The Digital Scotland Academy is our plan to roll out an e-learning community platform, to pioneer new models for education.
As Digital Skills Scotland reports, Scotland faces a skills shortage challenge that would hamper our ambitions to build a world leading digital economy.
Furthermore and particularly concerning is Scotland’s general education performance, their PISA results pointing to declining performance in key subjects like Maths and Science.
A Digital Learning Nation
Harnessing modern digital learning platforms can address Scotland’s challenge, and overall presents the country with the opportunity to modernize not only what we learn, but how we learn, and transform our entire approach to education.
In comparison Estonia, renowned for their digital capability, have leveraged this technology to achieve astounding levels of success on the same rankings, first in Europe. Indeed they describe it as a platform for enabling an ‘Education Nation’.
Social Learning Communities
The next main phase for Digital Scotland is the launch of ‘Social Learning Communities’. These are sub-sites of the main DigitalScot.net social network, tailored for specific industries and technology domains. The first is for Cloud computing, with others plan for industries like Government and Health Care.
Each is equipped with its own community, blogs, an article knowledge base, events calendar and e-learning system, so that they can function as an expert Community of Practice.
Digital guru Dion Hinchcliffe describes this combination as “Social Learning”, the wholesale digital transformation of education, based on:
“models for learning that are more interactive, community-based, peer-produced, and individually-guided. Learning from internal experts, group conversation, and through shared media such as photos and video”
As Dion describes:
This is sharp contrast to the digital era, where knowledge is pervasive, instantly searchable, consumable on-demand, and kept continuously up-to-date by millions of daily global contributors to the online commons. This allows learning — for better or worse, depending on the critic — to be far more situational, on-demand, self-directed, infinitely customized, even outright enjoyable, depending on the user experience, all of which leads to more profound engagement of learners.
In addition, the rise of social networking technology has allowed people with similar learning interests to come together as a group to share knowledge on a subject — and perhaps even more significantly — to express their passion for an area of learning. This can create deeper, more intense, and more immersive educational experiences within a community of like-minded learners.