Blog: Learnovate Thought Leaders Circle – 23 February 2023

Posted by Learnovate

Learnovate’s Thought Leaders Circle meeting brings together a wide range of senior executives from the 25 Patron Members of the Learnovate Centre. Every quarter, they come together for an online networking event where the latest trends in learning and development are discussed and analysed.

For our first Thought Leaders Circle of 2023 (which attracted over 40 attendees), we were delighted to welcome Donald Clark as keynote speaker. Donald is a renowned and well-respected figure in the world of learning and development who has published a number of well-received books including Learning Experience Design and Learning Technology. In his latest book, called Artificial Intelligence for Learning, he examines how we can use AI to support employee development.

In a lively conversation with Nigel Paine, Clark boldly stated that ‘AI will transform learning’ and gave a couple of examples of how he sees this happening:

– Firstly, he talked about AI-powered adaptive learning systems that will act like a ‘sat nav’ to get the learner back on the right track when they find themselves struggling to progress through their learning

– Secondly, he talked about AI-driven content curation (and even content creation) which will provide the learner with learning resources tailored to their exact requirements at the exact moment of learning need.

Nigel and Donald went on to discuss the latest ‘hot topic’ in AI – namely ChatGPT. Donald pointed out that while ChatGPT was creating waves and, undoubtedly, represented the next generation of AI, its limitations were both evident and significant. He highlighted the fact that, currently, ChatGPT’s ‘knowledge’ stops in 2021 – anything since then falls beyond its abilities. And as it still needs to be trained by human beings, it would require enormous time and resources to keep it up to date. Donald also pointed out that while AI engines like ChatGPT may have access to terabytes of data, they crucially lack a ‘context’ for the information to which they have access.

Finally, Donald raised the issue of the enormous amount of energy required to power the next generation of AI engines. He believes that until we develop a source of energy that can be generated both at a large scale and at an affordable price (he cited nuclear fusion), the widespread use of AI will be held back.

Also addressing the Thought Leaders Circle was a member the Learnovate research team –

Technology Lead Pablo Alvarez. Pablo presented his research findings on the question of how to assess student learning in a way that provides an authentic learning experience while, at the same time, measuring the correct elements.

The key aspect of Pablo’s presentation was a new framework for assessment that is built on three components:

  1. Authenticity: does the assessment address what both the teacher and the student really need?
  2. Democracy: is the assessment designed in a way that it treats all learners equally?
  3. Sustainability: does the assessment fit into a learning pathway that can assess the learner’s progress over time?

This new framework goes by the acronym DIALS: Democratic Inclusive and Authentic assessment for Learning and Sustainability. Pablo and the rest of the Learnovate team and members working on the framework are now exploring how digital tools such as immersive technologies and gamification could be used to design assessment activities aligned with the framework.

The Thought Leaders Circle demonstrates two critical roles the Learnovate Centre aim to fulfil as part of the global learning and development community: take a critical look at key topics in learning (in this case, the use of AI and learner assessment) and also bring together our members in a space where they can engage in lively and informative discussions with their peers and continue to grow their networks.

The next Thought Leaders Circle meeting takes place on 1st June, and we look forward to sharing updates from these meetings with all of our members.

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