If You Really Want To Learn Something, Intend To Teach It

Not content to take traditional folk wisdom at face value, upstart researchers from Washington University, St. Louis, the University of California, Los Angeles, and Williams College in Williamstown, MA, have challenged the old saw, “If you really want to learn something, teach it.” Their study employed a couple of reading and recall experiments given to […]

Getting Out Of The Way In The Classroom

MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) and Inverted (or Flipped) Classrooms have been attracting a lot of attention in education and training circles, but two recent experiments performed far from the rarified heights of North American campuses and training centers, are causing many to stop and reassess what it means to learn and, more importantly, what […]

The Curvilinear Classroom – Is Linearity Optional?

AllThingsD Early Adopters ran a quote in their Voices section from an article at PCPro that reads like a page right out of Marshall McLuhan. Echoing McLuhan’s return of acoustic space and the role of the mosaic in everyday life, Dr Rosie Flewitt of the Open University comments on how the modern learner might be shifting from […]

At a Loss for Words – The Future of the Lecture Might Be in Less Talk

A recent study from researchers Louis Deslauriers, Ellen Schelew and Nobel Laureate Carl Wieman suggests that the Methuselah of instructional technologies, the venerable broadcast lecture, might finally be showing signs of going the way of geocentricity and the four humors. Applying methods taken from the theory of “deliberate practice” by psychologist Anders Ericsson, the research […]

Learning from the Khan Academy

At first glance Salman Khan appears a most unlikely revolutionary. Although well educated (note: he is neither an educator nor a psychologist) he has nonetheless, and from most accounts, single-handedly ignited a revolution in teaching that any “real” educator, government administrator or instructional designer would be proud to lay claim to. What started as simple […]

Boning Up on Online Instruction

Although online instruction has grown to be far from a fad, I’ve noticed something peculiar about it. Online courses are nobody’s favorite. Well, that might be going too far. They are clearly among the favorites of administrators and managers hoping to distribute “virtual classroom environments” far and wide without the encumbrances of airplanes, hotels and […]

Teaching Math – Abstract (Not Concrete) Understanding Adds Up

What’s the best way to teach math? It’s a big question, but research at Ohio State University’s Center for Cognitive Science challenges a commonly held (though perhaps informal) notion in instructional design that concrete examples aid the learning and application of mathematics more than abstract proofs and representations. The idea that mastery of abstract quantities […]

Do We Really Know How to Teach This Stuff?

I can’t say whether the only course I’ve taken in programming was taught well. This is partially the case because it was so long ago and looking back on it it’s doubtful that anyone had an idea about how to teach such a new subject. It seems in retrospect that the professors and graduate students […]

Pygmalion Meets the Training Manager

Measured “return on investment” and “training effectiveness” are two of the business metrics commonly used to yoke trainers and developers in business and government training centers around the globe. “Is the training effective?” and “Is it worth the cost?” are standard queries at development meetings and design reviews. Knowledgeable designers and managers invoke Bloom, Kirkpatrick […]

Teaching Naked – ‘First, We Kill All the PowerPoint’

Dean José Bowen of Southern Methodist University is not only advocating an outrageous pedagogical overhaul that many see as dangerous and ill-conceived, he is in the throes of implementing it as well. His professors at the Meadows School of the Arts are now required to teach primarily without computers or, more precisely, without PowerPoint slides. […]