Gisteren verscheen een nieuw artikel van Daniel Willingham, gepubliceerd in Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition. Daarin beschrijft hij drie manieren waarop technologie leren zou kunnen veranderd hebben: het overbodig maken van memoriseren, flipped classroom en gepersonaliseerd instructie. Wat is zijn conclusie na een uitgebreide bespreking van de recente onderzoeksliteratuur:

I’ve listed three ways that educators anticipated that broad access to the Internet might revolutionize schooling: obviate the need for memorization, flip the classroom instruction model, and personalize learning through computer-based instruction. None has lived up to its promise.

Lees het artikel voor alle onderbouwing die verschilt van belofte tot belofte – het artikel is momenteel vrij toegankelijk – maar de moraal die Willingham geeft is een belangrijke les:

The most important lesson is also the most obvious: student learning is a complex system, and predicting the consequences of change to one part of that system is at best uncertain. The predictions educators made were reassuringly logical. Students once needed to memorize the Pythagorean theorem (and much else) because it was inconvenient to look it up. Now it’s easy to look things up. Students had no choice but to attend lectures because they lacked the means to watch filmed lectures at home. Now it’s easy to watch videos at home. Students once needed to follow the same lesson plan as their peers because teachers could not deliver a separate lesson to each student. Now it’s easy for a computer to do that.

The logic was specious for different reasons. Sometimes we thought technology was a suitable replacement for humans, but that turned out not to be true: humans need speedy and contextualized search that Google cannot provide, and humans prefer live lectures to video. In the final case (personalized learning), developers focused so closely on what the technology does that they lost sight of the subject-matter content that technology was there to deliver.

What’s remarkable is the volume of time and money invested in these ideas without anyone recognizing the inherent problems sooner. We now have the benefit of hindsight, of course, but shame on us if we do not learn from these experiences. The future will include more arguments about the consequences for learning. When those arguments appeal to common sense and do not include pilot data, they should be viewed with extreme suspicion.

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