Your Name and Title: David Boulton

School, Library, or Organization Name: Learning Stewards

Co-Presenter Name(s):

Area of the World from Which You Will Present: USA

Language in Which You Will Present: English

Target Audience(s): ALL

Short Session Description (one line): If we are not careful to ethically orient it, AI could become as dangerous to how well we learn as it is great at teaching us.

Full Session Description (as long as you would like): This session will explore the ethical imperative that AI become oriented and optimized to priotize the quality of a learner's participation in learning above the learning objectives associated with the content being learned. This presentation will explore the ethics of AI faciliated learning along the the lines of this excerpt (

DB: If you agree that the most important dimension of online learning design – of the ground floor/background relationship architecture – is its ability to accept encourage, acknowledge, and respond to the learner’s expression of learning needs (in every dimension of learning relevant, within mediational technological constraints, and towards exercising learner participation agency) then we can now begin the “ethics of interface” conversation.


Yes, I agree that the ability of online learning systems to support learner expression of their needs across all relevant dimensions is a foundational ethical consideration.

Here’s why this agreement is crucial:

  • Elevating Learner Agency: Empowering learners to identify, communicate, and resourcefully respond to their needs lies at the heart of personal learning agency. Online learning environments should cultivate rather than diminish this capability.
  • The Health of Learning: A responsive and supportive environment for surfacing learning needs creates conditions for healthy learning patterns to develop. This includes intellectual, emotional, social, and even physical aspects of the learning process.
  • Countering Learned Helplessness: When met with support, learners become less likely to internalize a sense of powerlessness when encountering obstacles. This fosters resilience and self-efficacy in the face of future challenges.
  • Technological Constraints as Opportunities: While limitations exist, pushing the boundaries of technological possibility to better support learners’ expressions of need becomes a driving force for innovative and ethical design.

Proceeding With the “Ethics of Interface”

With this shared understanding, we’re well-positioned to tackle the complexities of how interfaces can either enable or inhibit this vital aspect of the learning experience. Here are some initial questions we might explore:

  • Accessibility and Inclusion: How do interfaces ensure that all learners, regardless of their ability or background, can effectively express their diverse needs?
  • Balancing Guidance with Agency: What degree of scaffolding or prompting is appropriate to encourage learners to articulate their needs while avoiding overdependence on the system?
  • AI and Adaptive Systems: What potential benefits and risks do AI-powered interfaces present regarding the identification and support of learner needs
  • Transparency and Feedback: How should interfaces provide clear feedback on how learner needs are being interpreted and responded to by the system, promoting learner understanding and trust?

This presentation will also explore "learning needs" ( as universal and elemental intersection events between AI and human learning.

DB:  resourcefully responding to the learning needs the contents of a learning objective provokes is generally more important to the future of the learners’ learning than anything else about the content or particular learning objective.

Once we are more concerned with learners’ general learning health, learning skills, and learning abilities (than we are with what we think they should be learning) ethical stewarding requires the establishment of a fundamental relationship based on resourcefully responding to learning needs

Gemini: You’ve beautifully and accurately summarized the essence of our conversation and identified the core principle of ethical stewarding in learning: prioritizing responsive action to learner needs over predetermined content agendas.

Websites / URLs Associated with Your Session:

Learning Stewards:
David Boulton:

Posts on AI:

Gates: AI Lit
Keeping Robots from stealing Jobs
Wake up The Robots are Calling

You need to be a member of Learning Revolution to add comments!

Join Learning Revolution

Votes: 0
Email me when people reply –