Working Examples

James Paul Gee, Website, Jul 19, 2011
Commentary by Stephen Downes

This is an idea that combines two well-known bits of educational design: reusable learning resources, and worked examples. I think they blend really well together, and not sure exactly how such a model will play out, but think it could be a really good sort of thing to add to open courses. The idea of a 'worked example' is to take a problem in a domain where there might not be and set response - typically worked examples are used in disciplines like logic or mathematics to show how a problem is solved by an expert. But more, the intent of a worked example is to model the thinking process behind the solution. Here's a sample project - take not of the way there's a development process that helps teams of people collaborate on the examples. And here's the community that has developed around the idea thus far.

James Gee writes, "The WEP proposes to have people show examples of how some aspect (big or small) of their ideas, theories, claims, or hypotheses work in terms that people beyond their own disciplines or domains can understand, assess, and appreciate. These examples are 'worked' in the sense that they are accessibly explicated in terms of how the author thinks about them, how the author sees them fitting into his or her area of expertise, and how the author thinks they might contribute to an emerging interdisciplinary field or collaboration."
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