Over the last decade, I have been heavily involved in R&D to understand and address the requirements users should have when they attempt to learn from knowledge resources with technology. The major applications that are meant to support our reading and learning are still, for the most part, quite unsatisfactory. Yet users, young and old, in and out of academia, knowledge worker or not, specialist in e-learning or not, tend not to be very demanding of their cognitive productivity tools. Few seem to understand what we are all missing. I have disseminated some of the technical deficiencies publicly, some I have not. I have also of course been developing solutions to the core problems of learning with technology and cognitive science — workflows, documents, software, theories, etc.
In 2010, after a long period of time anticipating Apple’s tablet, I expressed some requirements for it. I have since then been helping some of you adjust your learning workflows to leverage the iPad and related technology.
Tomorrow (Jan 19, 2012), Apple will announce the next part of its road map for supporting education with technology. If Apple does target the core problems of learning with technology, the reception will include the usual spectrum of gratitude from potential customers who get it, “Why didn’t I think of that?” from its competitors, etc. I will not predict how far the solution will go towards what we need.
I doubt that Apple’s new offering will be outside the realm of significant possibilities that we have explicitly considered here at CogZest — at least with respect to core problems. But, if it is, I will let you know (and CogZest’s inner circle can hold me to it).
In any event, it is safe to predict that, within the near future, learners, young and old, will have acces to tools that greatly expand their cognitive productivity. For, how much longer could they wait?
Luc P. Beaudoin