Education & Disruption: How Startups Can Help Universities

How An Online University And A Startup Create Innovation In Education

PocketConfidant AI and California Intercontinental University join forces in a unique partnership to think about how to build the future of digital Education, boost student engagement and achievement.

In this article, we would like to share a common perspective that the most appropriate learning environment is the one we come to by choice, motivates us to add to our knowledge and understanding of specific subjects and global opportunities, supports us to thrive and ignites our passion for learning; a requirement for us all as our futures compel us to consider ourselves as lifelong learners.

“The trick is to adopt a ‘Psychology of Yes’ toward inquisitive learning. Too often we fall into implicitly or explicitly saying ‘No’ to ourselves when we have questions or want to learn something, e.g. the library is not open, too far way, I don’t have the books, etc. Online learning and now on-demand artificial intelligence give us freedom to say ‘Yes’ to our questions and ‘Yes’ to our learning. It’s a process of internal persuasion that we have the power and the means to advance our knowledge and self-knowledge. I have a question, I can immediately look something up on the internet or take a class anytime anywhere, ‘Yes’. I have a problem, I can immediately work with digital assistance such as PocketConfidant to become more aware of the situation and solution. ‘Yes’. It’s simple to say ‘Yes’ to lifelong learning.” Dr. Leslie Gargiulo, CEO of CIU.

The concept of lifelong learning is today a pre-requisite for employability and wellbeing. As stated in UNESCO’s World Education Forum 2015 strategy, “Every person, at every stage of their life should have lifelong learning opportunities to acquire the knowledge and skills they need to fulfill their aspirations and contribute to their societies.”

Learning is now happening in many more disparate situations and environments than ever before. Brick and mortar buildings, online courses, internships, mentorships, short interval sprints, long-term learning modules… We have access to so many high-quality education resources, the challenge is choice. Education is experiencing massive digitalization and flexibility with Edtech solutions such as Coursera, EdX, Khan Academy, and the learning models CIU is developing for their worldwide student population.

Rand Hindi – Entrepreneur and Data Scientist, Founder at – provides interesting thoughts in his article on Artificial Intelligence: “We must rethink the education system in the age of AI.” […] “Instead of being stuck in a career based on what we studied many years ago, we will study continuously throughout our lives and change jobs as easily as we move houses.”

CIU and PocketConfidant AI teams are working on a new way to facilitate learning to support students to find and design their own path, feel engaged and integrate their courses in an easier, more holistic way, using embedded coaching conversations that foster personal alignment, motivation and emotional intelligence.

As a result of this explosion of possibility, work-spaces and learning-spaces are becoming more mobile, more agile, more personal and adapted to the reality of today’s world. There are no longer ‘rules’ as to where learning takes place. Learners can be engaged in many different milieus, what is however required, is the ability to humanize the process to help learners thrive, and as Dr. Gargiulo insists, “say Yes to our inquisitive learning process anytime anywhere.”

How PocketConfidant AI Innovates In The Workplace

As these conversations are taking place in education, PocketConfidant AI and Orange Telecom are discussing similar topics for the workplace, such as Engagement, Productivity and New Workspaces. Here is our thinking on the components that can impact and foster engagement and productivity in a group or an organization.

When and where are you most engaged? What is more compelling than a private and intentional conversation that involves your personal motivation? (A project you care about, a person you don’t understand, a vision that motivates you, a relationship you believe in, a conviction you hold etc.) It seems the first place we go to when considering any question or context is our “inner space”, our mental, emotional and physiological space. If we want to create spaces that “work”, don’t we need to make sure that our inner space is first aligned to what’s happening outside? In our city, society, work, office, lab, club, community, family, home etc.

As Michael Schrage, MIT Fellow and Researcher, says: “Over the past 20 years, my design research emphasis has radically flipped from How can people create more valuable innovation? to How can innovation create more valuable people?” “In essence, the more creatively, comprehensively, and innovatively we digitize our “selves,” the greater the opportunities we have for helping people define, design, and develop the optimal traits and attributes they desire.” “The premise is that digital technology can drive greater self-awareness and self-assessment about how individuals create and contribute to enterprise value. The design focus shifts from digital assistants to digital assistance. Think of an AI that stands for Augmented Introspection as well as Artificial Intelligence.”

Technology can help humans create the space and time that facilitates engagement by leveraging a capability we all have in common: language. Language is a core human capacity that we use to express our thoughts, ideas and problems, but it is also a complex system that we both consciously and unconsciously use to motivate, empower or limit ourselves. Today, the digital world that we live in engages us in hourly communications where our phones, computers, connected furniture and tools, as well as many other devices have become our new workspaces. This means we carry our workspace with us everywhere we go and all-day long. These work spaces, living spaces and social spaces are extended many times when connected on the internet. So, how do we align our inner-workspace with the outer-workspace? How can we use our communication capabilities to remain motivated and productive? And how do we make sure our communication devices don’t decrease our motivation and creativity?

Have you ever thought about a smart personal assistant that is trained to help you create the space and time for your thinking and activities, adapting to your emotional states, creativity, communication and your deepest aspirations?

What if the first “workspace” to develop is our communication with ourselves and our conversations with others?

To share your thoughts or suggest an idea, engage in the conversation and contribute to our common learning, please contact us. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Medium and Quora.