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Learning Hubs: Where Learning Takes Place in a Digital World

It has long been known that a combination of both formal and informal learning is an effective way of turning theory (explicit knowledge) into practice (tacit knowledge). This includes working and learning alongside more experienced people, both online and face-to-face.

The nature of learning is changing, and new learning technologies are proliferating. Additionally, there is compelling evidence that suggests many learners can benefit from alternative models and novel spaces for developing their skills and gaining further knowledge. Couple this with the increase in distance and virtual learning offerings—which offer little opportunity for face-to-face contact for both formal learning and networking—and a significant need for additional learner support begins to emerge.

This need is also being driven by our busy lifestyles: learners may not always have time to study at their chosen institution or study center; entrepreneurs and startups may need access to temporary experts and more formal learning opportunities; and learners and workers may need more than just online support from time to time. Sometimes learners want a place to study away from the distractions of home or work, or they may need an informal learning place to engage with peers and mentors.

Learning hubs” may be the solution. Learning hubs are technology-enabled, flexible, formal and informal learning spaces designed to support learners of all ages. As opposed to study centers or traditional classrooms, learning hubs:

  • Are purpose-built to accommodate more than just tutorial instructions and seminars 
  • Serve as a space for temporary or prearranged meetings and discussions with peers
  • Enable students to meet with experts and mentors virtually or to join a class remotely (from one or more hubs) via high-definition video-conferencing or telepresence facilities

Learning hubs can be located in Smart Work Centers, university and school campuses with spare real estate, community centers, and other places. Or, they can be “pop-up” hubs—physical spaces connected through high-end video-conferencing technology to enable city-to-city and multicity events—that meet specific, short-term needs. Dialogue Café is one example of a pop-up hub. Other types of hubs are shown in Figure 1.  

 Figure 1.  Potential Learning Hub Locations.

Learning Hubs

Source: Cisco IBSG, 2013

A more detailed perspective from Cisco IBSG on learning hubs—including existing hubs and those in development—is available for download at “Learning Hubs: Where Learning Takes Place in a Digital World.”

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A Student’s Perspective: The Borderless Classroom, Part 2 of 2

I am a member of the millennial generation, and I have been exposed to the education system for nearly 14 years. Recent analysis of Cisco’s International Education Survey prompted me to reflect on my experience as a student. This passage is the second in a two-blog series that portrays my perspective on how and why technology will benefit every facet of teaching and learning.

This blog represents my interpretations on technology’s aid in the evolution of how teachers teach.

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A Student’s Perspective: We Need More Technology – Faster, Part 1 of 2

My name is Tom Patton, and I am a student at the University of Oregon. Presently, I support Cisco’s Education Market Management team and work on a variety of U.S. and International Marketing projects. My first project was to analyze, organize and portray data from Cisco’s recent International Education Survey. The survey is a compilation of over 1100 interviews with education officials and IT decision-makers from 15 countries. The research explores key ideas regarding education and technology.

Working on this project caused me to reflect on my own experiences with technology and our education system. This blog is the first of a two-set series that portray my experience as a student, and my opinions of the potential benefits of further utilization of technology by students and teachers alike.

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Free Online Event: Learn How Virtual Classrooms Have Delivered Measureable Results

Virtual learning has evolved into a robust tool for human resources and training leaders. Yet many companies struggle to find the right blend of face-to-face, virtual, self-paced, formal, and informal learning methods to meet their needs. In this free WebEx, you’ll hear case studies that explain how companies have solved this challenge.

Register here.

Richard Nantel, Co-CEO of Brandon Hall Group, and Faith LeGendre, Senior Consultant at Cisco, will share examples of Read More »

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Collaboration in the Virtual Classroom

Collaboration technology has helped education come a long way in the past few years. According to ASTD, 37% of 2009 training involved electronic technology, up from 15% in 2002. As more educators use technology to increase collaboration and advance the classroom experience, overwhelming evidence shows that learning in an online environment can be as effective, or more so, as that in traditional classrooms.
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