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Authentic Learning in Higher Education – Role of Ubiquitous Technologies 05 December, 2012

Dr. Kinshuk
Dr. Kinshuk

Dr. Kinshuk, Associate Dean, Faculty of Science and Technology, Athabasca University, Canada led the weekly discussion on 5th December 2012 via A-VIEW with his talk on “Authentic Learning in Higher Education – Role of Ubiquitous Technologies”. He is also Professor, School of Computing and Information Systems and NSERC/ iCORE/ Xerox/ Markin Industrial Research Chair for Adaptivity and Personalization in Informatics at Athabasca University.

Present State of Education

At present our teaching methodology in most of the institutes of higher learning is very simplistic and superficial. Students learn only from attending classes and books. The context of learning is not authentic either. There are training sessions and labs in technical schools that give some hands on experience, still learning is not authentic.

Dr. Kinshuk

Ubiquitous Learning

When learning takes place wherever the learner happens to be at a particular time, using physical objects available in the learner’s surroundings as well as electronic information, that learning is called ubiquitous learning. It could be in the classroom, laboratory, during travel, at home etc. Learning does not take place in the classroom alone, but in every environment around us. The idea is to make learning omnipresent and highly contextual. When students can relate to the learning, it would be more useful. For instance, in the case of school students, when they undertake learning activities by touching and feeling objects around them and make sense, they relate more to the objectives of learning.

Learning Analytics

Extensive modeling of learner’s actions, interactions, trends of preferences, skill and knowledge levels, implicit and explicit changes in skill and knowledge levels constitute learning analytics. It involves real time monitoring of learner, learner’s location, technology use and change of situational aspects.

Location awareness

It is possible to personalize learning experience through the use of location modeling. Such modeling can contribute to various adaptivity and personalization methods such as optimal grouping of students and adaptation of learning content based on location. With commonly available devices like cell phones, carried by most of the learners, location awareness has become a reality nowadays. Location of learners can either be done by auto sensing methods such as Wi-fi, GPS, and Bluetooth or by manual sensing methods such as barcode, QR code, PIN code or address.

Once the location of the learner or the student is identified, the system would recommend learning activities or opportunities around them. For instance a Medieval History student who is travelling can be recommended by the system that there is a museum nearby where he can actually see and study a sculpture which he/she learnt about a few days ago.