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Interactive Learning eXperiences: the backstage capabilities in 26 words

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 of students were expected to make detailed proposals on how to solve the case study problem; other teams then were asked to give rebuttals to the initial proposal.  A discussion ensued. All the teams had a stake in it.  Of course, I did give quizzes and required some individual writing assignments, but these were a very small part of the final grade.

What I designed was a great way to teach business. It was an awful way to “certify” individual capabilities.

I estimate that only 15 to 20% of the grades I’ve given were actually correct.  If I gave an “A” to a team, all I really knew was that one person on that team understood strategy at a level that I thought deserved that grade.  The other four or five students on the team had not proven that they knew a damn thing.

One of the reasons we designed Interactive Learning eXperiences to be played by individual students – not as teams – is exactly because of this problem of individual responsibility and competence.  All that is ever assessed at an individual level in any field of higher education is knowledge and test-taking ability; it is almost impossible to test “behavior” in a classroom.   I-L-Xs mimic real (but, mercifully, rare) business assignments pretty closely.  They are designed to test both knowledge and behavior. We believe we can teach and assess individuals much more with I-L-X than could ever happen in a traditional classroom… and we’re proud of it.