e-Learning: Re-Thinking Education

Hier ein Video der Weltbank von 2007 zum Thema e-Learning. Teilnehmer Harry Patrinos
und Robert Schank.

Hier die Beschreibung:
The event “e-Learning: Re-Thinking Education”, which took place at the World Bank headquarters in Washington D.C. on November 8th featured Robert Schank, Founder of the Institute of e-Learning and Professor at Northwestern University. Harry Patrinos, Lead Education Economist at the World Bank introduced the speaker and chaired the event.
Schank started by stating that he is challenging basic beliefs about education, and acknowledged that his views on the subject are radical. He criticized the current educational system by stating that it was not developed with students in mind. Rather, it is controlled by governments and universities. The current system, he said, was established by Harvard University in 1982 to prepare students for that institution by teaching the same subjects taught there. And while the country, under this system, does succeed at producing intellectuals, there is still a 50 percent drop-out rate in urban schools. This is a system, Schank explained, where there is too much lecturing and too little application of the skills learned. Lecturing, he said, suppresses the students’ own thoughts and reactions to the material learned. Students most often forget all the material they learn after they are tested, with the exception of that which they apply in their every day lives. It is a system that persists, Schank stated, because of economic reasons and resistance to change by universities.

Schank went on to explain why this style of learning, and the current school system, is so flawed. Practice, he said, is everything in learning. He pointed out that evidence suggests that the mind has not changed much over the last 100,000 years, and that humans have been using language for at least that long. However, consciousness may be a relevantly recent phenomenon in human history. If this is recent, he asked, is learning then a conscious process? Schank pointed out that the knowledge that truly matters is that which is used daily at a job, or in day to day life, and which one may not be able to articulate. This is unconscious knowledge. Schank stated that while most necessary learning is absorbed unconsciously, teaching is still taught consciously. He also pointed out that the problem with reading is that it tells the same story regardless of the person who is doing it. Finally, he criticized the idea of teaching students what they don’t want to know, rather than personalizing the curriculum.

Schank then explained the role e-Learning can potentially play in changing education as we know it today. Current e-Learning he says, aims to copy schools by a more efficient delivery our current conception of education. However, Information Technology, Schank said, allows us to create a new model of education that resembles the ancient model. In this model teachers can teach as needed, students pursue goals they want to pursue, learning is just in time, practice is key, students learn by doing, and they are tested by performance and not competence. The computer changes the nature of where we can find the expertise, since learning can be mediated my mentors that are anywhere in the world. It is not impossible to imagine, Schank stated, a multitude of mentors spread around the world who could teach a multitude of different subjects—something that is not possible in schools. Computer and team learning can also replicate work in the real world. Here, a student can ask help from the teacher, the online mentor, the fellow students (who are not competing, but collaborating with the work), use books, or use the web. In the question and answer session, audience members asked about how to deal with those who claim that practical based training does not constitute education, the role of the teacher in his proposed system, and how students may have difficulties adapting to society after they have graduated.

Und hier das Video: e-Learning: Re-Thinking Education

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