Inaugural Meeting of Global Learning Council Lays Groundwork for Improving Learning Outcomes for Students Everywhere

Academic, Industry and Nonprofit Leaders Agree To Create Principles for Sharing Learning Data and Best Practices in Tech-Enhanced Teaching and Learning

PITTSBURGH— At its inaugural face-to-face meeting, the leadership of the Global Learning Council (GLC), a consortium of leaders in the field of education from academia, industry and nonprofits, have identified two initial problem statements and action items for collaboration to advance the improvement of learning outcomes using technology.

Problem Statement 1: Education practitioners do not have trusted and understandable information sources to help them promote evidence-based, technology-enhanced learning.

­Action Item 1: The Global Learning Council will develop and disseminate understandable criteria and evidence for best practices in the following areas:

  • Design of learning environments;
  • Continuous improvement;
  • Adoption of new methods and technologies.

Problem Statement 2: Many organizations gather large amounts of learning data and are willing to share the data for education and research. However, currently there is a lack of widely accepted principles and criteria for sharing data.

Action Item 2: The Global Learning Council will create a framework with principles and criteria for the sharing of learning data.

GLC Chairman Subra Suresh, President of Carnegie Mellon University, said that GLC members have agreed to develop a document that fleshes out the two action items. This document will be crafted over the next year.  Suresh noted that a goal was also to have a draft document presented next spring to the members of the Association of American Universities and the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities.

“I am encouraged by the enthusiasm and the passionate commitment to the vision and the mission of the GLC that was exhibited by GLC members and attendees at the inaugural meeting.  The members of GLC look forward to the task of developing a framework with the principles, criteria, examples and best practices for the issues collectively identified at the meeting for improving outcomes for learners worldwide,” said Suresh.

The inaugural meeting brought together GLC members and guests to address key issues in technology enhanced learning in symposia-like sessions that included formal and informal talks, panel sessions, and breakout sessions.

Topics addressed at the meeting included:

  • The Role of Learning Science in Learning Gain: Best Practices and How to Practice Them;
  • Big Data in the Service of Better Learning;
  • What About K-12? Technology-Enhanced Learning in Service of Young Learners’ Readiness.

The meeting featured addresses by Thomas Kalil, Deputy Director for Technology and Innovation at the White House Office of Science Technology and Policy; Joan Ferrini-Mundy, Assistant Director, National Science Foundation Directorate for Education and Human Resources; James H. Shelton III, Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education; and Luis von Ahn, CEO of language learning company Duolingo.

In addition to Dr. Suresh, GLC members are:

  • Anant Agarwal, President, edX;
  • Patrick Gallagher, Chancellor and CEO, University of Pittsburgh;
  • Anoop Gupta, Distinguished Scientist, Microsoft Research;
  • Sal Khan, Founder and Executive Director, Khan Academy;
  • Daphne Koller, Co-founder, Coursera;
  • Alan Leshner, Chief Executive Officer, American Association for the Advancement of Science and member, National Science Board;
  • Peter McPherson, President, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities;
  • Hunter Rawlings, President, Association of American Universities;
  • Andrew Rosen, Chairman and CEO, Kaplan;
  • Alfred Spector, Vice President of Research, Google;
  • Tan Chorh Chuan, President, National University of Singapore and Chair, Global University Leaders Forum of the World Economic Forum;
  • Suzanne Walsh, Deputy Director, Postsecondary Success, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and member, World Economic Forum, Global Agenda Council on the Future of Universities; and
  • Carl Wieman, Nobel Laureate and Professor of Physics and Education, Stanford University.

The inaugural meeting was held at Carnegie Mellon University, in partnership with the University of Pittsburgh. CMU’s history in the learning sciences began in the 1950s, when CMU professor and Nobel Laureate Herbert A. Simon and his CMU colleagues, including Allen Newell, advanced the fields of cognitive psychology and artificial intelligence, developing one of the first computer-based theories of learning. Since then, the university has been at the forefront of understanding how people learn, through such activities as the development of computer tutors based on cognitive learning technology, learning games and courses in CMU’s Open Learning Initiative.

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