Nothing irritates me more than an all-text blog post touting about the benefits of imagery in learning!! Hypocrisy much???
I just ran across this quote while reading Learning with ‘e’s: Communities, spaces and pedagogies for the digital age and loved it so I had to post it here.
All learning begins when our comfortable ideas turn out to be inadequate. ~John Dewey
I’m entranced and intrigued by this presentation by Jay Cross. I really like his idea of dropping the names of “Training” and “Learning” and replacing it with “Working smarter.” I can’t do this justice, it’s long but well worth it.
I was really intrigued by a post on The Learning Circuits blog regarding information snacking. The basic premise is:
People seem to be spending less time going through information in depth and less willing to spend time on information. We seem to be snacking on information, not consuming it in big chunks.
So the post posed a few questions and I’d like to give my take on each one.
- Has there really been a shift? Are people changing their information consumption? Are they really snacking more?
I’m not sure if the question is whether people have changed or if the ability to get the information in the bite-sized pieces has increased. Fundamentally, I think people have always wanted the quick answer but were unable to just have the information so readily handed to them. It was required to read through manuals or attend conferences or read research papers to get the information they were looking for. Now, with the wealth of information that can be found quickly and easily online, people no longer HAVE to look deeper. And I’m not sure that is a bad thing.
People are now able to work more efficiently by finding their quick answers and getting on with the task at hand. So what if they don’t know the story behind the information. If that is something they feel they need to know then they can go find that information too.
- Do we need to think about instruction differently? Is it a matter of better design so that people are engaged beyond a snack?
Yes, (make that a big, resounding yes) we need to think about instruction differently. And I think the second question is the problem. People will only learn if they are interested in the topic. By trying to make people interested in something they aren’t currently interested in, aren’t we taking the responsibility of learning off the learner? Why do we feel the need to force extra information onto someone who doesn’t need it?
Now, I’m not saying, “Don’t provide extra information.” Provide all the information. Disclose everything you know about the subject but form it in a way that people can get the base idea (the quick fix) and then, if they feel compelled and interested, they can look farther.
In short, take the pressure off the instructor and put it on the student. (Side note, I’m talking about adult learning here. Children aren’t really attuned to knowing what it is they NEED to learn for the most part and wouldn’t be able to comply very well with this model.)
- Is this a problem? I feel like it’s harder to get a deep conversation going, especially in a twitter world. But maybe that’s me. How can we effectively work and learn in an information snacking world?
Snacking is not a problem. Just like when dealing with food and hunger…are you going to sit down to a 5 course meal every time you are hungry? No way! That is just ridiculous. So why are we expecting people to sit down for hours worth of training every time they need to learn something?
I have not sat through hours of training in years (lucky me) and I’m functioning VERY well. I am learning new things every day because I snack CONSTANTLY. And the funny thing is, one snack often leads to another and to another and to another and usually each snack is something I can put to use right away rather than information that just sits around for me to forget.
I have been struck yet again by the thoughts of Sir Ken Robinson. This guy is absolutely brilliant! The new video I watched today is below. It’s long but WONDERFUL! I highly recommend taking the time to watch it.
Now, I really don’t see where this has so much to do with Instructional Design in the sense that I work with it. But as a parent, this really struck a chord. I was lucky enough with my son (first born) to not run into much of a problem in school. He is a fairly well-rounded child who loves to learn just about anything put in front of him. Other than an attention problem, he is the public school system’s perfect child.
My daughter is not the same. She is a good kid and everyone tends to tell me how sweet she is but she has no desire to learn to read or count or write. Mind you, this isn’t because she isn’t smart enough to; it is because, since the age of 2, she has decided that she will do everything on HER time schedule. She can read, when she feels like it. She can count by 5’s like a pro but by 2’s only every other day. Basically, she is having a very hard time in school because they haven’t yet broken her will (she’s in 1st grade) and she still believes she will do it when SHE feels like doing it.
However, she loves babies, children, socializing, and animals. I have no problems getting her to read if I tell her she needs to read her babies a story. If there was some way the school system could take advantage of this fact, my world would be a better place. And I have a good feeling I’m not alone.
Revolutionize schools to teach to kids’ elements (as Sir Ken Robinson calls them). This world needs a variety of people in it, there is no reason everyone needs to learn exactly the same things in school at the same age. Yes, everyone needs to be able to read to a certain level and usually need to know some math and science but why in the world do we force it upon everyone in the same way at the same age as if they were all being trained for the same job?
I wish I knew a way to change the schools to better fit the students rather than trying to fit the students to the schools. Life would be so much more enjoyable for everyone.
After reading “Are We Thinking Differently” I think I know why I’m so stuck. I’m so upset with the way things are that I hunger to change the things and people around me but I don’t know how. I do not have the slightest idea where to start. This isn’t only in regards to my job but that is definitely one of the areas that need changing. I feel unprepared or at least ill-prepared to do the things that really NEED to be done. So I do what little I can think of and feel like a failure and dig myself deeper into this rut.
Maybe this is typical for someone new to the field (or to any field for that matter). Maybe this is part of the post-graduate experience. I don’t know, but I don’t like it and I hope I can find a way out of it soon.