Effective communication for learning

Dave Pollard has a post on what communication methods are most effective. He has created a table that compares several media as to their cost, impact, value and cost/benefit. This is a good table for instructional designers to consider before creating educational media, and as Dave says, it’s open to revision.

Dave goes on at the end of this post to list his principles of human learning preferences:

  1. People like information conveyed through conversations and stories because the interactivity and detail gives them context, not just content, and does so economically.
  2. People hate talking heads, and are increasingly intolerant of them.
  3. People no longer have the opportunity for serendipitous learning and discovery — everything they read and learn is narrow, focused, bounded, and the tools they are given in their reading and research reinforce this blinkered approach to learning. The consequence is the intellectual equivalent of not eating a balanced diet — a malnourished mind.
  4. People do not know how to do research, or even search, effectively. They think these two things are the same, which they are not, and they have never been trained to do either properly. It’s a good thing the search engines are so smart, because our use of them is mostly dumb.
  5. People search as a last resort. They prefer to ask a real person for what they want to learn or discover, because it’s faster and the answer is more context-specific. And if there is a single good browsable resource on their subject of interest, readily at hand, and they have the time, they will usually prefer to browse that resource rather than looking at a bunch of disconnected, often irrelevant, search engine matches.

Continuing from my last post on Controlling Chaos?, I would suggest that these preferences show that learner behaviour indicates that better tools, like tag clouds, are needed to enable serendipitous learning (Point #3) and that better built-in search is critical for finding good learning resources (Points #4 & 5).

Dave’s principles also support the idea that we should put more effort into contextualising online learning and less on cataloguing information/learning objects (Point #1). This is similar to the  concept of Stock & Flow, because having meticulously catalogued & tagged Stock (learning objects) is of little value without the contextual Flow (conversations & stories).

6 Responses to “Effective communication for learning”

  1. Jacques

    Apprendre en contexte

    Très intéressant Harold, merci!

    Je suis (agréablement) surpris de découvrir sans cesse des gens à l’extérieur du système d’éducation «officiel» qui parlent, respirent et modèlisent une vision pédagogique fort pertinente et actuelle.  Tes billets m’en ont fait découvrir certains, incluant monsieur Jarche lui-même.  De «l’intérieur» du système, moi j’ai besoin de ça (!).

    J’aimerais commenter le point numéro 1 de David Pollard : People like information conveyed through conversations and stories because the interactivity and detail gives them context, not just content, and does so economically.  C’est un élément essentiel du modèle pédagogique que nous, au NB francophone, exploitons dans nos cours en ligne (traduction libre : student-centered/teacher-mediated) avec ce que nous appelons la «zone d’apprentissage» (élève/enseignant à distance/facilitateur local): même si nos élèves trouvent «cool» les contenus de cours en ligne, ils sont encore bien plus appréciatifs de la relation développée avec l’enseignant à distance.  Ils se parlent à tous les jours en synchrone, ils se confient, ils font des réflexions pertinentes sur les apprentissages qu’ils font ainsi que sur leur démarche (très métacognitif ça), etc.  Le/la prof partage leur passion du sujet à l’étude, ils racontent des histoires, ils écoutent, ils contextualisent.  Ou comme Jacques Tardif écrit : contextualiser, décontextualiser, recontextualiser…

    C’est une démarche essentiellement humaine, beaucoup plus que technique.  Oui, la technique est importante; connectivité d’abord, les bonnes questions après. Mais tout est dans la livraison et le climat d’apprentissage à installer.  Il faut des top guns pour cela… C’est pour cela que nos cours pour les 12e année ne sont pas «stand-alone», c’est un choix pédagogique que nous avons fait.





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