Gaining Insight

Creating a new culture of learning ten minutes at a time.

GUEST COLUMN | by Karl Mehta

CREDIT edcastA new culture of learning requires three interrelated elements:

1) Learning with peers,

2) Free and real-time access to experts, and

3) The ability to actively engage.

Before, only a privileged few gained access beyond the ivy gates or the corporate front desk to interact with “experts”. Now, it’s possible to interact with a plethora of professors, executives or innovators across the globe through live streaming video.

Learning requires active engagement and human interaction — even through technology. 

The lines of formal and informal learning are blurring and our 10 Minutes Insight Series serves as evidence of this change. As a platform for social collaborative learning, we are harnessing the power of real-time video content in our learning network. This can be used as a supplement to a traditional formal classroom experience or for employees in a corporate setting.

Some background

For a long time, the industry tried to use advances in technology to replicate the classroom and the industrial model in which it was developed. But we know, unequivocally, that learning requires active engagement and human interaction — even through technology. Learners not only need expertise that educators, thought leaders and influencers provide, but an opportunity to engage with those experts in real time while including members of their own network who may be interested in the subject matter.

Learning is now a lifelong journey that we must all travel. The reality for Millennials is that the knowledge required for successful careers in the years ahead has not yet been created. They want tools that resemble their social media experiences — intuitive, built on social networks, easy to use, something that encourages engagement with peers and something pleasurable enough to become a daily habit. I think about learning as a continuum of offerings, from formal online classes to informal bite-sized tutorials with real practitioners and specialists in certain fields. The real-time element is critical.

The creation

To build an outstanding series, our executives reached out to personal contacts in their network and experts in their community who understood our vision from early on and were excited by it. These innovators and early adopters were eager to launch this series to engage the EdCast network and their own audience.

Recruiting influencers

Recruiting for the live Insight Series was straightforward once they demoed the prototype with top influencers. Part of our secret to success was engaging Kym McNicholas, a seasoned Emmy Award winning journalist who really got behind the idea and led the interviews. We found that influencers were eager to share their insights more broadly, particularly if it didn’t entail a significant time commitment.

One of EdCast’s leaders who participated was Jeffrey Sachs from the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network. Jeffrey was yearning to find mechanisms to easily engage and inspire the global community committed to sustainable development. The live Insight Series added another tool to his already highly popular set of courses powered by EdCast.

Goals 

Knowledge diffusion is the key outcome we strive for as the series continues. The aim is to demonstrate how easy and impactful it can be to share knowledge with others in real time, where asking questions and sharing answers and comments is instantaneous. You don’t have to write a peer reviewed journal article or even a blog. You just need a few minutes to share your insights.

The effect this will have on edtech 

EdCast and the 10 Minute Insights Series are redefining the culture of learning by focusing on user behavior on social and mobile networks and creating the ability to build a focused network around sharing knowledge. The end goal is to empower, ignite and engage people around the world with one another through global knowledge sharing.

Karl Mehta is Founder and CEO of EdCast, a personal learning network. He was selected as a White House Presidential Innovation Fellow in 2012-13, has spoken at TEDx, GDC, CTIA, Innovation Project Harvard, among other places, and has been published in BusinessWeek, WSJ, New York Times, Wired, and elsewhere. Karl has over 20 years experience founding, funding, and building technology businesses from the ground up. He edcasts @ http://edcast.com/karlmehta

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