Autodidacticism — self-education or self-directed learning — is nothing new, but the Internet holds the promise of taking it to the masses. Sugata Mitra, an Indian physicist whose earlier educational experiments inspired the film ‘Slumdog Millionaire,’ is convinced that, with the Internet, kids can learn by themselves so long as they are in small groups and have well-posed questions to answer. And now, Mitra’s Self-Organized Learning Environments (SOLE) are going global, with testing in schools in Australia, Colombia, England and India. On their own, children can get about 30% of the knowledge required to pass exams, so to go further, Dr. Mitra supplements SOLE with e-mediators, amateur volunteers who use Skype to help kids learn online.
Published: December 5, 2010