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Published on April 6th, 2009 | by Babar Bhatti

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Extreme Learning – Leapfrogging to Learning 3.0






E-Learning Series: By Phil Cruver, President of KZO Education

Learning 1.0 was about the delivery and management of online courses usually consisting of downloading text-based materials and perhaps the streaming of lengthy videotaped lectures for anytime and anyplace viewing. Learning 2.0 leveraged the vast array of interactive and collaborative Web 2.0 technologies and concepts such as social networks, wikis, podcasts, and blogs with user-generated content as the cornerstone. Learning 3.0 is now appearing on the evolutionary path, which when coupled with emerging digital distribution networks and mobile computing technologies, has the potential to revolutionize education.

In a recent meeting with senior strategists at Intel Corporation, they made it clear that “global extreme learning” and the challenges of its “massive scaling” have been on their radar for years. These articulate and seasoned technology strategists confessed that that they are struggling with defining the composition of extreme learning tools and the supportive ecosystem that must be developed for scaling global education. They also indicated that Learning 3.0 could be the missing link between two of Intel’s major initiatives: WiMAX for wireless broadband access and Atom microprocessors for next generation computing devices.

So what is Learning 3.0 and what technologies will shape its emergence and evolution? Consider: There are 455 WiMAX deployments underway in 135 countries covering over 430 million people and despite the slowing global economy, at least 100 more operators will deploy additional wireless networks this year. Atom chips are fueling the exploding market for low-cost, low-powered Netbooks, which will grow 66% this year to more than 27 million units and is expected to continue at breakneck rates.

Intel has committed $100 million annually for global education and has a huge footprint in Pakistan claiming to have trained 175,000 teachers in this nation with illiteracy exceeding half its population of 175 million – the 6th most populated country on the planet. Coincidentally, Pakistan possesses the first nationwide WiMAX network covering over 22 cities, making it ideal for showcasing how emerging market countries can leapfrog directly into next generation learning technologies.

Could extreme learning with new computing tools and digital distribution technologies assist and advance education in Pakistan? The recent announcement that a national curriculum will be approved in six months for introduction to the classrooms in 2010 may require a back-up strategy. Political risks and bureaucratic delays are inevitable and the costs and logistics for printing and distributing millions of traditional textbooks, vulnerable to obsolescence, are staggering.

According to USAID: “In Pakistan, the cost of teacher professional development is 25.5 times the cost of training a secondary school student. Producing low-grade teachers at such a high cost is a matter of concern”. It is estimated that there are about 1.4 million teachers in Pakistan, which must be doubled if universal education is to be achieved. Therefore, rather than continuing to incur “High Per Capita Cost for Low Grade Teachers”, with advanced and affordable streaming video technologies, lectures from top Pakistani teachers could be recorded for distribution over the Internet resulting in a quality education for millions of students.

WiMAX broadband connectivity to the Internet, coupled with Netbooks, would provide the infrastructure for producing and archiving quality video lectures for teacher professional development. This could serve as a scalable solution for augmenting education in Pakistan with access to the latest and best classroom practices and also provide a parallel back-up strategy.

Netbooks promise to debut this summer at $99 and at $10/school/month, all 25,000 public secondary schools in Pakistan could have access into a “Window on the World” with WiMAX/EDGE. At $3 million a year on a capital investment of about the same amount, this would be a pittance to pay for access to a global world of knowledge where traditional textbooks cannot compete. Furthermore, Learning 3.0 may provide the only opportunity to rapidly scale quality education for millions of Pakistanis wishing to compete in the 21st century global economy.

About the Author: Phil Cruver is President of KZO Education, a provider of comprehensive digital communications and training solutions for government and commercial clients. He is a serial entrepreneur, founder of three start-up companies, and has served as CEO of two public companies. Phil recently visited Pakistan and welcomes those who are interested in assisting education in Pakistan to join this Social Network.

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0 Responses to Extreme Learning – Leapfrogging to Learning 3.0

  1. Aejaz Karim says:

    yet another wastage of huge resources….

  2. Zahid Hussain says:

    Dear Phil
    It is good to hear about the planning of E-learning programs in pakistan.All the schools, colleges must provide the latest knowledge and latest technology.Beside this teachers are must for guideline,no one can deny the importance of teachers.
    We hope for the implementation of this project as soon as possible.

    regards

  3. Saima Shauket says:

    Dear Phil

    Efforts by all concerned people, organizations and governments to improve universal education through one of the important platform – Pakistan, are really appreciated. ICT is no doubt a very productive and fast way to set and achieve the targets of education in Pakistan. Public awareness programs through all types of media must be the important component. We are together here for this universal benefit.

    The future of Pakistan and E-learning in Pakistan will be bright and successful, INSHALLAH.

  4. Beena Raza says:

    Hello Phil ,

    Thanks for inviting for our comments . No doubt the role of ICTs – Information Communication Technologies will play a critical role in enhancing the cause of quality education in Pakistan . Intel has done a tremdous job of training the public sector teachers under their flagship program “Intel Teach to the Future ” … where the teachers have been trained to integrate technology into their classrooms . From our experience in the field the outreach and scaling up really gets restricted by the lack of infra structure facilities such as lack of computers and internet connectvitivity especially in the rural and district uptosts . The pockets of initiatives under International assistance have definitley demonstrated the potential benefits of integrating technoligies in our inefficient public sector schooling , however scaling up these efforst is still a challenge . Ina nut shell the demand is there but the supply side is chocked due to multiple bottlenecks . So lets collaborate in addressing the supply challenge .

  5. Dear Phil,

    I haven’t heard from you for so long,now I am glad to see you’re striving to establish this educational presence there where education might be at stake.

    A the moment I cannot think that cell phones can do the job properly. Instead, efforts have to be invested to erradicate copmuter illiteracy first, for there is still much of of notonly in Pakistan but all over the globe.

    What I mean to say, basically, is that we’d better concentrate on computer literacy for some time before seeking to target other far-fetched issues.

    Ed-Linls-Morocco is looking foward to more cooperation on behalf of KZO innovations.

    Warm regards

  6. Thanks Phil. I am glad you are active about issues in Education in Pakistan. Hope to see you back in Pakistan again.

  7. Babar Bhatti says:

    @Farman – HEC has done a tremendous job over the last few years and it has the experience to implement programs. We need to transfer that knowledge to primary/secondary levels as Shahzad mentioned.

    I completely agree that technology is only one part of the puzzle and a means to an end, certainly not the end itself.

  8. Shahzad A Fayyaz says:

    Phil: You blended facts and strategies in an ideal way but situation here on ground is bit different for implementation. NGOs contribution is always on pilot bases and no long-term sustainability without supervision of public department. Deployment of new e-learning strategies should be in selected urban and rural areas, as after studying its outcome we will be able to devise an effective and appropriate plan to implement.

    Baber’s comment regarding laptop for each individual that can be cut down by introducing groups and demonstration on multimedia projector. Intel’s contribution in this regard will be a major factor to make this idea a success. Similarly, we can also cut down training cost as well by setting up e-conferences between all partnered schools. We can deliver our training session from one point and our participants will be in all over the country.

    But the most important aspect of this entire issue is that who will take the ownership and initiative? As we all must have observed that once we have deployed strategy on experimental basis at smaller scale which goes well and when we expand that on larger scale it becomes failure with higher percentage. Only reason which I prefer more is that when we implement strategy on smaller level we monitor that and do address its concerns within time also we take ownership. On the larger scale particularly in Pakistan we are lacking in taking ownership and monitoring from our public department.

    So, before deploying or overhauling entire education system in Pakistan we should overhaul our department first and have to change their states of mind to work differently. There is lot of raw talent around us who can compete world by any mean but they need facilitation and guidance from parents and community which requires a massive awareness campaign.

    I would also like to comment on facilitation given by HEC that HEC is providing tech-AID and assistance at higher level what about those who are at primary and elementary level. They are the future foundation we need to emphasize on them rather than adult. Because if we want to change our future we need to change our present by understanding and improving our mistakes that are done in past.

    Whatever version of learning is, we should make a connection in each learning and there should be a proper transition strategy for new environment.

    I do appreciate efforts of Phil in promoting and improving tech-situation of our country.

  9. I think we are not on the right tract. U turn from the present system is always dangerous if rational thought was not given. keeping in view our infrastructre, institutions, level of understanding, sustainability of the program itself etc are all factors to be considered. Foreign support without having local contigency plans is always the main killing factor in all the development processes. The main question is how we can blend the technological aspects with the existing system with the creation of space for the technological ways to grow in future. This will include a number of things and ways of doing it. Introduction of technogy is always not being sufficient for any program. Higher Education Commission of Pakistan has a number of innovative programs with good experiences which can shared for developing a comprhensive program for lower education. Thanks

  10. Babar Bhatti says:

    Ben, thanks for your note. I was thinking that cell phones can be used as a starting point to get students familiar with technology. With Twitter like messaging, one can share tips and links and send reminders etc. This can be combined with video based training in school.

  11. Ben Williams says:

    The literacy rate in Pakistan is just under 50% according to the CIA Factbook. Some form of education reform seems to be crucial. As you mentioned WiMAX networks are already established in many cities throughout Pakistan, why not put them to good use? It seems logical to go in this direction. This will allow students throughout Pakistan to receive an equal opportunity in education, they will all be able to learn from the best teachers.

    As for what Babar Bhatti was saying about the possibility of using cell phones as learning tools. I personally don’t see that to be possible. SMS(Short Message Service) is limited to 160 text characters or with some carriers a small picture or short video clip. One thing that could be possible is the ability to access a web learning platform on a cell phone over the network. But that once again simply ties into what Phil’s learning 3.0 suggests, using “digital distribution networks and mobile computing technologies” to revolutionize education.

  12. Babar Bhatti says:

    Phil, you have some interesting points here. As you know netbooks were inspired by one-laptop-per-child. What you suggest here – video/technology based learning – will need strong support from NGOs and teachers.

    With mobile users close to 100 million, is there a way that part of the learning can be shifted to cell phones? perhaps a tool as simple as sms can be used for this?

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