Bring concepts into the open to challenge them

by on October 31, 2012 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: Rapid Learning Insights

You’re trying to teach Joe something new: say, a collaborative decision-making process to use with his team. But Joe can’t seem to get the hang of it.
To help Joe move forward, you need to find out what “paradigm” he’s bringing to the task. For example, he might think the manager’s job is to tell people what to do.

Learning is more effective if you can get these paradigms out in the open. You might ask, “How do you usually make decisions with your team? And why do you do it that way?”

This process is known in education circles as “interactive engagement.” And a study of engineering students shows that it’s twice as effective as traditional lecture-and-problem-solving classes.

With the traditional approach, students tended to just learn the algorithms – i.e., how to solve the problems – without gaining deep understanding.

But when teachers asked students to explain the underlying concept of the problem, the process changed. The question would start a discussion that allowed learners to recalibrate their underlying assumptions.

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Source: Hake, R. (1998). Interactive engagement v. traditional methods: A 6,000 student study of mechanics test data for introductory physics courses. American Journal of Physics, p. 64.

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