Before, I start I want to differentiate between learning and education. Of course, technology has contributed immensely to make education accessible. However, I am here to talk about learning.
We had better technology for learning a few decades ago. These were times when computers were less accessible and you would hardly find any JS libraries or frameworks that could cut on development time or resources.
Even though we have great frameworks like React, D3. Technology hasn’t lived up to itself in being an aid to learning.
Have a look at the kind of educational software, that was built in the '70s.
Students who used one of the applications that simulated chemical reaction would go up to their teacher and ask, “I designed a compound, I couldn’t make can you teach me to make this compound?” or in lectures, they would ask “What would happen if you had changed the pH?”.
Now, students who ask such question have developed a good curiosity towards the subject or have a deep understanding of it. The kind of query that would come up in my chemistry class was “How much marks would this chapter hold in final exams?”.
PLATO learning systems are proof that technology can be immensely useful in learning.
I was wondering what’s stopping us from having such learning applications today? I thought I would build one. I was searching for resources on the same, that’s where I stumbled on the book Michael Allen’s Guide to E-Learning.
Michael Allen focused on corporate learning, remember this was years before Coursera or Khan Academy.
Why don’t we have such learning aids for science today? The one thought leader I know who’s presently doing amazing things in this space is Nicky Case. Have a look at explorables.
I also came across the open-source idyll toolkit that helps in the creation of interactive/explorable explanations.
However, this is just the 4th iteration and I still have a long way to go before I could level up with learning systems PLATO had.
The one reason why we don’t find many explorable explanations could be because one needs programming skills. Hence, I am working on a product that would help in building explorable explanations without coding.
If you are a teacher, lecturer or a tutor who’s interested in building explorable courses for your students. Please reach out to me via Linkedin or Email (firstname.lastname@example.org). I am willing to work with you pro bono to help you build explorable explanations.