Sugata Mitra calls them SOLEs (Self Organized Learning Environments). SOLEs are, in essence, pods that facilitate learning by bringing together people in search of common knowledge (students) and organizing them around a tool (computers) that will help them find the information they are looking for. To test his hypothesis that “education is a self organizing system, where learning is an emergent phenomenon,” Mitra placed computers in a hole in a wall in a remote village of India. He left the computers in the wall unattended and provided no instruction. In short time, children were teaching themselves how to use the computers by organizing themselves around the hole in the wall and challenging each other to make things happen.

Imagine if this same type of discovery was used in college classrooms, particularly supersized college classrooms where group discovery and peer-to-peer interaction are practically non-existent. Thus, the SOLE of higher education. Imagine a large forum classroom where the students are organised for goal oriented, active learning. The classroom, and the learning it engenders, would be forever changed.

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