Future Session #2: the potential of online learning

The participants designed and prototyped their own online learning solution

There are a lot of possibilities with online learning such as videos, games, online courses, robots, VR and AR. Together with Joitske Hulsebosch (Ennuonline) and Monique Snijder (Centre for Innovation, University of Leiden) participants of the second Future Session talked about the possibilities of online social learning for the future. Based on real life cases, the participants designed and prototyped their own online learning solution during the session by HumanityX & The Spindle.

The second Future Session took place on the 27th of March at the Humanity Hub in The Hague. It was the second session of a monthly series of inspirational working sessions that The Spindle organized in collaboration with HumanityX (Centre for Innovation of Leiden University). In these future sessions, participants explore new techniques and methods, to see what it can do for NGOs in international development.

Tech trends in social learning
There are a lot of possibilities to teach your audience (target group) something by using online learning tools. Videos and images can be used to travel through time, to show something from the past or take people to different places. Games on the other hand can be used to teach younger people that it is fun to act in a certain way, which motivates them to learn. An example for ‘gamification’ is Can’t wait to learn, an innovative education method set up by War Child.

Another way of e-learning are online courses. You have MOOC’s: open platforms where you provide content and SPOC’s: smaller private platforms for your own organization. Online courses are very flexible, because participants can do it anywhere and anytime they want. Moreover, the information level of online courses is high, as people can take as much time as they need to finish a course. A good example for a MOOC in the development sector is Km4dev, a global community of practice of international development practitioners. Newer forms of e-learning are the use of artificial intelligence, machine learning, robots and chatbots (see: Zorabots, Nuru and Leo). VR and AR are also on the rise, whose potentials we talked about during our previous Future Session.

There are a lot of possibilities to teach your audience (target group) something by using online learning tools.

Let’s get to work!
After a short presentation about the trends in the field, the participants got started. A number of participants submitted a real life case prior to the session, which we used for this part. Click here to see the cases that were used. The participants got to choose one of the submitted cases and started an ideation of a learning solution in smaller groups. After the ideation, the group split up in pitchers and users. The users visited other groups and provided them with some feedback on their learning solution. After the consultation with the users, the groups reunited, discussed their feedback and prepared for the final, most important step: a pitch about the prototype of the ideas.

Another interesting finding was that a lot of participants thought it was very helpful to know what is already there exactly – in the field of online learning. As a result of the many different techniques, a lot of different target groups can be reached. Finally the participants concluded that not the novelty of the technique is what makes your learning innovative, it’s how you implement the technique in your work that makes it innovative. Innovation thus is not about novelty, but about existing techniques that fit your work. Further questions following this conclusion, according to the participants, are development costs and ways of cost saving.

Next session: the Future with Blockchain technology!
In the next Future Session you will get the chance to learn more about the technique of Blockchain. It is a hands-on session where you can learn more about the application of blockchain on SDGs and humanitarian applications of blockchain. Learn how to start using these opportunities for your organization and about trajectories to bring your ideas further. The session will be facilitated by Yvo Hunnink of Energy Bazaar and Kate Dodgson of HumanityX (Centre for Innovation, Leiden University). Sign up here for the third session about the Future with Blockchain technology.

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