Myth #3: Learning is linear
“Teaching to test, rather than to skill, extinguishes desirable traits like creativity and innovation in that student.” (Gray, 2015)
When is the last time you watched toddlers play? Whether playing alone or with others, they are innately curious about the world around them – they are like sponges.
Ever observed a group of teens wandering in a mall? Constantly being pulled in different directions by different influences and interests.
Or as an adult, when you are online browsing (killing time???) and something catches your attention. One link leads to another link and you become engrossed in something quite different then when you initially started surfing.
Within formal education, a “linear utilization creates an individual who is knowledgeable about isolated bits of information or experience, but ignorant of the operative whole which these alienated bits are part of.” (kitchen, 2013)
In high school I hated English class. Especially grammar! Even then I had a silver tongue and had, as my British mum used to say, ‘the gift of gab’. Thus I could use grammar, but I never understood it until college when I took a year of Greek. I finally grasped the power of verb declensions and the world of writing opened up to me because I finally had a better grasp of English language grammar. In elementary and high school I had all these rules fired at me for seemingly no reason. It was as Monahan (2015) stated, “Learners in these scenarios liken the experience to trying to drink water from a fire hose.” Exactly! 🙂
Everyday we are constantly adding to our individual learning map. Every time we drive a different vehicle, it is a learning experience. Every different type of conditions we drive in (weather, roadwork, terrain, etc.) it is a learning experience. Every new country (or state/province) we drive in is a learning experience. All of the experiences (at all different nonlinear times) keep adding to our vast storehouse of knowledge and practical experience that makes us the (good or bad) driver that we are.
So if learning is nonlinear, then should not a certain amount of content delivery also be nonlinear? This greatly changes (and frees up) course/program design and provides the educator with much more flexibility. This also changes the role of the educator! A realignment of our role from content expert to ‘content curator’ also puts content itself into a new perspective. (Monahan, 2015) What a great phrase – content curator – ability to choose what is important to a class or even individual student.
Final Thought: How much would a switch to content curation change the face of education in your part of the globe?