Alan Lesgold

Professor emeritus, University of Pittsburgh
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • +1 4126249580
  • United States of America

About Alan Lesgold

Alan Lesgold is Renée and Richard Goldman Dean Emeritus and Professor Emeritus of Education, Psychology, and Intelligent Systems at the University of Pittsburgh. His background includes the psychology of complex skills, experience developing several artificially intelligent training systems to teach difficult jobs, research in teaching and learning, and sixteen years as dean of Pitt’s School of Education. Lesgold completed his B.A. in psychology at Michigan State University, where he helped support himself by writing multivariate statistical software in the time before the software packages like SPSS and SAS that people use today. He completed his doctorate at Stanford University in experimental psychology. For a bit over a dozen years, he then studied how people learn complex skills and especially how people become experts in reading, radiology, and technical jobs like electronics systems maintenance. That led to developing five generations of intelligent tutoring systems to teach technicians how to solve emergent and unexpected problems with complex systems such as the machines used to make computer chips. During that period, Lesgold and a colleague founded one of the first multidisciplinary doctoral programs in intelligent systems at Pitt. He also received a major award from the American Psychological Association and an honorary doctorate from the Open University of the Netherlands for the intelligent training systems work. At the end of his intelligent systems development work, Lesgold also worked with a colleague to develop a high school curriculum to be paired with apprenticeship in the machine tool industry. With another colleague, Dan Suthers, Lesgold developed a cloud-based system for constructing arguments that also featured a cloud-based coaching system to guide students in building their arguments. This was followed by sixteen years as dean of Pitt’s School of Education during which Lesgold continued to write on intelligent training systems and related topics. Lesgold has served on several boards of nonprofit organizations focused on improving education and on work force development and has chaired projects on related topics for the Governor of Pennsylvania and the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine.

Recent Comments

Mar 25, 2019
Replying to Alan Lesgold

Exciting topics!  As it happens, I have a book coming out in about five weeks that addresses the question of what schools should be teaching the next generation of children so they can thrive in the age of smart machines.  I'll have a blog site up in a couple weeks that will also discuss this issue.  Meanwhile, here's the publisher's blurb:


"Learning for the Age of Artificial Intelligence is a richly informed argument for curricular change to educate people towards achievement and success as intelligent machine systems proliferate. Describing eight key competences, this comprehensive volume prepares educational leaders, designers, researchers, and policymakers to effectively rethink the knowledge, skills, and environments that students need to thrive and avoid displacement in today’s technology-enhanced culture and workforce. Essential insights into school operations, machine learning, complex training and assessment, and economic challenges round out this cogent, relatable discussion about the imminent evolution of the education sector."

Eight key competences I address are:

• the ability to learn efficiently and quickly,
• socioemotional skills,
• skills of civic participation,
• ability to evaluate information,
• facility in collaborative activity, including the 4 C’s (dealing with complexity, communication, collaboration, and creativity),
• management of personal finances and some basic economics,
• confidence, and
• physical and mental fitness.

I argue that schools cannot get the entire job done and that the education system of the future needs redundant opportunities outside of school, along with schemes similar to an electronic medical record to help different providers coordinate their efforts.

Alan Lesgold


Thanks, Kieran, for the questions you pose.  First, on confidence.  It's been my experience that a lot of people lack the confidence to stretch their knowledge to new situations and to seek out intensive learning opportunities, both of which I think will be highly valued human competences in the AI age.  I was influenced in the discussion of confidence in my book by the discussion of confidence in a book by Roberta Golinkoff and Kathy Hirsh-Pasek titled Becoming Brilliant.  They see cognitive confidence as part of overall cognitive development, and I think they are right on target, especially when we look at the changing balance between people and machines in the coming years. Setting humans free to be adventurous seems a lot safer than unfettering machines, as we have seen in the evolving story of the Boeing 737 MAX 8.

On the issue of who else besides schools, I really envision an education system that includes not only schools but out of school activities - scouts, teams, clubs, after-school tutoring, etc. - that share some amount of data in a manner similar to the best (and regrettably still infrequent) electronic medical records.  There are many problems to be resolved for this to happen, but I have seen small scale examples of collaborations between school and out-of-school activity that do give me hope.

It's coming along slowly, but there's a bit more content on my blog, http://educationfuture.blog .

I see the book as more posing questions than providing authoritative and final answers, and I would be happy to participate in discussions around questions and criticisms that others like you bring up.

Best,

Alan

Feb 19, 2019

Exciting topics!  As it happens, I have a book coming out in about five weeks that addresses the question of what schools should be teaching the next generation of children so they can thrive in the age of smart machines.  I'll have a blog site up in a couple weeks that will also discuss this issue.  Meanwhile, here's the publisher's blurb:


"Learning for the Age of Artificial Intelligence is a richly informed argument for curricular change to educate people towards achievement and success as intelligent machine systems proliferate. Describing eight key competences, this comprehensive volume prepares educational leaders, designers, researchers, and policymakers to effectively rethink the knowledge, skills, and environments that students need to thrive and avoid displacement in today’s technology-enhanced culture and workforce. Essential insights into school operations, machine learning, complex training and assessment, and economic challenges round out this cogent, relatable discussion about the imminent evolution of the education sector."

Eight key competences I address are:

• the ability to learn efficiently and quickly,
• socioemotional skills,
• skills of civic participation,
• ability to evaluate information,
• facility in collaborative activity, including the 4 C’s (dealing with complexity, communication, collaboration, and creativity),
• management of personal finances and some basic economics,
• confidence, and
• physical and mental fitness.

I argue that schools cannot get the entire job done and that the education system of the future needs redundant opportunities outside of school, along with schemes similar to an electronic medical record to help different providers coordinate their efforts.

Alan Lesgold


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