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I-L-X: A TO Z

Interactive Learning eXperiences: the backstage capabilities in 26 words


John Beck - Friday, December 15, 2017

Complexity: students learn “success” is getting multiple-choice questions right … no wonder graduates are stunned by the intricacy of real life

Simplicity is a virtue, but the world is complex. Education is all about “rules of thumb” and elegant models of relationships; but if students cannot apply those in real life—with all its messiness—then the simple teachings are probably less than helpful. I have taught for years in business schools where case studies and simulations were designed to “teach” a simple truth. Students know this. They get easy, good grades because the answe .. More...

John Beck - Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Development-based: redo levels or episodes as often as necessary to master the material

The point of education built around knowledge-acquisition (which is what almost ALL of our educational is designed to do) should be “getting knowledge.” That sounds like a tautology – and it is. But it needs to be stated loudly and clearly. Currently, too much of the system is about assessing short-term memorization within a specified time limit. That is not knowledge—that is test-taking. Let me illustrate what education should REALLY be with a stor .. More...

John Beck - Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Editable: Students cheat – those that do not, worry that others will; ergo, any assessment tool must be quickly and easily mutable

Ten years ago, a group of us tried to develop what has now become Interactive Learning eXperiences (I-L-X). It didn’t work. One big reason for the failure was that we could not figure out a way to discourage students from “gaming” the game. Now we have. In most courses, evaluations are exam-based because professors can pretty easily change questions (on the same concepts) from semester to semester. Evaluations based on projects or other student  .. More...

John Beck - Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Foundational: schools are all about memorization of concepts; success in life is about the application of mental models

Somehow, during the time I’ve been a professor, higher education slipped into being all about concepts. I remember a time when syllabi were built around topics. Some of those topics were what we call concepts today, but others were topics about actually being able to do things. Now courses in professional schools have been pushed by accreditation reviews to be so concept-laden that the practical application of those theories is often completely lost. And executives who hire graduates .. More...

John Beck - Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Grounded: we cannot effectively get children into adulthood until we get the ivory tower out of higher education

Education lacks reality. This is not a profound insight – for more than a century the phrase “ivory tower” has denoted a place or people with no real grasp on reality. And while the original “ivory towers” had nothing to do with universities, our institutions of higher learning quickly became the biggest and best examples of such fool’s paradises. The “what to do about that fact” is a harder nut to crack. In my face-to-face co .. More...

John Beck - Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Hypothesis-driven: good strategists develop hypotheses, then test them to see if those chosen strategies can be successful; do you?

After meeting with the Prime Minister, my consulting team gathered in the hotel pool (with drinks) to discuss how we should create a strategy for a nation. This was not the first time we had done this. Everyone on the team suggested a strategy that they believed would work: these ranged from an emphasis on a particular agricultural product, to textiles, to tourism, to a regional transportation hub, to creating a “world national park.” For the next months, we wo .. More...

John Beck - Saturday, October 14, 2017

Individual: I confess that I have given passing grades to hundreds of students who did not deserve it

As I was already in a career in business while I was starting my teaching career, I knew that management had very little to do with passing tests on theoretical knowledge. It has everything to do with working with other people to make decisions (using theoretical knowledge, if that helped) and implement effectively. Long before there was even a term for it, I started using a flipped classroom. Students did all of preparation of a case study in advance, then in class, groups  .. More...

John Beck - Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Judicial: education is feedback; student decisions must be constantly critiqued, not just “scored”

University instructors don’t give feedback. Sure, a grade is given, but real criticism—the kind designed to change behavior during a teacher’s tenure with a student—has an incidence asymptotically approaching zero in most universities. When I started teaching thirty years, I was told by a slightly more experienced professor that the ways to get good teacher evaluations from students (which are always conducted before students receive their final gra .. More...

John Beck - Saturday, October 07, 2017

Kinetic: to engage students keep plot, place, and people are constantly on the move – our brains learn and retain more in unfamiliar setting

When most of us think of video-games, we think of powerful lifelike graphics and expensive sound engineering. But Interactive Learning eXperiences do not require these. To learn, you really don’t need them – in fact to get education to those who need it most, these elements of video gaming have to be left out – they require expensive machines and serious bandwidth. And the audio and visual complexity can be a drain on mental processes—taking attention from the learnin .. More...

John Beck - Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Logical: many top graduates do not know how to make a coherent, consistent argument and defend it – but even in the Attention Economy, it must be taught

Over thirty years of teaching, I have seen a gradual decline in graduates’ abilities to develop clear compelling, consistent arguments. I have seen hints of this in in-class discussions where students seem confused if I suggest that one part of their argument does not fit with another, but even more powerfully when they are asked to write anything. Americans receive a lot of our training in critical thinking in secondary-education English courses where we learn about th .. More...