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We are only at the tipping point of what future learning technology can deliver

18 August 2020 - 07:31
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We are only at the tipping point of what future learning technology can deliver.
We are only at the tipping point of what future learning technology can deliver.
Image: 123RF/Michael Simons

Most people spend their lives collecting, spending and worrying about money  — so much, in fact, that they “don’t have time” to learn something new.

Yet, Barack Obama, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, some of the smartest and busiest people in the world, all spend at least one hour a day on deliberate learning. They understand what so many others don’t: that learning is the single best investment of our time that we can make.

As Benjamin Franklin once said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest”.

When you understand the value of knowledge, in this world where technology is rendering previously expensive products or services much cheaper (and even free), it’s just a matter of getting more of it. Dedicate yourself to continuous learning.

One of the benefits of ongoing technological advances is that it empowers an accelerated and personalised learning experience that puts the learner in the driver’s seat. Modern learning harnesses the speed, power and ubiquity of digital capability. Online platforms, software and mobile devices mean that the traditional hurdles to learning — such as income, status and location — have just about disappeared.

Knowledge can now be gained by anyone with the passion to pursue it and the commitment to stick with it.

We are only at the tipping point of what future learning technology can deliver. Artificial intelligence could transform all aspects of human capital management, including learning. 

Technology-enabled learning is immediate and directly relevant to the task, for example:

  • personally tailored learning content and experiences delivered to you as and when you want or need them;
  • chatbots and virtual assistants can source and categorise the information that you need for optimal decision-making; and
  • augmented and virtual reality simulations can provide a multisensory experience to speed up and embed learning.

Social connectivity already enables user-generated content to outpace and outstrip what traditional education and learning institutions can deliver.

Knowledge may be the new money, but, unlike money, you don’t lose it when you use knowledge or give it away. Transferring knowledge anywhere in the world is free and instant. It’s fun to acquire and it makes your brain work better. It helps you think bigger and beyond your circumstances. It puts your life in perspective by essentially helping you live many lives in one life through other people’s experiences and wisdom.

There is no better time than the present to change your time-investment strategy.

Wits Plus, the Centre for Part-Time Studies at the University of Witwatersrand, offers selected undergraduate degrees, as well as a wide range of short courses and language programmes through the language school. A growing range of online short courses enable you to study when it suits you are available through the digital campus.

E-mail wits.plus.marketing@wits.ac.za for more information.

This article was paid for by Wits Plus.