As new products from OpenAI, Google, Khan Academy, Duolingo and others are launched, with hundreds of millions using them, the learning game has taken a shift. The new pedAIgogy has unleashed a wave of innovation that not only changes our relationship with knowledge away from transfer, search and access, to dialogue and co-creation.
This takes place at several levels. At the level of global culture as LLMs literally take all of our accumulated culture (language, images, audio, video) and mirrors it back to us. It takes place at the level of the individual who can use, talk to and co-create knowledge. This is what Vygotsky talked about with socially constructed learning, mediated by 'tools'.
The learning game used to be simple. We had 'Teachers' and 'Learners'.Schools, Colleges, Universities and Workplace Learning (L&D) has this as its fundamental model or premise. This is still likely to continue as the model for young children, who have less autonomy in learning. But the world for everyone else has suddenly changed. Our whole relationship with knowledge and skills has changed. The nature of work will also change so how we learn will changed. We need less long-form courses and a more dynamic, personalised approach to learning, one that is also motivating and exciting.
That brings us to a fresh and different model, as there are two new kids on the block.
- Human Teacher
- Human Learner
- AI Teacher (such as ChatGPT and its integration into tools such as Khan Academy & Duolingo)
- AI Learner (the AI model trained on a gargantuan amount of data and some human training)
We have moved from Human Teachers and Human Learners, as a diad to AI Teachers and AI Learners as a tetrad. But there is a twist to this tale.
Human Teachers are skilled but those skills tend to be subject specific, they know one topic really well and are not generalists. They also have valuable teaching skills but these level off or plateau.
Learners, however, need to learn more efficiently.
AI learns (see red arrow) and gets exponentially better, AI Teachers therefore get better as they draw upon these improvements from the AI learner.
This means that the balance between teachers and AI changes. Teacher skills plateau, whereas AI Teachers and Learners get better.
AI Teachers get better across ALL subjects. AI Teachers are also available 24/7/365 and are becoming multimodal to deliver speech, text, graphics and video. They also delver dialogue and effortful activity, such as case studies, examples, debate and assessment. We have a new pedagogy based on personal, one-to-one dialogue. This was something researched by Bloom in his paper, The 2 Sigma Problem (1984).
He compared a lecture, lecture with formative feedback and one-to-one tuition. Taking the lecture as the mean, he found an astonishing 84% increase in mastery above the mean fo the formative lecture and 98% increase in mastery for one-to-one tuition.
The final stage, and this is some way off, is the elimination of the human teacher, to provide one-to-one tuition using AI. W are now in that age.
This is an uncomfortable debate but we have now crossed that Rubicon. We can now see that the path to faster, cheaper and more effective learning is through faster, cheaper and smarter technology - that technology, as I've been saying for many years, is AI.
Can you name his two major works? Vygotsky is the most oft-quoted but rarely read learning theorist I know. Let me start by saying I am not an extreme social constructivist but in using ChatGPT3 and 4, I have become more Vygotskian. ChatGPT and Bard are the almost perfect examples of Vygotskian teachers. Let me explain.
This is the cardinal idea in Vygotsky’s psychology of education, that knowledge is constructed through mediation, yet it is not entirely clear what mediation entails and what he means by the ‘tools’ he refers to as mediators. In many contexts, it simply seems like a synonym for discussion between teacher and learner. However he does focus on being aware of the learner’s needs, so that they can ‘construct’ their own learning experience and changes the focus of teaching towards guidance and facilitation, as learners are not so much ‘educated’ by teachers as helped to construct their own meaning and learning.
Vygotsky also prescribes a method of instruction that keeps the learner in the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD), an idea that was neither original to him nor even fully developed in his work. The ZPD is the difference between what the learner knows and what the learner is capable of knowing or doing with mediated assistance. To progress, one must interact with peers who are ahead of the game through social interaction, a dialectical process between learner and peer.