Print Shortlink

Synchronizing learning and life: push or pull?

Lisa Gualtieri and Bob Little wrote the following, inspired, in part, by the personalized advertising Tom Cruise’s character received in Minority Report.
Imagine driving down the highway listening to tips on presenting to help you prepare for a talk you’re giving this morning. There are some interruptions with investment advice about the companies you drive past. Then someone almost hits you when they change lanes abruptly and you receive a refresher course on defensive driving. As you approach your desk, you are notified of opportunities to respond to colleagues’ requests for assistance and opportunities to discover what they are working on. Now someone is knocking on your door of your virtual office, where you were before you left home. Welcome to the world of location-based mobile learning.
To the best of our knowledge, this scenario doesn’t exist but it may be imminent.
Last year in the UK, Coventry University’s Serious Games Institute collaborated with Cisco and Giunti Labs to create a learning environment that blends mobile and virtual learning worlds technologies. It uses wireless location services to track real-world positions and movements integrated within a learning content management system.
Earlier this year, a consortium of 13 European organizations, the Interactive Realtime Multimedia Applications on Service Oriented Infrastructures (IRMOS) Project, produced an interim report about the project’s use of grid and cloud computing to provide resources to bring learners together in both the real and virtual worlds. The objectives are to extend “geo-learning” to enable a learner’s avatar to be synchronized with that learner’s movements in the real world and receive location-based learning materials and community services based on relevance and context awareness. The real time system will synch user interactions and information within a virtual reconstruction of the visited premises.
The integration of these technologies is fascinating. However, we already suffer from information overload and increased connectivity, while offering many advantages, seems to make it worse. Or perhaps our problem is really lack of effective personalized learning opportunities.
In the early days of groupware the distinction was made between push and pull technologies. Location tracking blurs this since information is pushed as you move. You are still in control of what you get in the sense that you control where you move.
The most interesting issue here is the balance between seeking relevant learning and having it pushed based on triggers. Personalized learning always sounded good in theory, but what may have missing was location – and that may be changing now.

One Response

  1. Guy Boulet

    I think to much information is as inefficient as not enough. The question is to get the information we need when we need it. What do I care about the financial information of companies I drive by? And I already have my wife sitting next to me telling me how to drive safely, I don’t need a computer to do it as well.
    In my opinion, by trying to know too much we are just making things worst. We generally thend to best remember things we worked hard to find that information thrown at us.

Leave a Reply