5 Key Components to Uberized Learning

Dr. Manal Houri of Ericsson breaks down the 5 key components that will transform your learning into a personal, Uber-like experience for each learner.

Published on 15 September, 2016 | Last modified on 1 November, 2022
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by Dr. Manal Houri – Technical Training Manager, Learning Services, Ericsson, Region North America

You are sitting in a coffee shop browsing your various social media–tagging, liking, snapchatting–when your fitness device beeps: reminding you to “step it up” so you could stay on target for your weekly health goal. You realize that it is time to go; you tap your Uber or Lyft app and request a ride. While chatting with the driver about her last getaway weekend, you remember that you still haven’t found the perfect beach house for your upcoming vacation. So while sitting in traffic, you tap Airbnb and start looking, comparing, booking and finally sharing with your friends the great deal you just grabbed on that highly rated condo in a premium location. Does this scenario sound familiar? The above example is nothing but a realistic depiction of today’s Networked Society brought to life through the emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT).


In the Networked Society, connectivity is the starting point for entirely new ways of innovating, collaborating and socializing. By year 2025, IoT is predicted to create 19 trillion US dollars in economic value. ‘Technology-for-good’ initiatives like Ericsson’s Connect2Learn scale up remote access to quality education, accelerated by IoT. Alongside the IoT is the Networked Society, marked by the rise of “netizen” journalism and increased focus on “network effects.” As IoT takes our social life by storm, it is high time to let it revolutionize corporate learning. Long gone are the days where learning happens exclusively in the classroom. Today’s corporate learners are expecting learning to be flexible, platform-independent, personalized, instant and laser-focused similar to their Uber ride and Airbnb experience. As the time dedicated for learning shrinks under the job demands, the need for customized training keeps increasing in a time where IoT is taking shape and impacting every aspect of our lives including learning. It is a new era for “Uberized Learning” enabled by five major components:

  1. An IoT Infrastructure: The Internet of Things (IoT) is – at its most profound levels – about creating digital representations of real-world objects. It is a phenomenon that draws on rapid developments within IT, ICT and telecommunications to spark insights and to help companies create entirely new types of services and business areas.
  2. The Network Effect: By using the internet, we are becoming increasingly interconnected with others. In Ericsson’s survey covering 24 countries, 4 out of 5 people now experience a lifestyle network effect, where an individual’s benefit from a range of online services increases as more people use them. Crowd intelligence is another example of the lifestyle network effect, with 38% considering user reviews to be better than expert reviews – and the effect increases as more people write reviews and share their views. 46% also believe technology will have a democratizing effect on education.
  1. Trust in Artificial Intelligence (AI) Enablement: 44% of survey respondents think an AI system would be good as a teacher; one third would like an AI interface to keep them company. Furthermore, a third would rather trust the fidelity of an AI interface than a human for sensitive matters. 29% agree they would feel more comfortable discussing their medical condition with an AI system.
  1. Audience of One: In an IoT environment, devices and sensors send diagnostics to collector servers. Typically, these data serve to improve a task or upsell additional services to well-positioned customers. Additionally, analytics in this context further enable user differentiation and personalized offerings. Similarly, learning shifts from being an experience with an audience of many to an audience of one.
  1. Uber Engine: Uber considers itself a technology company owning no cars and building none. Yet, its over-the-top model revolutionized transportation services by tapping into data enabled by IoT. Similarly, an uberized learning model can collect data like learner location, competence gap and learning method preference to connect the student to an approved expert in the subject who is willing to transfer knowledge. By packaging this intelligence, uberized learning delivers a new level of student-empowered, real-time, in-time learning technique.

These 5 main components work in tandem to comprise the key ingredients to a successful uberized model for learning, where trust and expertise become crowd-sourced electronic currency.

Imagine that you are back in that coffee shop, tapping your uberized learning app, looking for expert knowledge on 5G. Your app returns the following suggestions sorted either by cost, distance, user ratings, or accessibility:

1) a highly-rated MOOC related to the topic

2) profiles of currently online experts you could engage on the topic via a facetime or skype session

3) an expert who happens to be in your vicinity currently active on the app,

4) a conference on the topic in a nearby venue

5) an augmented reality app containing the requested information

6) a Virtual Reality experience kit available to buy/rent from an online vendor

In the age of wearables with constant and instant connectivity, how will you transform the way you learn and which of those suggestions would you opt for? What do you think your uberized learning experience will be like?

Dr. Manal Houri is a Technical Training Manager at Ericsson Learning Services driving the strategic learning portfolio transformation in region North America in alignment with Ericsson’s customer technical competence growth plans. As a researcher, consultant and manager, Dr. Houri has been a leader in the technical learning area for more than 10 years with focus on thought leadership and strategic innovation.

Dr. Houri holds a B.S and M.S. in Computer Science from the Lebanese American University, Beirut, Lebanon and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX.  She holds an Adjunct Faculty appointment at Southern Methodist University and is a frequent speaker at major learning conferences.

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