Friday, November 20, 2009

designer education

The common usage of "design" has an arrogance that I'd like to avoid in education. I was reminded of this recently by Stephen Downes - my job is to facilitate learning. What the students learn is really up to them. The idea of "designing" an education implies explicit control over the process and the outcome. That just seems too structured, restrictive and authoritarian.

At its best, learning should be individualistic, serendipitous, and learner-directed. That's not to say that learning is chaotic or random. Direction and encouragement, providing great resources that are interesting and engaging, even evaluation, feedback and assessment all can be provided to support the learning. By being more open and less structured - "the guide on the side", learners are free to explore and exercise the opportunity to learn more broadly and deeply as they see fit.

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