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Learning in the Age of Knowledge on Demand

The London Black Cab driver's exam, "The Knowledge of the Streets and Monuments of London," is one of the most difficult exams in the world, requiring drivers to become a human GPS. With today's tools, the smartphone and the right app turns anyone into the equivalent of a human GPS. I've been asking myself how this concept applies to the field of online learning, particularly in my own field of programming and related IT skills. How should we rethink learning in the age of knowledge on demand? My keynote at the EdCrunch conference in Moscow on October 1, 2019. As always, download the PPT to read the detailed script in the speaker notes below each slide.

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Learning in the Age of Knowledge on Demand

  1. Learning in the age of knowledge on demand Tim O’Reilly Founder and CEO, O’Reilly Media
  2. 2 Tim O’Reilly Founder & CEO O’Reilly Media @timoreilly Introduction • Providing learning for almost 40 years – books, events, online • Trends pioneered – Commercial Internet, Open Source, ebooks, Web 2.0, Maker movement, Big data • 500+ employees • 5,000+ enterprise clients, 2.5m platform users globally • Offices in US, Canada, UK, Japan, China • 17 global technology events serving 20,000 individuals and 1,000 sponsor companies
  3. 3 “The Knowledge” vs the GPS
  4. 4 Here’s How Hard It Is to Gain “The Knowledge” “The examination to become a London cabby is possibly the most difficult test in the world — demanding years of study to memorize the labyrinthine city’s 25,000 streets and any business or landmark on them.” The New York Times, November 10, 2014
  5. 5 Was the answer better training?
  6. 6 Knowledge is embedded in the interface
  7. 7 Drivers learn the city by driving it
  8. 8 Learning in the course of work
  9. 9 I learned this trick by following a video But after doing it a few times, I don’t need the video any more.
  10. 10 The Internet is a great resource for simple skills like tying knots, or trying out new recipes
  11. 11 Or even refreshing yourself on a bit of math or physics you’ve forgotten
  12. 12 How does this all apply to IT learning?
  13. 13 There are prerequisites even for Uber Knowing how to drive Knowing how to use a smartphone app Knowing how to read a map Good communication skills Good work habits Basic business skills
  14. 14 They are far greater for software development Use a computer effectively Have a logical problem-solving mindset Know the programming language – it’s not always your choice Know specific environments – the web, iPhone or Android, Windows, AWS or Azure Know how to use the latest developer tools Have UI-design sensibility Know where to find specialized code libraries and how to use them …
  15. 15 “Structural literacy” – knowing enough to learn more in the flow of work
  16. 16 Software boot camps everywhere
  17. 17 But developers constantly need new skills
  18. 18 Linear learning: Curated content to learn something new On demand learning: Answers to help you do your work
  19. 19 STRUCTURAL LITERACY HIGH-LEVEL KNOWLEDGE LOW-LEVEL KNOWLEDGE CONTENTSTRUCTURE Professional Skills Development Framework PROFICIENT/HIGH PERFORMERS Use self-directed discovery for problem solving and nonlinear instruction to acquire new skills. Require high-quality, relevant content with depth and breadth. NEED THE FUNDAMENTALS Learn basics through comprehensive, sequential (linear) instruction. Require structured, highly curated content. Fluency Awareness Identification Non-Linear Learning Linear Learning
  20. 20 Live Online Training
  21. 21 Live In-Person Events
  22. 22 Sessions available for review on the platform
  23. 23 30,000 hours of video
  24. 24 45,000 books
  25. 25 Case Studies extend the marketplace model
  26. 26 Expert Playlists
  27. 27 But what about when you’re searching for answers?
  28. 28 Linear v. Non-Learning Behavior on the O’Reilly Platform Non-linear 42% Linear 58%
  29. 29 Search-driven non-linear learning is one kind of learning in the flow of work… but there are opportunities to go deeper, with environments that support safe experimentation
  30. 30 What happened when Richard Feynman was asked to critique an elementary physics textbook "I stuck my finger in, and I started to read: “Triboluminescence. Triboluminescence is the light emitted when crystals are crushed…” I said, “And there, have you got science? No! You have only told what a word means in terms of other words. You haven’t told anything about nature—what crystals produce light when you crush them, why they produce light. Did you see any student go home and try it? He can’t. “But if, instead, you were to write, ‘When you take a lump of sugar and crush it with a pair of pliers in the dark, you can see a bluish flash. Some other crystals do that too. Nobody knows why. The phenomenon is called “triboluminescence.” ’ Then someone will go home and try it. Then there’s an experience of nature.”
  31. 31 Jupyter Notebooks • Open Source tool for “narrated computations” • Created by Fernando Perez and Brian Granger • 2-3 million users
  32. 32 A Who’s-Who of top companies and universities
  33. 33 Not just a learning tool, a working tool A Kaggle survey of ~8,000 data scientists identified Jupyter as the 4th most used data science tool for work.
  34. 34 “Narrated computation”
  35. 35 “An Active Learning Experience That Works” - Lorena Barba GWU “My experience with Jupyter notebooks is that students engage with the material in an almost tactile way. Manipulating a piece of code, experimenting with parameters in a problem, then reflecting and discussing the output makes for an active learning experience that works. The best results occur when students start creating their own notebooks....” Lorena Barba George Washington University
  36. 36 Jupyter on the O’Reilly Platform Jupyter-enabled • Live trainings • Books • Video (Oriole)
  37. 37 An executable, explorable explanation
  38. 38 Interfaces that teach
  39. 39 Executable task-specific documentation is the infrastructure of specialized on-demand learning
  40. 40 Full circle…