Clark Quinn's Learnings about Learning
(The Official Quinnovation blog)

22 August 2007

How to solve problems, and learn to…

Clark @ 6:25 AM

I’m unduly proud of having now served on two eLearning Guild research reports – ILS (read: games) and mobile. I’ll argue that it’s due to my approach rather than genius (I know too many people that are way smarter than me), and of course from having great mentors. It’s believe it’s because I try to have a conceptual understanding of many models as tools to think and solve problems, both frameworks and approach. My PhD advisor’s focus (at the time) was on applied cognition, and that’s what I try to bring to bear. It necessarily includes an understanding of how our brains work, how to be systematic in examining problems and trialing solutions, organizations, and quite a bit of background in technology.

I’d started drafting this post and then read Jay Cross’ comments on lots of models, loosely joined, rather than one overarching approach. Exactly!

I want to suggest that these are great curriculum goals as well. Understanding the societal context, including economics and business, understanding technology systems, and how people think and interact, are critical components of an ability to meet the coming needs. Also having systematic processes of information gathering, design/problem-solving, and execution, driven again by a conceptual understanding of where and how they work (so you can adapt them to the situation) is a component.

Of course, your pedagogy has to have you working on complex problems and pulling models in to solve them, so you have practice and can meta-reflect as well. We’ve the knowledge, and the technology, now if only we had the political will. I’m afraid it won’t be done tinkering around the edges of No Child Left Behind, but throwing out the whole thing except the notion that we might want to assess learning, and starting again. I suspect the end result will be annotated portfolios, with profiles of performance, not ‘scores’. But I’ll leave that to the people who solve this particular problem.

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