Education isn't only about informing students, it's about convincing them to care and motivating them to action. But how best to do that? This article reporting on the results of a contest might offer some insight. The idea was to create and test the most compelling argument convincing a person to donate to charity. The author hypothesized that emotional appeals, rather than dry philosophical arguments based on good and duty, would carry the day. The winning argument was submitted by Peter Singer and Matthew Lindauer; you can read it in the article, as well as four other finalists. The hypothesis remains unproven, if only (in my view) because it's hard to separate the emotional from the dry components of an argument.
This post summarizes forthcoming research on working and learning in Europe, suggesting that there is a correlation between remote working and remote learning. I've seen the same trend reported elsewhere, and it makes sense, because if you're already working from home, it suddenly becomes a lot easier to learn from home. But it's not all gravy. "There is still a long way to go as only 8% of EU citizens followed an online course in 2019. More research is needed to develop the right policies to ensure that EU workers can reap the full benefits of distance working and learning, particularly given the inevitable loss in organisational informal learning and innovation – the most prominent channel of continuing learning – that is expected to follow the distancing of workers from physical workplaces.
Phil Barker reports, "back in May some new properties developed by LRMI were added to schema.org that simplify and expand how schema.org can be used to describe learning resources and educational events. The new properties are:
This is part of a general trend toward defining resources in terms of competencies rather than in terms of traditional subjects or grades. Barker offers a longer description, with examples, of the new properties.
Contra Tony Bates, I've been thinking more and more recently that teaching is far from the most important thing a university could be doing, and that if they want to survive, they should reoriente themselves toward their research and knowledge centered functions. As Angie Hobbs says in this article, "the majority of modern universities should be civic institutions that engage with, learn from, and enhance the well-being of their local communities. Universities can do this by conducting research in collaboration with local business and manufacturing, supporting apprenticeship programs; co-sponsoring public debates and cultural events..." Actual teaching and learning, meanwhile, should be supported through a free and publicly accessible system of resources, learning activities, and civic enmgagements.
"Imagine waking up one morning and finding out that you are no longer useful," says John Danaher. How would you feel? Probably not very happy. But in this paper (33 page PDF) Danaher argues that "technologically-induced human obsolescence can be welcomed if we can build a culture that embraces its advantages." What this means is redefinining what we mean by value and meaning in people. "Not all external demands and standards are true sources of value and meaning, and hence not all competitions to meet those demands are worthy of respect... a culture in which humans are not expected or encouraged or demanded to meet certain external standards, nor valued primarily for their ability to contribute economically or otherwise to society, but are instead freed from the yoke of external standards – might be the best way to cope with rapid technologically- induced change."
One of the advantages of the current environment, argues Ewan McIntosh, is that we didn't have time for a long bout of pre-planning before we put solutions into actions. To be sure, what was developed was by no means perfect, but it did give everyone some experience in what was possible with online learning, and hence good grounds to begin iterating toward better design. There's a lesson to be learned in this, he says. "Creating a product or service using a first-best-guess approach to solve a perceived (or known) problem and then using it to engage the user groups in feedforward as the mechanism to discover their needs, might lead to better solutions — faster." Quite so.
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