All Aboard the “Neo-Millennial Learning” Train
Emerging jargon in the training business includes terms such
as”neo-millennial learning styles,” “mediated immersion,” and
“distributed-learning communities.” Is all this just training industry
obfuscation or do these new terms indicate substantive changes in the
way people learn? We argue for the latter!
According to Chis Dede of Harvard University we are going though a
learning revolution mediated by the technology. The Internet is
revolutionizing the filed of learning! Applications such as “groupware”
for virtual collaboration, asynchronous threaded discussions, multi-user
virtual environments, video-conferencing, and mobile, location-aware
wireless devices such as personal digital assistants (PDAs) with
embedded global positioning system (GPS) have shaken the roots of how
people access new information. Research indicates that each of these
media, when designed for education and learning purposes fosters
particular types of interactions that enable (and undercut) various
According to Dede three complementary developments will shape how people learn in the new-millennia:
- “World to the Desktop” – Provides access to distant experts and archives and enables collaborations, mentoring relationships, and virtual communities of practice. This interface is evolving through initiatives such as Web 2.0.
- “Alice in Wonderland” – Multi-user virtual environments (MUVEs). Participants’ avatars (self-created digital characters) interact with computer-based agents and digital artifacts in virtual contexts. The initial stages of studies on shared virtual environments are characterized by advances in Internet games and work in virtual reality.
- “Ubiquitous Computing” – Mobile wireless devices infuse virtual resources as we move through the real world. The early stages of “augmented reality” interfaces are characterized by research on the role of “smart objects” and “intelligent contexts” in learning and doing.