I have just returned from another learning and technology conference where the people there used so many buzz words concerning the latest learning solutions that I am beginning to think madmen have taken over the field.
Here are some of my favorites with some comments:
Massification: this means that we are now dissatisfied with the idea that we can only stuff 1000 people into a classroom to hear a boring lecture, so now we want millions in a virtual classroom. Wow! A big improvement! Think of the money we can save/make.
Flipped Classrooms: since classrooms are such a good idea, we should make them in a new way that allows people to be bored by the lecture at some other time and then have a discussion about a lecture they didn’t care about (and probably didn’t watch) in the first place.
Social Construction of Knowledge: apparently we can’t know anything without discussing it on social media. Then, we know what everyone thinks about it. This is perhaps why people post pictures of what they had for lunch so they can make they sure their knowledge of what they had for lunch was correct and the lunch actually happened.
E-assessment: this is very important because if we didn’t assess everybody then how would we know that they know what we told them to know. (We don’t really care if they can do anything with all this knowledge.) We must turn all materials into quizzes as efficiently as we can so that people can pass tests and then immediately forget what was on that test knowing they will never need that stuff again. Do it online, and it is way better. I am not sure why. But I know we need to assess everything all the time and do it fast.
Learning Incentives. I hear that if you put really boring material in an animation then it becomes less boring. I hear that if you pay people to get good grades then they will learn more. I hear that if you offer people a good meal they will learn stuff whenever they are hungry.
Learning Analytics. This means that we can know how you learned, what you learned, and when you learned it. I am still trying to figure out when I learned that learning has become a moronic field. I have analyzed it but I don’t have enough data.
Blended Learning. This means we will do the crap we always did, but some of it will be online.
Nano-learning. This means that no one wants to take a course any more, which is a good thing because courses are usually quite tedious, especially when they are full of “content.” So, now people want to learn in small chunks. The next time I want someone to be my doctor I will inform him that I need to make sure that he learned to be a doctor through nano learning. We will see how well that works out.
Content. This is stuff we need to put in online courses. It is the same stuff we had in the courses that weren't online before. It is usually massive amounts of text. Why reading text on a computer is better than reading it in book is not something I can explain, but I am sure that content is king, and there must be a lot of it. We can ignore it as we always did. The idea that the computer allows you to do things rather than read things has apparently not been considered.
Learning Styles: everyone learn differently, or so I hear. So, that means there are some people who don’t learn by trying something out, figuring out what they did well and what they did wrong, and then possibly getting help from others, and then trying again. I wonder who those people are.
Collaborative Learning. This is when people learn together rather than learn in a world where only they exist. In the world that I know, where other people do exist, all real learning is collaborative, so this shouldn’t be worth mentioning. Even if you figure something out all by yourself, you will be telling someone, they will be reacting, and you will change your point of view slightly. When I said that all learning is a conversation, apparently what I meant to say is that it is collaborative. That is a very nice word.
Learning hasn’t changed. We all (including other mammals) learn in the same way, by trying things out, and hopefully getting one-on-one teaching from a parent or mentor when we are in trouble and need help. Learning has always been like that, and always will be like that. It is school that needs to change, not learning. Learning needs technology to the extent that it can transform school-based ideas into the way we always learned before there was technology and school. But, silly me, I thought that all these people who work on learning would know better than to copy school and then think they can improve learning by adding technology and cute buzz words. I was wrong.
Oh, I left out badges. We don’t need no stinkin’ badges.