Virtual Live Learning works BETTER

While there are many skeptics out there toward virtual learning, Engel pointed that the recent pandemic has shown that often it can work better than face-to-face learning. As in a virtual classroom, other than can we “virtually” do anything, it can also...

1) Offer a rich learning environment through interactive tools such as polls, chats, drawing and other things that cannot be done in a normal classroom.

2) Enhanced Interaction as a virtual environment can enable more opportunity for learners to converse back and forth with less friction.

3) Mirror real life more than a classroom as learning in a virtual classroom will represent more of what work will be in the future.

4) Lead to more flexibility to apply learnings, as it allows the learners to breakdown learning at their own convenience instead of at the mercy of the content deliverer.

5) Be much easier to bring in real world examples through enabling learners to interact with any content brought up in virtual learning with the tools.

6) Break down barriers, everyone is equal front and center, leaving no one behind at the back of the classroom.

3. Use ‘4 Lines of Learning’

As a concept by SEAC to make learning more engaging, 4Lines learning can be thought of as lanes on the highway to greater capability, going up from On-Line, In-Line, Front-line, to Bee-line.

4 Lines serve as learning formats that offer different learning purposes throughout the learner’s journey. For example, if one wants to grasp foundational knowledge they can just follow the on-line method through learning online solo, whereas if they prefer a much more dynamic experience, they could go In-Line and attend workshops.

As such, learners could have an option to ‘change lanes’ based on what they want to learn in the moment from the beginning (where they are) to the end (where they want to be).

4. Digital Learning Journeys & Missions

With the help of technology, going digital will change the way we can map our learning and mission journey. We can lay out sequences of activities, map them out and track them online with the help from digital application and tools. Not only can digital software help us remind us what to do next, they can also offer rewarding, gamified experience and engaging ways for learning to be integrated into our work and life more seamlessly.

5. Increase Social Learning & Community Using Digital Tools


“People are social beings and want interaction. Social learning is the primary form of learning. Just as word of mouth is the highest form of advertising”

Citing Stephen Covey, Mr. Engel addressed that we have underestimated and underutilized the power of community and socializing in learning. With social learning and community engagement, putting learners to work on a similar problem or project not only can people psychologically be peer-pressured to contribute their wisdom to the collective group, it is also a natural way to increase collaboration, ideation, innovation and retention. Moreover, learners can utilize social networks to reinforce their learning in a fun and engaging way from using platforms such as Facebook, IGs or even Tiktoks.

 6. Higher Engagement & Fun with Gamification

The learning experience would not be as engaging as if it was gamified, therefore Gamification plays a huge role in adding rewards and fun for the learner throughout each stage in their learning journey. As a matter of fact, according to Mr. Engel, Gamified activities increase motivation by 48%, giving examples of using Kahoots, using simple questions, to bringing dogs to class in his virtual classroom. With tons of gamified tools out there, there’s no excuse not to transform our environment into a fun engaging one.

7. Be a Lifelong Learner, Encourage Others

Last but not least, is about us. Mr. Engel stressed that we need to build ourselves and others to be great learners. Whether it be the current generations or the next, what we need to be not ‘book smart’ but ‘learning smart’ starting from building habits of learning, using technology to integrate learning and growth to our daily life and work. Also, as we start to become an influencer or leader, we can be a role model that encourages others and even raises the bar higher when it comes to transforming education and the way we learn.

Ending his session, Mr. Engel believed that making learning less ‘sucky’ and ‘cooler’ by upskilling ourselves fast enough will happen at the digital intersection of context, capability, content, connection of the people in integration with the 7 tools he shared. Leaving with a remark that If we wish to transform our learning, we need to learn differently, starting now. 

This is just a sampling of the great content you’ll find at the Techsauce Global Summit 2020. Check out all the sessions here http://summit.techsauce.co.

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