Sugata Mitra on designing systems for learning – TED talk

I’ve finally gotten around to the following TED video that’s been queued up in my "to read/watch" stack. In it, Sugata Mitra describes his "Hole in the Wall" experiments that placed internet connected PCs into New Delhi slums and watched what happened. It’s worth 20 minutes of your time.


Mitra’s conclusion is that you can get a lot of learning for very little investment, particularly in the trappings of formal education that we tend to take for granted. People are wired to learn and appear to do so best in small groups of like-minded learners. They need access to resources and encouragement. They don’t particularly need someone more expert to guide them; their natural curiosity works as well or better. Mitra’s view is that education is best treated as a self-organizing system.

Digging into how learning works versus how we naively think it works is important in the world we find ourselves in. Individually and organizationally, we are faced with ongoing challenges to learn. Neither we nor our organizations can afford the necessary learning time if it has to be in the form of conventional settings. Following the threads worked for the kids in Mitra’s experiments. We need to follow a similar path. We also need to experiment with integrating those learning paths into the demands of day-to-day work.

2 thoughts on “Sugata Mitra on designing systems for learning – TED talk”

  1. Thanks for posting — this is fascinating, true social networking. Impressive to see the power of small groups of young people, hungry for knowledge, gathered around a single relatively large screen, without a teacher. What’s important is how all the dialog and shared experience amplify the learning process. It seems to argue against the one laptop per child approach ( For me it also calls to mind pair programming and Peter Senge’s theories of team learning.

    As costs fall for larger screens and projectors, and as smart phones morph into iPads, I expect we’ll see more group learning like this happen in the workplace in addition to schools. Overall a hopeful sign for for systemic change and sustainable solutions for global education.

  2. I believe that it also promote online learning with improved content. If the kid learn how to develop a mindset when they know how to study day to day by their own, and develop a high curiosity, the content of class will be the most important and I think it’s way online education works. Universities like Phoenix Universities understood it before others and try to develop many program in this way. They are, I think, writing the future of education by offering strong online content design for self motivated people.


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