I think I’ve gotten infected. I’ve always been a fan of the constructivist philosophy (and I’m taking a broad interpretation here, meaning learners actively engaged in guided activities to faciliate developing their own understanding), but more in theory than practice. I’d felt that in the constraints of higher education and industry, where timing is critical, overt constructivism was a luxury for K12.
Last fall, Bobbi Kamil (of Cable in the Classroom fame) suggested to me to, effectively, ‘have faith’, and I recalled that while I’d struggled with the uncertainty my learners had in my project-based assignments (way back when I was teaching at UNSW), at the end they seemed to ‘get it’ better than I’d expected given their struggles.
It was reinforced during my recent attendance at NASAGA’s annual conference last fall, which despite the name (Simulation and Gaming Association) really focuses (at least at the conference) on creating lively learning interactions. Again, at Training 2006, I listened to Meier, one of the gurus of ‘accelerated learning’, and it was all about active learning (ignoring other elements I’d heard of including music, ritual, etc).
And now I’m beginning to thinking differently when I design learning. It’s part and parcel of my approach to game design, but getting mapped out to face to face interactions also (probably the reverse of most folks). As with game design, I suspect it’s a ‘habit of mind’. I’m interested in seeing what effect it has on my own forthcoming workshops!
On principle I want to push it since just as we find it easy to drop down to knowledge presentation in so much of what we do (I’ve just been reviewing some elearning), we also tend to present rather than support discovery. I’ll encourage you to do the same, and let me know what barriers you perceive.