ONLINE EDUCA BERLIN 2013 – Learning moves

Online Educa Berlin, the biggest conference in the world dedicated to e-learning and technology that supports training in the educational, corporate and public services spheres, has just come to an end. The 2013 edition was dedicated to the theme of Learning moves, and opened important thoughts on the role of big data in the comprehension of the world and the value of technology and connections to support leadership. After the opening session, which launched the preliminary views of the conference, two fundamental themes were addressed during the debate on e-learning: big data and leadership. The phenomenon of BIG DATA was addressed by Professor Viktor Mayer-Shonberger, co-author of the book “Big data revolution that will transform how we live, work and think”and professor at the Oxford University Internet Institute. The subject relates to the progressive increase in dataset dimensions and is also particularly important in the field of educational technology: just think of the data about students which every university or training institution has. The professor gave his own vision: the importance of having A LOT OF DATA is clearly shown in the working of the principle search engines, which exploit the QUANTITY of data available rather than the complexity of search algorithms. You can choose what to focus on, only if you have more. MORE is better! Correlation between data partially resolves the problem of confusion, helping us to make sense of it all. But be careful: analysing this huge quantity of data can help us identify some phenomena, but will never tell us why. WHAT, NOT WHY! This is why the professor suggests approaching the subject of BIG DATA with HUMILITY that is, giving space to humanity, to imagination and to creativity, which remain fundamental for explaining things and finding meanings. Data undoubtedly helps us understand the world better, but it is only a mirror of reality: it is always, by nature, incomplete and man’s imagination is necessary to make sense of it all. Indeed, Professor Viktor Mayer-Shonberger finishes by saying “We must carve out a space for the human – for our irrationality, our creativity, our imagination, for acting in defiance of what the data says.” Can technology humanise leadership? The second speech of the session opened with this challenge from speaker Gianpiero Petriglieri, associate professor of organisational behaviour at Insead and nominated among the 50 thinkers of 2013 for the “Future Thinker Award”. The professor asks: are we sure that the ways and themes on which we are shaping leaders are in line with the challenges and the responsibilities which we face in these days and in this age? Leaders must represent us, and the icons that seem to attract us the most, that is those that are more significant for us, express the idea of mobility and connection more and more. Therefore, are we educating leaders about mobility and connection? Invoking the god Mercury, for Petriglieri the challenge is to train new leaders to being connected, and the most important key skills are courage, curiosity, connection ability and the ability to work with others. Could it be – asks Giampiero Petriglieri – that the way that we are developing and educating leaders is not well suited to the challenges and responsibilities that we face in this day and age?” News and materials about the conference is available at Chiara Moroni

written by: Chiara Moroni , 31 January 2014

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