Wireless technologies have not only changed the way we work and live but also how we socially interact (Walker, 2017). Is it possible to substitute real social relationships with technological ones? Harlow’s research found that monkeys need their parents for survival not only from a nurturer perspective. However, the experiments also showed that a surrogate ‘machine-mother’ could, albeit not ideally, provide sufficient love for survival (Vicedo, 2009). Research examining the link between the Internet and offline social contacts remains conflicting, indicates a tendency towards Internet use having a reinforcing effect on antecedent propensities for interaction or isolation (Walker, 2017).
The ability to memorize the structure of interlinked digital information depends on the reader’s visuospatialability (Rouet, Voros, & Pleh, 2012). Indeed, spatial thinking is a key factor for individuals’ scientific performance, and it seems to be possible to develop this capacity through training (Uttal, Miller, & Newcombe, 2013). So-called embodied cognition suggests the benefit of adding motoric (not only visual) feedback to verbal explanations in learning (Yun, Allen, Chaumpanich, & Xiao, 2014). This is in line with the transient learning theory that states that visual information gets “overwritten” by subsequent animated presentations; a fact that should be considered when designing educational technology (Wong, Leahy, Marcus, & Sweller, 2012).
Cybernetics stands for a scientific field about systems whose behavior is influenced by internal and external feedback. It is such continuous feedback that builds the basis for intelligence (Bendele, 2016). Do respectively can human-technology interactions provide such necessary feedback? The cognitive connectionist architecture approach refers to parallel mental processing that is, for example, embracing the concept of artificial neural networks (ANN). ANN poses that information does not lie in neural nodes, but rather in the connections between them (Bendele, 2016). We don’t need to use our long-term memory anymore thanks (or due) to ubiquitous digital information. It would be interesting to study further how theoretically fewer neural nodes would translate into a likewise reduced number of informative neural connections (such research may exist, but was not identified in the context of this limited focus article).
Online learning approaches seem to adapt according to the awareness for improved feedback, why concepts like Intelligent Tutoring Systems (ITSs), Expert Systems, and Case-based Reasoning Systems are used to design feedback-reliant intelligence generation (Bendele, 2016). In that regard, the involvement of emotion in the learning and motivation processes is vital for promoting effective traditional and online technology mediated learning (Chai, Hafeez, Mohamad, & Aamir, 2017). Already Aristotle claimed the importance of emotional communication and combined progress in computer sciences, and psychology is developing emotion sensitive systems from perceptional, interpretational, and expressional perspective (Robinson, 2009). Arguing that we’ll probably never fully understand the human mind, machines will never have a real human emotional capacity. Therefore, blended approaches to social interactions in general and education and learning in specific may balance advantages and risks best and allow for maximum learning success (Conradty& Bogner, 2016).
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