Industry News

MIT Is Building an Online Library for Workplace Applications of Emerging Technologies

By Henry Kronk
October 21, 2019

The current pace of development of new technologies is dizzying. Achieving a basic understanding of things like the block chain, machine learning, and augmented reality is difficult; applying them effectively in the workplace is even harder. While many vendors are happy to provide clients their services, it can be challenging to parse their claims and determine how effective a tool or service can be. To address this gap, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has begun to develop an online digital library—MIT Horizon—which focuses specifically on everyday workplace applications of cutting edge technology. 

MIT Horizon offers “bite-sized articles, videos, and podcasts on emerging technologies, with early topics including additive manufacturing, artificial intelligence, blockchain technology, and robotics,” according to a press release. 

MIT Horizon Will Offer ‘Bite-Sized’ Learning

“Technologies are advancing very rapidly, and we feel a responsibility at MIT to provide learning opportunities that can help today’s workforce keep up with this pace of innovation,” said Sanjay Sarma, MIT vice president for open learning, in the release. “With MIT Horizon, we aim to introduce more granular learning in a variety of formats that teams can easily consume.”

Horizon is current available via subscription. Their regular fee includes access to the library, along with user analytics for administrators, along with “various professional services.”

“This is a groundbreaking platform specially-designed for learning on emerging technologies,” Sarma continued. “We are thrilled to bring this offering to organizations in need of new learning opportunities, as it reflects our mission of expanding MIT’s educational reach to millions of working professionals.”

MIT reiterates that the service is unbiased.

Other institutions have sought to provide similar libraries and databases relating to emerging technology as applied to education. 

Libraries and Databases Focusing on Emerging Teaching and Professional Technology Have Begun to Grow in Popularity

In 2017, for example, Oregon State University launched their Online Learning Efficacy Research Database. As its name suggests, the platform collects all emerging research on the efficacy of online learning (in an academic context).

As Dr. Kathryn Linder, OSU’s Research Director of the Ecampus Research Unit said in an interview with eLearning Inside at the time: 

One of the great challenges with online efficacy research is it’s pretty hard to do in a rigorous way because classrooms are not lab settings. It can be challenging to have comparative environments where you can really measure in a concrete way and compare certain modalities to other modalities without having lots of other variables poking in and making a difference in terms of student learning.

These comments might equally apply to the use technology in workforce training. 

Similarly, the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Science (IES) has operated their What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) since 2002. 

The WWC more broadly collects proven, scientifically rigorous research on education, and presents it in a more digestible way to teachers, administrators, and schools. Much of their work focuses on education technology as well. 

Still MIT Horizon differs from both of these in its focus on the workplace and in its availability on a subscription basis. 

Featured Image: Muzammil Soorma, Unsplash.