EdTech event – what can L&D learn from the Slumdog Millionaire?

Learning technologist Professor Sugata Mitra’s Indian education project, Hole in the Wall, was the inspiration for Vikas Swarup’s Q&A – the novel that became Slumdog Millionaire, 2009’s global film sensation that won eight Oscars at the Academy Awards. 

And UK learning and development managers now have a unique opportunity to hear his story, and why educational technology should be seen not as a threat to teaching, but as an asset, at the Webanywhere-sponsored Education and Technology Show in Leeds on 28 June.  

The Professor’s studies have implications for primary education – but, what about adult learning?

The ‘hole in the wall’ experiment has led to the SOLE concept (self organised learning environments) – a new model for primary education which changes the way young people use computers to learn. Mitra says “Too many pupils at schools in the UK want to have careers as footballers or TV hosts, or models, because that’s what they’re constantly exposed to as the heroes of our time. I use the internet to introduce them to unlikely heroes, such as material about people working for Nasa, and volunteers in Congo.” 

Mitra believes that adult learners can embrace learning technology by observing how children learn through curiosity and play. Many parents will know that children are only too happy to pick up their iPhone and play with it!  Unlike older learners, youngsters learn by using new technology without fear, making mistakes and learning from their errors.

So how can SOLE help Corporate Learning and Development?

Many adults create self-imposed barriers to workplace learning by rejecting the notion of self-appointed office ‘know it alls’. Like young learning, they just want a friendly, trustworthy person to help and support them with trying new tasks or technologies.  The hole in the wall experiment provides pointers for adult learning that include having the confidence to try something out and seeing what happens – without fear of reprisals!

“No such word as can’t”

Why is it as we get older we lose our ‘can do’ attitude? In any learning experience, the success is dependent on not just the trainer, the design and structure of the course….but also the mindset of the individual learner, who needs to be engaged and willing to try, test and fail if necessary. 

See and hear Professor Mitra in Leeds, 28 June 2011

The Hole in the Wall project, which covered this and many other learning outcomes, will be covered in Professor Mitra’s rare keynote speech to be given at next month’s FREE Education and Technology 2011 event in Leeds. Delegate seats are limited and booking is well advanced, so to confirm your attendance and reserve your place please go to https://www.educationtechnology2011.co.uk/.