Jul 252012

Learning Technology: Can Technology Fix Education?

Learning Technology: By Michael J. Miller, July 23, 2012

Of all the areas of the economy that technology can shake, education seems the most ready because many students aren’t getting the attention they deserve. At a panel at Fortune Brainstorm Tech last week, there were a lot of different opinions on what’s wrong with education and what should be done.

“The need for education has never been greater,” said Tony Miller, deputy secretary and COO of the US Department of Education, opening a panel on education innovation. The unemployment rate is at 13 percent for high school dropouts and 8.5 percent for high school graduates, but only at four percent for college graduates. Wages have been directly correlated with education. Two-thirds of all new jobs will require advanced degrees, Miller said. He admitted, though, that the situation is more challenging now, when only 55 percent of the people who attend college graduate in six years or fewer and only 25 percent of community college students graduate.

Stanford professor Daphne Koller, founder of startup Coursera, argued that most of the higher education world does not use technology effectively. With Coursera, anyone can take courses from top universities because they are offered for free online. They include such things as homework assignments, feedback, peer-to-peer teaching, and grading, and the universities often offer a certificate of completion, rather than just a degree.

learning technology



Tom McDonald’s Comments:

learning technology

As I perpetually write in my blog, the education reform solution to poor individual learning, is:  teacher facilitated, brain based, research based, classroom proven, truly personalized learning, over time, truly personalized reinforcement, over time, in a truly personalized blended learning environment, over time, supplemented with truly personalized learning technology, over time.

The model that all teachers support and that the research roves out is true 1:1 learning, one teacher to one student and/or one digital tutor to one student, facilitated by the instructor.

We are erroneously hoping that a flawed one to many teaching system, delivered to individuals over cool technology will transfer long term individual learning. It will not, anymore than a one to many lecture will (both are poor for learning)

where long term individual learning of critical information = long term, individual, appropriate: understanding, fluency/mastery, recall, application, stick/behavior change

The research proven, classroom proven, learning research is solid and we must understand it, develop it into proven best practices, then implement it into our classrooms with proven success.

Currently we are being led by technology that is unproven to advance individual learning outcomes, implementing it and finding out that individual learning has not been advanced.

We need to deliver proven pedagogy, via appropriate instructional design to individuals, via the cool technology ( or deliver truly personalized learning software, that integrates brain, based, research proven, methodology to individuals, via the cool technology).

How we can be approaching this so incorrectly baffles me, considering the huge investments in technology that have done little or nothing to advance individual learning outcomes. This has to change.

Do we want proven, documented, best practices, learning outcomes like these:

  • More Stimulation per Minute of Study
  • 300% Improvement in Retained Learning per Hour of Study
  • 11% less study time, 22% less test time, and 95% higher test scores


Turnkey eLearning application for California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE); Advanced English Learners pass rates up to 78%

Advanced Special Education learners pass rates up to 50%

Advanced Traditional education learners pass rates up to 100%

Customized, annualized, CAHSEE, Return on Investment (ROI), economic validations, have ranged between 800% and 4,000%+

Or traditional advanced learning outcomes like these:

  • “Maybe the most frustrating aspect is we can’t definitively say whether this program did or did not improve student outcomes, which is obviously the primary goal of any education reform.”
  • …”Cram says he hasn’t seen any dramatic improvements in learning since incorporating the iPad, but he anticipates that there will be soon”…

For those interested in a free resource (900+unique and varied posts) specific to the new learning model please access:



Tom McDonald, [email protected]; 608-788-5144; Skype: tsmw5752

learning technology, McDonald Sales and Marketing, LLC