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  1. This is a well researched, insightful, and useful article. Sydney Savion and Dell are pointing the way forward. What is missing is the comparative point that people think rationally and machines are based on logic. Rational thought looks for all answer solutions. Logic requires self-consistency. For this reason, logic-based machines, in general, are not well suited to reason with uncertainty or perform the way people think because logic requires self-consistency and looks for self-consistant answers rather than best answer solutions.

    However, I see this as a much deeper problem. Technologists don’t really understand what knowledge is, and they don’t have a knowledge science to guide them forward. If they did, we would be much further along. Many of the terms used to describe brain functions are only words without an understanding of what they really mean. I think this article is a step forward to help clarify that. Dr. Richard Ballard determined that: KNOWLEDGE = Theory + Information (data). Conventional technologies are leaving 85% of the knowledge component on the table.

    Most technologies don’t see this because they think in terms of data points rather than concepts. The human brain is a concept ecosystem that learns from enculturation, eductation, life experience and deep analytical thought. The brain world is a world of the physical, semiotic, and metaphysical. When will eLearning machines meet this standard?

    • Your argument is missing one critical factor: eLearning technology is not a sentient entity. It is not self-aware, but imagined, designed, and developed by the human mind and, therefore, is restricted to the same boundaries and limitations of the human mind(s) that created it.

      The purpose of eLearning technology should never be to supplant the real-world, human element we all need in order to develop as a species. Isn’t that one of the arguments technophobes use to explain what’s wrong with the current generation? “They’re too busy looking down at a cell phone to pay attention to the person standing right next to them.”

      As a child, I thought the Golden Gate Bridge was so cool. I avidly read the history of its construction, appreciated the design, a marveled over various images of that bold and bright San Francisco sentinel. But none of that had the impact of the first time my family visited the city and not only drove over the bridge, but parked and walked on it. Seeing the saturation of the red paint juxtaposed against the misty-gray of the fog; tasting the brine of the ocean on my tongue; smelling a combination of sea air and vehicle exhaust; trying to sort through the cacaphony of cars and voices, ships passing below, seagulls in the air above, and the faint barking of sea lions at the lighthouse behind me; touching the cool metal of the bridge and feeling the bridge vibrating below my feet…not to mention the exaltation of finally standing in a place I had only seen in pictures.

      I appreciate eLearning technology as a major component of my job, but I honestly hope we never get to the point where it replaces tangible, real-world experience. While eLearning technology can teach me in the abstract, it will never really be able to reach the viscera, like that experience I had at the GGB. There’s knowing and then there’s KNOWING.

      • SAD, point well taken about sentient experience, but neither of us know what the future holds. I am sold on the experience you had on the GGB. I have deep nostalgic feeling about the bay area and an existential experience I had on Berkeley campus. Yet, we have developed our technology on how we believe the human mind works. From our point-of-view, humans think in terms of patterns-of-thought. What binds these patterns-0f-thought is theory, with applied theory being of greater enduring value. Applied theory not only binds the concepts associated with these patterns but it also provides each incarnation explicit meaning and purpose. Something conventional data technologies fail to achieve. Though your full dimensional experience of the GGB cannot be experienced by machines today, they can certainly represent perceptual impressions such as a ringing bell. For a person who does not know what a bell is, or how it sounds, a machine representation can create that experience. VR has come a long way in this regard. I would agree in regards to knowing, that if human thought is faithfully represented within theory-based semantic technologies, those machines can “know” just as humans, but as you say, not to the level of KNOWING. A company called IQStrategix is headed in this direction.

  2. This is an interesting article and I would suspect that there are many within each generation that fit the table in this article. But just as it is wrong to stereotype individuals, it is wrong to suggest the fixed mindset of generations over a growth mindset. I have taught online for over 20 years and am currently in my sixth generation, but I do not fit any of the attributes associated with Boomers above. In fact, the closest fit is with Millennials (as my students will attest). I also have had Gen-X and Millennial students who better fit the Boomer category above.

    Given that, the closing points are spot on. 24/7 learning, emotional connections, and collaborative, experiential, and reflective practice does not automatically happen with technology…but (and it is a big BUT), the right technology can enhance each of these points. The key to learning in this digital age is fitting the right learning activities with the right pedagogy and the right tech.


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