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Ubaid ur Rehman

Ubaid ur Rehman
Smart Universities
Fakultet for samfunnsvitenskap
15. desember 2017

World Learning Summit, 2017 - Smart Universities

The World Learning Summit, 2017 is all about the future of smart universities, our response as learners and custodian of education, a platform that technology provides to the educational institutions and businesses which assist them to collaborate with each other towards a sustainable future of learning and growth.

A few months back while I was writing my master’s thesis, I came across this opportunity to become a part of the World Learning Summit, 2017 held at the University of Agder. Being a developmental studies student and interested in the potential role of technology in education and learning, makes me think what will be the future of learning. Since its evolution, the role of technology in education has kept on changing at a fast pace making education accessible to all.

So, what is the future? Various keynote speakers from respective research institutions and Ed Tech companies expounded the future of learning and education during the four-day conference held at UiA, Kristiansand.

Before I provide a synopsis of the conference I would briefly like to mention my personal role during the conference. The four-day conference has proved to be a multi-tasking experience for me from receiving guests and speakers, providing information and guidance to them on various occasions, assisting during the academic sessions, for example, setting up multimedia presentations and further taking notes on various research presentations to setting up the dinner and vice versa.

The summit took place as a part of ongoing project “Future Learning Labs” lead by Prof Oddgeir Tveiten. The major themes and philosophies of digital learning that were discussed in the summit encompassed learning and development, design-based learning, entrepreneurship and innovation and digital future of learning. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) ensued to be an important subject of discourse during the academic sessions held. MOOCs are free online courses accessible to anyone who bids to enroll. MOOCs furnish a flexible way to discover new skills and render high-quality educational experiences. One of the speakers and organizers of the WLS, Christian also highlighted the importance of MOOCs stating that although the term quality of education is arbitrary, however, MOOCs can play a potentially significant role to increase the quality of education. Having said that I reckon there exists a huge potential to transform the way how we learn by bringing the students towards technology.

The speakers during the summit also debated on the potential role of ICT and how it can help to innovate and transform education. This transformative and universal design of learning should be based on the equitable and flexible use of the online platforms available which must be simple yet intuitive and contain information that is perceptible.

Another important aspect that constituted a part of the Summit was how to attain an active student engagement. Technology alone without an active student engagement is ineffective. Prof. Oddgeir from UiA Kristiansand, while highlighting the potential role of technology in this discourse explicated that the students can engage themselves using respective forms of technology which can assist them in telling narratives about their experiences and what these experiences mean to them in reality. This consequently could lead to a lifelong learning experience.

Being a part of the World Learning Summit, 2017 was a learning experience which has enlightened me about the potential role that e-learning plays in higher education. In addition, I grasped an understanding of the concepts and the differences that exist between information and knowledge. Summits like WLS, 2017 has proved to be an eye-opener for me and other researchers in the field of online and distant learning and brings a positive change to the face of learning hence contributing to a sustainable future of education.

I look forward to the continuation of the project “Future Learning Lab” and to be the part of the next learning summit.