This week, #change11 is being hosted by Jan Herrington (who I had the pleasure of meeting in West Australia many years ago; highly recommended). She’s talking about authentic learning, and has a nice matrix separating task type and setting to help characterize her approach. It’s an important component of making our learning more effective. On the way home from my evening yesterday, I wrote up some notes about a learning event I attended, that seem to be perfectly appropriate in this context:
I had the pleasure of viewing some project presentations from Hult Business School, courtesy of Jeff Saperstein. It’s an interesting program; very international, and somewhat non-traditional.
In this situation, the students had been given a project by a major international firm to develop recommendations for their social business. I saw five of the teams present, and it was fascinating. I found out that they balanced the teams for diversity (students were very clearly from around the world including Europe, Asia, and Latin America), and they got some support in working together as well.
Overall, the presentations were quite well done. Despite some small variation in quality and one very unique approach to the problem, I was impressed with the coherence of the presentations and the solidity of the outcomes. Some were very clearly uniquely innovative new ideas that would benefit the firm.
The process was good too; the firm had organized a visit to their local (world class) research center, and were available (through a limited process) for questions. A representative of the firm heard the presentations (through Skype!) and provided live feedback. He was very good, citing all the positives and asking a few questions.
Admittedly they had some lack of experience, but when I think how I would’ve been able to perform at that age, I really recognized the quality of the outcome.
This sort of grounded practice in addressing real questions in a structured manner is a great pedagogy. The students worked together on projects that were meaningful to them both in being real and being interesting, and received meaningful feedback. You get valuable conceptual processing and meta-skills as well. The faculty told me afterward that many of these students had worked only in their home company prior to this, but after this diverse experience, they were truly globally-ready.
How are you providing meaningful learning experiences?