I just read a great article in the latest issue of Time magazine (December 18) - How to Bring Our Schools Out of the 20th Century. There were a couple of concepts that were mentioned that I have discussed in past blog entries.
- Google Factor: Avoiding overload of extraneous information in the modern Google world. From Time's article . . . "Any number of old-school assignments--memorizing the battles of the Civil War or the periodic table of the elements--now seem faintly absurd. That kind of information, which is poorly retained unless you routinely use it, is available at a keystroke."
- Socratic Learning - Depth over Breadth: According to Time, American students are outperformed on math and science tests by students from countries such as Singapore, Belgium and Sweden. "Classes in these countries dwell on key concepts that are taught in depth and in careful sequence, as opposed to a succession of forgettable details so often served in U.S. classrooms. Textbooks and tests support this approach. "Countries from Germany to Singapore have extremely small textbooks that focus on the most powerful and generative ideas," says Roy Pea, co-director of the Stanford Center for Innovations in Learning. These might be the key theorems in math, the laws of thermodynamics in science or the relationship between supply and demand in economics." Depth rather than breadth. Students in America are gorged with huge amounts of information via overstuffed textbooks and zoom through topics and subtopics as school systems attempt to meet a variety of state standards.
Unfortunately American school systems have made a huge impact on corporate training & education. As we have all seen, a typical corporate e-learning course is overloaded with content such as pages upon pages from regulations manuals, history of products and processes, or the steps to use a function of software that the audience will use twice in the course of a year and has no chance in hell of remembering two weeks later.