January 24, 2019 2 min read
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.
January 23, 2019 2 min read
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.
January 22, 2019 2 min read
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.
January 21, 2019 2 min read
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.
January 20, 2019 1 min read
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.
January 19, 2019 1 min read
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.
January 18, 2019 2 min read
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.
January 17, 2019 2 min read
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.
January 16, 2019 1 min read
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 learning objectives.
January 15, 2019 3 min read
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.
January 14, 2019 2 min read
I know I should not admit this, but I have wanted to slap a lot of my students up-side-the-head during my teaching career. There have been many catalysts for this desire, but a common one is a student opining thusly: “Well, if you want to get X done, you just have to walk into the CXO’s office and say ….”
January 13, 2019 1 min read
Think about the teachers who had the biggest influence on you. I’d bet almost anything that those teachers really cared about you – and somehow, they communicated that to you.