|Background & History|
Online learning is becoming a major part of educational market in all its sectors: academic, corporate, governmental and military. This is a huge multi billion dollar market which according to December 2003 projections by International Data Corp., has just US corporate online learning reaching $11 billion in 2003 with an expectation of $18 billion by 2005. In the US alone there are 120,000 K12 schools with 3.5 million teachers and 53 million students in the US along with 9,000 college and universities consisting of 1 million teachers and 16 million students.
This enormous market is a great opportunity for software which would make online learning as effective or perhaps even more effective than classroom teaching. But this a still open and unmet grand challenge.
Broadly speaking, elearning tools can be divided into two families: synchronous and asynchronous. Synchronous tools enable students who are not physically co located with the instructor to participate in the lecture remotely and interactively. However synchronization requires that participants log in during the actual presentation time. These synchronous sessions typically carry setup overhead and can be cumbersome to use especially in coordinating interactivity among remote participants. On the other hand asynchronous tools allow complete freedom in two dimensions, space and time – students can learn from online materials remotely at a convenient time which is not bound to the actual presentation time. One common complaint about asynchronous online teaching materials, and even videotaped lectures, is that they are not interactive.
Our Lecture123 technology addresses this major flaw of asynchronous tools by bringing asynchronous learning closer to the synchronous one, while maintaining the low cost, simplicity and two degrees of freedom for students - space and time. Lecture123 allows creation of online materials which gradually, through the interactive question and answer capability, converge to the point where all questions have been asked and answered. This is accomplished using our patent pending technology of incorporating questions and answers directly, seamlessly, and simply into the presentation.
Eventually, the presentation reaches the state of an ultimate lecture – where everything is crystal clear since all the questions have been answered. Good instructors who have delivered the same lecture multiple times know the feeling - they have already anticipated all the questions and answers before students ask them.
Just as PowerPoint is the lingua-franca for single-use corporate presentations, Lecture123 can serve the same role for evolving presentations allowing them to achieve better and better clarity by incorporating and aggregating feedback from many audiences. Lecture123 can be viewed as interactive PowerPoint, which adds evolution, adaptation and feedback-inclusion. The lecture in Lecture123 is never the same, it changes and gets better with time, like good wine!