Life-long learning and the mind palace

I’ve been meaning to write this down for ages but this feels like the right time.

Who is going to build the mind palace platform for life-long learning?

It’s increasingly recognised that we will all have to become adept at learning (and unlearning) new things if we are to cope with ‘The Future of Work’ (and all that implies.

Pebble Pad is an e-Portfolio tool that allows the online accumulation and management of a student’s educational materials.

So, how about a cloud-based digital portfolio environment where you can store all the education resources from primary school to undergraduate and postgraduate university study, not to mention vocational education and any other learning material you might find useful?

All those things you spent hours and hours working on, that are at best on separate storage devices with no easy way to browse or search them, when (if) you realise they are relevant to something now or coming up. All those books and reports that are in your references, in digital (and physical) libraries but no longer in your memory, which has long since cleared them out.

It’s a bit of a jump from Pebble Pad to a mind palace, of course. Those ideas I mentioned:

What if you could go into a digital space – perhaps in VR – and walk around virtual rooms that contain everything you’ve ever learned, read and recorded? (Note 1 below). You could reach out and retrieve that quote, that poem, that great point you made in your thesis, in an environment that is designed stimulate dormant memories.

Sherlock Holmes provides the (entertaining) contemporary metaphor, marshalling his accumulated knowledge, in this instance in the most critical point of need

The VR idea was inspired by an Oculus Rift experience I can’t remember the name of but this 2016 video from The Lab VR Nathie illustrates a virtual tour of the solar system (from about 4.27).

I’ve done a few assignments I’d like to have been able to throw into the sun – maybe that’s the new ‘trashcan’.

The Lab VR video also illustrates (before the solar system tour) a VR fly-through of the human body (from above, through the cranium, brain, heading South).

Imagine using this fly-through approach as a way to browse for information. The brain metaphor is one thing (‘pegging’ content according to the regions of the brain) but you could fly through schools, lecture halls, libraries, and so on. Whatever ontological, taxonomical metaphor floats your boat.

What makes this so timely that I need to finally write it down? In a talk I gave earlier in the week (at the eLearning Summit 2018), I cited the University of Sydney Deputy Vice Chancellor for Education, Prof. Philippa ‘Pip’ Pattison, in a witness statement to the (Australian Federal Government) Select Committee on the Future of Work and Workers

Listing 3 key points for the future of education, Pip notes (number 2) ‘…We see the need for much greater attention than there is at present on lifelong learning and on a lifelong learning system that is inclusive of all Australians.’ P.76 of the transcript of the first Sydney hearing in February, this year (Note 2 below).

As governments start to think seriously about data and now more seriously about the future of work and drives toward a better education sector, the mind palace can’t be far away…

Note 1. Yes, there are copyright considerations, among many others

Note 2. Pip’s first point was the need for a more holistic, evidence-based approach to education policy which runs all the way from early childhood through to higher education and her third was for a focus on students’ development of foundational skills and knowledge from early childhood all the way up through the education system.



Posted in: Media, Notes, Work

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