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10.04.2018

openHPI: Successfully presenting the future of digital learning in New York

More than 200 guests from business, science and politics discussed the future of digital learning with scientists from the German Hasso Plattner Institute (HPI) at the HPI MOOC Symposium on 4 and 5 April in New York. 

Participants of the HPI MOOC Symposium 2018 in New York City. (Foto: J. Halpern)

At the Symposium at the Hudson Yards office, researcher David Joyner of the Georgia Institute of Technology spoke in favor of developing new methods that allow participants in open online courses to quickly retrieve the content they have learned.

During the symposium, David Joyner reported that learners occasionally have misunderstandings and that is especially important in the so-called Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) to frequently review what they have learned. Lee Rubenstein, vice president of Business Development at the edOC MOOC platform, said it was critical for digital learners to be able to access their course from anywhere, via any device: "The learners need to be able to access courses from anywhere and on any device. Whatever we want the learners to do, we must put the opportunity in front of them."

Justin Reich, Managing Director of the MIT Teaching Systems Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, reported on initial research results on learning in open online courses: "If you set all metrics in relationship to each other, such as points achieved, number of quizzes taken, high activity in the forum, etc., everything is possibly related to each other". From this, the e-learning scientist concluded that whoever is willing to learn a lot, will also use more and more content. Regarding the necessity of the evaluation of the learning data, Reich said: "You can collect lots and lots of data and still not know anything about the learners."

Also American business representatives were interested in the latest research results and practical examples around digital learning. Karen Deal from Newport News Shipbuilding said: "Our company is undergoing a digital transformation and I‘m looking for solutions to accelerate learning so that we can adopt new technologies and new processes, so this symposium just opens up a lot of opportunity to be able to accelerate, not just limp along and teach people a few things, but to get them to learn together."

John Queenan, founder of Charged Up, praised the HPI symposium as a place where he was able to experience: "some great thinkers in terms of how to make learning more effective and have a greater impact on society." For young entrepreneur Joan Ai, who is currently creating a start-up in the NYU Steinhardt EdTech Incubator, the symposium of the Potsdam Institute was an enriching experience: "Not only did I learn so much about MOOCs, but also how MOOCs would be applicable to my business and the educational space in general."

At the symposium, HPI researchers presented innovative technologies that are increasingly changing the way people use open online courses. "We were able to successfully demonstrate how newly developed MOOC technologies can improve the experience of learning and innovation processes as well as cooperation in and between organizations," commented Prof. Christoph Meinel, Director of the HPI Institute in Potsdam.

The German HPI had taken up the USA MOOC trend in 2011 as the first educational institution in Europe and as a pioneer for German e-learning and has further developed it since 2012. At the New York Symposium in the SAP Leonardo Center, HPI scientists presented the peculiarities of their Internet education platform, openHPI. It also presented what distinguishes the two partner platforms of the World Health Organization WHO and the software group SAP. The symposium was also about analyzing, understanding and designing digital learning processes. In particular, aspects such as the evaluation of learning data and the use of game-typical elements to increase learning motivation and stamina were discussed as well as the future of open online courses for everyone.