Navigated Learning: A "GPS for Learning"

Colloquium | March 11 | 4-5:30 p.m. | Berkeley Way West, Room 1215, 2121 Berkeley Way, Berkeley, CA 94720

 Dr. Prasad Ram, Gooru

 Graduate School of Education

Dr. Prasad "Pram" Ram, a former Google Maps engineer, will present how the navigation model—where we locate a user, generate a route to their destination, and reroute them until they arrive—is appropriate for learning; we call that model Navigated Learning. Gooru has developed a Learning Navigator that complements classroom instructions and personalizes learning pathway for every students. Pram will demonstrate the Learning Navigator that echoes a "Google Maps"-like experience for learning. With the Learning Navigator, students locate their current knowledge and skills, set their learning destinations, and are presented with a personalized pathway of learning activities. As they navigate through their learning experiences, they are rerouted based on their performance. Using real-time data about student performance and dynamically updated information about efficacy of learning activities, Navigator ensures that every student reaches their learning goals every time. This talk will explain the mathematics of navigation, the science of learning, and the technologies underlying the Learning Navigator.

Learning goes well beyond gaining curriculum knowledge to developing non-cognitive skills. Students’ motivation, self-confidence, grit, perseverance, communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity have a major impact on their learning outcomes, and can be supported only by a caring teacher / mentor. Navigator provides teachers with real-time data about students’ performance during class period, during their course, and across their grades. Teachers use this data and the associated suggestions to personalize the learning pathways. This talk will illustrate the role of a teacher with the Learning Navigator and discuss a Navigator for Math program, where students in four urban high schools in California have had over 2.5 years of academic growth in a single year with a pre-algebra course.

About the Speaker. Dr. Ram started Gooru as a “20% project” while at Google to develop a “GPS for Learning,” where students seeking to learn a topic are presented with a learning "route" based on their profile and “rerouted” based on their performance. In 2011, he established Gooru as a non-profit to bring the simplicity and universal usefulness of a “Google Maps”-like experience to learning.

While at Google, Pram led Google Books for Education in Mountain View and before that he was the head of Google R&D in India where he led projects on Google Maps, News, Language Technologies, Search, and Ads. Pram received the Founders’ Award at Google in 2010 for his work on Google Ads. Prior to joining Google, Pram led engineering at Yahoo! and was a research scientist at Xerox PARC.

Pram is a Council Member and Chair of the Education Committee at the California Council of Science and Technology (CCST). Pram is also a Board member at Leadership Public Schools (LPS). Pram has a Ph.D. in Computer Science from UCLA, and a B.Tech. in Computer Science from Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay, India.

 goldwasser@berkeley.edu