The Education for Development and Support Network Foundation (EDSN)

Plexlearning Research Laboratories Center

Plexlearning relates to Cyberlearning education which involves use of computer mediation in the creation, conveyance, and use of knowledge.

Missions of Plexlearning Labs are to explore new education delivery-systems, and articulate their affordances, for furthering our ways of knowing and doing towards “human flourishing. ”

Inspired by Walter J Ong. Orality & Literacy: The Technologizing of the World.

Plexlearning relates to Cyberlearning education which involves use of computer mediation in the creation, conveyance, and use of knowledge.   Missions of Plexlearning Laboratories are to explore new delivery-systems and articulate affordances of Cyberlearning education that further our ways of knowing and doing for “human flourishing.”   A National Science Foundation (NSF) task force defined Cyberlearning as “learning that is mediated by networked computing and communications technologies.”

Plexlearning expands Aristotle (384-322 B.C.)’s account of Human Flourishing to includes improving our understanding of both opportunities technology mediated education offers as well as side effects it brings.   In particular, opportunities that promote peaceful use of technology towards relevant open-education for solving shared problems individuals and their neighbors view as important.   Our hope is that this expanded view will improve opportunities for achieving “individual freedom and collective well-being… without the sacrifice of either one” (John Dewey, 1936).

Plexlearning Labs explore new education delivery-systems that promote individual freedoms and collective well-being simultaneously - as separate research streams and as interdependent phenomena.   These explorations are guided by applications of elements from game and complexity theories.   Goals of this Plexlearning research include, but not limited to, systemic framework for integrating individualized formal education and informal learning experiences.

Plexlearning Education Methodology

Plexlearning education methodology is the study of research principles that guide computer mediated learning practices, methods, tools and language.   The terms Cyberlearning education, mediated education, computer-aided education and digital education are used interchangeably to describe the creation, conveyance and use of knowledge mediated by networked computing and communications technologies.   Knowledge is defined “as an integrated set of understandings that ultimately can only be constructed by and reside in the mind of the knower [human or otherwise].”

Classrooms of One: Mastery Learning for Everyone; Everywhere

Digital-education makes one-on-one tutoring and mastery learning for everyone, everywhere, possible. In less than a decade ubiquitous basic knowledge has become available in the form of multimedia digital knowledge assistants such as Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC), knowledge search engines, and on-demand tutors.

We at The EDSN PlexLearning Laboratory Center believe personalized one-on-one mastery learning is the next logical step and opportunity for education to evolution.    This logical step would mark a mile-stone in resolving what has come to be known as “Bloom’s Two Sigma Problem.”

In 1984 Benjamin Bloom, best known for defining the Bloom Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, which categorized learning tasks in increasing levels of sophistication,

compared conventional classroom pedagogical methods to what he and his team of researchers classified as “ideal methods.”    His ideal methods require at least two parameters: Mastery Learning and Expert one-on-one tutoring.

Bloom and his team found that students using the ideal method consistently performed better than 98%, or two standard deviations higher, than students using conventional methods.

Bloom concluded that no society could afford to apply his ideal methods widely in conventional classrooms teaching, so “the Search for Methods of Group Instructions as Effective as One-to-One Tutoring” became known as the “Two Sigma Problem.”

Implications of Digital-Education

Implications of digital-education transformation are far reaching.    For example, reusable experiences from communication of ideas and emotions are enabling new: learning taxonomies; pedagogical methods and methodologies; sociocultural rituals and traditions all structured around “assisted” skills and related digital footprint (metadata) informatics .

Emergence of assisted skills are bringing into focus un-assisted or “manual” skills that once required great time,

resources and effort to accomplish or master, are now done, on demand, in collaboration with autonomous digital knowledge-assistants (calculators, applications, and robots) or are abandoned entirely by humans.    Some examples include, but not limited to, manual skills for doing “basic” Science Technology Engineering and Mathematical (STEM) computations, and the need for travelling to special locations (knowledge-factories) just to receive “basic” dispensed information in the Arts.

Transforming Mindset about Knowledge

In digital communities, mindsets about knowledge are being transformed from passive writing-technology into active digital-technology.    First, writing-technology radically transformed once dominant mindset about oral-literacy by passively allowing humans to convey ideas and emotions without being present.

Now, digital-technology in turn is transforming current dominant mindset about written-technology by autonomously collaborating in active, and simultaneous, communication of ideas and emotions - without human presence.