Teachers! Your time is UP! An interview with David Abitbol.
Imagine you are a student, it's not hard. Imagine the stress with
trying to take notes whilst following your instructor, you know
you've got no chance of even understanding what the instructor just
said and the only thing you'll get if you stick up your hand and try
to clarify on some apparently foggy details will be a stern look and
an invisible 'stupid!' sticker on your forehead.
But all that is set to change;
uMind, perhaps one of the most interesting companies created in
the spring following the AI Winter, has created uLearn, a type of
system normally known as an 'Intelligent Tutor Interface', a system
that can monitor, guide and, above all, adapt to a student whilst
taking the role of instructor.
Not just another instructor, but one who is, effectively, at your
beck and call. This has magnificent potential far outstripping that
of traditional learning methods; not least the prime reason being
So, excited about this technology, I got in
contact with uMind and managed to get a small interview for the Hub
from one David Abitbol, the marketing director at uMind;
What are uMind's goals?
uMind's raison d'être (french expression) is to help communicate
complex training to learners through the use of learning
technologies. Our experience over the last 12 years has shown us that
clients are willing to dive into digital learning environments,
however few understand that digital learning can offer more resources
to learners than traditional learning approaches. This is especially
true today in the age of knowledge where users want to take control
over all activities in their lives.
Why does uMind openly state it uses AI, when that was such a
taboo word not so long ago?
Our take on AI is quite different from what we've previously seen
on the market, or in research labs for that matter. While previous
systems focused on emulating human behavior (perceive, reason, make
decisions, act) to perform a task, our approach goes beyond mimic. We
use AI to identify what challenges users/learners are faced with in
order to deliver a truly contextualized learning path.
Do you see a future for uMind's uLearn or similar technology
with alternate learning companies?
The trends we are seeing today in the online learning space have
truly taken a turn over the last few years. Up until recently the
market was after the latest technology (LMS, LCMS, etc...) in order
to deliver the "ultimate" learning experience. That shifted
when consumers started demanding SCORM compliant courses (DOD
Standard). SCORM was introduced as a standard to allow companies,
universities, government facilities, and interested parties to share
learning content (known as SCOs or sharable learning objects). In
turn, the standard caused all learning technology providers to
"standardize" their solutions. That being said, the trend
today in e-Learning is no longer limited to the technological
component. People are now demanding rich content, interactive
content, user involvement, user control, all of which are content
oriented. Unfortunately, the content still is the elephant in the
room nobody dare to speak of. We're trying to change that. We've
rethought our technologies to be content driven. our technologies are
really just a support for rich content in order to truly focus on the
'Learning' component of e-Learning.
Has uLearn been independently ranked as a better solution to
more classic methods of teaching?
We've down our own field test with clients comparing traditional
e-Learning and intelligent learning (i-Learning). Our approach to
e-Learning has shown to reduce training time by 50% while increasing
learning retention and acquisition rates course 35%.
Do you think uLearn (and other systems) will eventually replace school systems?
Unlikely. We believe strongly in blended solutions for many
reasons. Human interactions one of them. And in the case critical
training procedures (ex. engine maintenance), it is imperative for
learners to have a real-life training session prior to being on the
Thank you; Mr. Abitbol
So, there we have it, a system that can function to educate the user, and
adapt to the user's learning requirements. With a growing market (not
to mention more open acceptance of AI in general) that led to the
rise of many projects (www.autotutor.org)
in both the commercial and research world, and with big name
companies all convening around the idea of a Singularity University,
we are seriously looking at a future without so much of a need for
classrooms full of unruly pupils, which, in my opinion, looks much
better for both parties.
You may learn more about uMind and uLearn at:
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