I always believe that one important aspect of future learning/education is that everyone can become a teacher. To be more specific, people who really have rich learning experiences and domain knowledge — usually those accomplished professionals — should be able to teach and guide learners effectively in their spare time. Thus we will really change the profession of teaching, and bring out the true value of “teaching”. We can see now that many websites are making efforts in this direction. Some allow individual teachers to host a class online and teach students like in a classroom. Some connect individual teachers and learners so that the teachers can teach offline face to face. But all these current efforts have serious drawbacks. They didn’t fully leverage the power of internet, and they cannot compete with the current mainstream teaching, e.g. the classroom teaching in schools.

What is trying to bring about is something that is dramatically different. Let’s say, someone who wants to learn something, for example, software programming, photography or management, post his request. People who think they can teach can answer the request by commenting or giving a simple learning/starting plan for the learner. For example, what good books there are, what areas the learner need to learn, what kind of path that he will go through. Or the teacher can share with the learner the learning material he has organized with the notebook. Based on these infos, the learner can decide who can be his teacher. He can have one or several teachers. So the teachers can give out specific areas that the learner can try. The learner has to make notes of what he has learned in the process and questions he has. The teachers need to provide feedbacks and guidelines in time. The teacher can also share his learning materials. The charge of service might be free for the starting period. Then the learner need to pay to get continued service.

This way the teacher knows where the students are in their study and the teacher is able to provide very effective and timely guidance to the students. The teacher can also use to record his own learning experiences and learning materials, and provide them later for the students to study. These learning resources are unlike the traditional ones, which are just knowledge that need to be memorized. These new resources include the teacher’s own experiences and reasoning in his exploration of knowledge. The students are supposed to replicate similar experiences and reasoning in their own various daily activities and construct their own knowledge. So the teaching shifts away from traditional way of filling in students with knowledge and starts to focus on guiding students in their exploring and building their own knowledge. The students also get trained to form the habit and skills of self-reflection, which should be the center of learning. Thus compared to other sites, provides a more complete learning experience. And the research work of knowledge engine, provides the technology backbone of the above process.

In United States, more and more learning centers and schools are starting to bring contemplative skills and methodologies back into learning and teaching, and start to have very powerful impact. I think the future learning won’t be like the current schools, where the students are supposed to grasp (quite often memorize) the knowledge in the book and pass the tests. Learning will not be separated from real life. Learners learn to solve their problems or to live a better life. Teachers are those who are able to guide the students in that process, helping students bring their experiences and reasoning together to reach some systemic knowledge and understanding. With and knowledge engine, we hope we can start to explore a systemic way to do this.

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