Everything around us is changing at an increasingly high speed. We are experiencing a fundamental shift away from the conditions under which our present educational system was constructed, and a new learning environment is being established. In this environment, it is not always a simple task to continue on with the old materials and methods, but on the other hand, new possibilities are arising.
Success in the creation and use of new techniques, however, depends on understanding the educational paradigm: the goal of education is not the assimilation of knowledge, but rather the development of an independent, curious, and collaborative personality.
The purpose of this manifesto is to declare the principles for bringing to life digital learning environments where students will not be the objects of study but rather the subjects – that is, they will be able to directly influence their own development.
We hope that these principles will form the basis for government policy in the field of education, helping bring together developers and teachers, and provide an opportunity to understand common problems and define future educational projects.Continue reading
Today’s mobile person learns and works everywhere – in short pockets of time in the subway, in the countryside without online access, in bed, and even in the park.
The transition to more compact, granular educational formats opens up new avenues for studying: teachers will be able to include fragments of the materials of other teachers in their courses while also providing links to them. Students will be able to easily find information for interdisciplinary research going well beyond their course – for example, from biology to chemistry, from history to economics.
Granular formats will make learning flexible and accessible to a wider audience committed to lifelong learning.
Under the current educational model, study mostly represents the receiving of information provided from the outside – a program, teacher or standard. In the digital environment, the unit of study is a student's active engagement . Activity is focused not only on perception but also on the student's productive actions with the received information or in the process of its preparation. Activity can represent reading or viewing, working with a built-in model, performing tasks or self-tests. Passing an activity means reading or viewing up to the end, working with a model, and finding the right answers.
Activities are independent and together form an infinite number of chains: courses, quests, campaigns, and other so-called educational trajectories. Each activity should have a certain value: as a percentage of the final result, pluses to skills and metaskills.
With the advent of more compact granulated learning formats, there has appeared a need for maps and graphs that reflect the horizontal links between educational activities, as well as the need for the analysis of large volumes of data. The creation of knowledge graphs will provide an impetus for the development of new search engines and recommendation systems for educational programs, educational and research materials, allowing more precise classification of knowledge areas and skills, forming the basis for flexible certification systems.
The common concept of "textbook" will remain only in the sense of a collection of various types of learning content. It should be replaced by a digital learning environment where everyone can choose his or her own learning trajectory consisting of activities needed right here and right now. The environment, in turn, should continually analyze the needs and abilities of the student and offer scenarios for ongoing development.
For example, recommendation systems should take into account that the same skills can reached via different paths, and the students' levels within the same educational program may be different. When forming the educational trajectory, age does not matter, while knowledge, motivation and perceptual speed advance to the forefront.
Recommendations should be available to all the participants of the learning process – including teachers and parents with learners in the lead.
Students should be able to participate in organizing their learning processes: whatever the agenda, a test or a text, students should be aware of their progress at any given time – how much is passed, how much is left, and what to do next.
The urge to overcome difficulties, to excel in competitions with others and themselves, should certainly be encouraged. The success criteria should be transparent and clear, and an error should have some worth and social implications; it is important to see how efforts affect the result and to receive instant feedback on all actions. This is a prerequisite for the analysis of their actions and satisfaction from work completed, which in itself is motivating for further improvement.
It is necessary to make available some methods for reducing the fear of failure or disapproval. Games are the most natural way of developing perseverance and dedication. A new medal or a black belt helps to stay involved, but study should not be encouraged merely for the sake of such gifts. Students should understand the specific benefits that will be possible for them once they have their new skills.
The digital learning environment should take account of social mechanisms – competition, cooperation, peer teaching and peer testing. Only a participatory mode creates conditions for overcoming alienation, learning to hold constructive discussions, responding to criticism, establishing and maintaining socialization. In order to reap the advantages of group learning, it is vital to develop a culture of constructive feedback, sustain an economy of attention – "the more constructive I am in assessing others, the higher my ranking will be," provide students with opportunities to review and comment on the works of each other, establish communities, and help those who are lagging behind.
The environment should allow taking initiative, and provide a creative space for students. For some examples of taking initiative, consider peer-teaching learning, individual or joint creativity – brainstorming, and project training. It is important to provide students with conditions for in-depth study of the learning materials as well as the creation of their own materials – shaping the structure and describing the links, processing the material and presenting it in other formats.
Tasks should be focused on the synthesis of the information received, the transfer of mastered logic to other subjects or the use of knowledge from different fields in order to gain new knowledge. Mechanical repetition in this arena is simply unacceptable.
Independent creative work is another important part of the learning process. Of core value is not so much the end result, which can be used at trade shows or in portfolios, but rather the knowledge and skills acquired by students while working on it.
The assessment system should not be aggressive and intrusive, as are final tests or exams. Diagnostics should be seamlessly included in the learning process. Systems operating with large amounts of data are capable of performing real-time comparisons of the student with thousands of other students, analyzing the depth of his/her understanding of the subject and also predicting progress. This reduces the need for stress tests and helps to provide focused support. Without having to assign difficulty levels to age or grade level, individual trajectories allow moving forward in accordance with individual rate and willingness, providing opportunities for stopping and working out a difficult subject in detail rather than having bad marks from the early stages yet still following the entire class on to new horizons.
Objective feedback should allow students to assess their achievements on an internal scale – how much effort it took, how much knowledge was required, and to what extent it was possible to prove themselves. Without this kind of internal compass, it is just not possible for students to objectively assess intellectual progress and understand whether they are moving in the right direction.
Communication between various learning platforms, applications, and learning management systems allows making the assessment system truly multidimensional, including results from external sources into the personal profile and portfolio of the student, which they can then store and continually develop over a lifetime.
Technologies that have already influenced the way we communicate, work, travel, and play sports, are already affecting the way we learn. Information networks, personal mobile devices, vast amounts of data and the clouds where they are stored, Open Educational Resources (OER), as well as gaming mechanics and machine learning, are all changing the architecture of the learning process.
Learning content can be delivered via a variety of devices and platforms connected with each other. You can receive a task from a teacher in the learning management system, discuss it over a social network, ask questions by email, prepare for an exam in an application, receive an online certificate and place it in an e-portfolio together with other merits from circles, sections or refresher courses.
We are working together to identify the currently obvious system components of the future digital learning ecosystem, which will eventually replace industrial age education.
Today, this is a repository of learning content, data, and tools for working with them. This bloated and monolithic functionality is the weak point of such systems. Learning Management Systems need to learn how to support different forms of digital learning content, work with desktop, online and mobile applications, and allow connecting and disconnecting modules from various vendors, or, conversely, to diversify themselves.
The sharp increase in variability and availability of teaching tools has led to the development of Learning Content Management Systems, which will allow teachers to get a clear view of the new learning opportunities, embed interactive content and mobile games in lessons or, conversely, to gather courses from separate tools, and create and publish their own learning materials.
For example, you can create content collectively, duplicate it in any format, adapt it to your own needs, and provide comments. If the resource is available not only to the teachers of the university/school but also to the staff of other educational institutions, this will be the basis for improving the quality of learning materials and the learning process as a whole.
Books, videos, original historical documents and other good old, non-dynamic learning content have not disappeared, and continue to make up an important aspect of learning programs. Over time, the form of content will take on more and more interactive features, becoming part of various learning environments.
In addition to the non-interactive content, a variety of digital instrumental learning environments – from mobile apps to online collaborative platforms – are increasingly included in the learning process. Games, simulations, virtual models and online labs, visual programming and data processing environments, services for creating and working with student portfolios and many other online services that are not yet classified into separate types, are all learning to interact with each other, building a new architecture of the learning process.
Interactive learning tools are generating an explosive growth of accumulated data. First, this refers to anonymous data on study events, learning trajectories, efficiency of teaching methods and learning programs in general. Google Analytics analogs for education can serve both for collection, storage and access to data, as well as for analyzing such data and generating recommendations. The collected data can be made available to teachers, researchers and analytical services. These data can be used by learning management systems to develop new models of assessment, issuance of badges, diplomas or certificates.
The right to choose specific technologies and their combination at any stage of learning should belong to the person who is responsible for it – the university, school, or the student themself. Having a choice stimulates curiosity, and makes students both more independent and motivated.
Students should have complete control over their own data, and the ability to take them along when transitioning between different learning systems and subject areas, store and use them at their own discretion at any time, as well as send them for analysis and recommendations to new learning platforms and specialized services.
Customization of education, the emergence of a growing number of learning services and the freedom of actually choosing them, for all the participants, assumes the need to transfer digital data from one environment to another. A strong alliance of different platforms is possible only when there are common authorization and data exchange standards. Management systems in educational institutions should be able to keep track of a student's progress in third-party applications: partially or fully view completed activities and proven skills.
HTML5 is already helping people to work with a major variety of gadgets and browsers; LTI will allow various educational components to integrate with each other more tightly; clumsy disks and SCORM should be replaced by public APIs, open standards and specifications – JSON, REST, HTTPS, OAUTH2. Data security should be ensured by using encrypted protocols and partner keys.
This will reduce dependence on monolithic integrated software solutions, open the way for free software and narrow-focused commercial projects, develop competition, and improve the quality of decisions.
In the digital environment, learning projects compete not only with other online courses, but also with museums, sports, TV shows, social networks and any open websites and applications. Under these conditions, it is particularly important to adopt the same tools as the competitors, and employ the same specialists as well as innovate unique methods for learning. Every additional minute spent on learning is a win for UX designers, developers, script writers and content supervisors. The online learning environment is not simply a stage where the learning process unfolds, but rather a dynamic space that can change its characteristics depending on who is using it and their behavior. The concept of a learning scenario arises: when developing learning resources, it is necessary to consider the sequence of movements in their modules, sessions and sections. We believe that in the future, online learning programs will be able to form a new independent genre, with its very own fans, huge budgets and Hollywood-like teachers starring in the leading roles.
In the digital environment, there is no place for friendly pats on the shoulder. Old pedagogical theories wake up to find themselves in a completely new environment. A new digital pedagogy is coming to life – and we are its creators – and nobody really knows how it should be organized. Yet what is clear is that we need to strive to experiment and discover new working models. New big data can be used for more in-depth assessments of knowledge and skills, deepening links between all the levels of learning, networking between educational institutions, students and employers, and progress assessment.
|Updated every three years
|Easy to copy
|Difficult to copy
|Paper content in an alien environment
|Native digital content
|The form determines the content
|The content determines the form and functionality
|Averaged model for presentation of all the topics
|Different interfaces for different activities
|Possibilities for non-linear presentation
|Does not provide information on progress
|Allows collecting and analyzing data
|Does not provide feedback to the student
|Provides instant feedback
|Weak link between subjects, topics and concepts
|Visual interdisciplinary links across all levels
|Does not teach skills
|Allows training skills
|No situation of choice
|Situation of independent search
|Motivation at the text level
|Motivation using gaming mechanics and personalization
|Delivery of knowledge
|Formation of experience, immersion in context
|Does not affect anything
|Makes intelligent decisions
|Studies together with all the others
|Learns following a personal trajectory
|Common difficulty level for everyone
|The same for everyone
|The goal is clear only to teachers
|Clear goals for students
|Questions about the material only in the classroom
|Assessed solely by the teacher
|I can assess myself at any time and clearly see my progress
|One-on-one learning with the textbook
|Peer teaching situations with other students
|They told me everything
|I found out myself
|Cannot affect the textbook
|Configures the system for him/herself and his/her classes
|Answers are given only by active students or those asked
|Each student is active
|Focus on content
|Focus on results
|Focus on presence
|Focus on involvement
|Control of factual knowledge
|Control of the ability to make real decisions
|Practice during the entire duration of study