Friday, April 17, 2009

education vs training

One of the topics of interest in the WikiEducator Teacher Collaboration discussions has been teaching vs. training. While the definitions and distinctions have been interesting they come up short. But what about the learner?

Several years ago we worked on defining a faculty development program called Technology Enhanced Instruction. There was considerable interest in the program at the time. It was recently revived and updated as Technology Supported Learning. Same content, new name to reflect five years progress in our understanding that it isn't about "us" the instructors. It's about "them" or rather about "all of us" - the learners. Sadly, there hasn't been any where near the interest in the workshops this time around.

Even as we talk about Flexible Learning, it is easy to focus on the "push" - content delivery, whereas the really important considerations and hard problems are on the "pull" side - everything to do with learners and learning.

One of the participants in the WikiEducator discussion provided a link to Education vs. Training by Dr. Woodie Flowers of MIT. I have had the great good fortune to have been involved in the FIRST Robotics program as a parent and volunteer. Woodie is an icon at FIRST - everything that is important in promoting flexible learning. Most grown-ups in the audience don't realize what is going on - learners are empowered, working harder than they ever have before and they are having a wonderful time. The results are amazing. This program was life-changing for both of my kids. This is education and flexible learning at their very best.

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