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Test to extreme

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What works best?

24 hours learning in 24 hours or 24 hours learning over 24 days?

By the hour with no intervals or a gap of six days and 23 hours?

Any thoughts?

I ask as I've sometimes done the 24 hour thing working on a play, a short film (over night shoot), or writing. You stretch it out over a long period and you may water it down. The experience and the learning is less of an event.

 

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Vegetative patient Scott Routley says 'I'm not in pain'

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 10 Dec 2012, 21:08

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Fig.1. Using scanning a doctor communicates with Scott Routley  who has been in a coma for over ten years (BBC, 2012)

Using scanning a doctor communicates with Scott Routley who has been in a coma for over ten years (BBC, 2012)

Invaluable to this patient but opening all kinds of possibilities in relation to responding to a stimulus through thought alone.

If this patient 'learns' how to communicate further than this surely is technology enhanced learning on the very out fringes of the extreme. In practice an engineer might describe this as 'testing to destruction' - lessons are learnt from such cases.

See more on Panorama http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01ny377

Asked to think about the future of learning and for disabled students in particular, I couldn't help but consider the most extreme forms of e-learning with severely disabled patients - those beyond our reach the 'brain dead' while those in a vegative state coming within reach - and is this state is one we go into under general anaesthetic, one from which a person does occassionally recover.

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Fig.2. A new brain scanner helps completely paralysed people to spell words

I don't want to be a guinea-pig in such a set up, but what if having been kept 'alive' say after a car accident I tell those who have stirred me to communicate that I wish I had died on the roadside all those years ago? Do they remove the technology and well me into a side room until I die of natural causes decades later? (This was the scenario in a black and white ante-war movie of the 1930s ... I think. Recall the detail of the film and would love its name if you know it).

I don't mean to be flippant, but could this technology be used to talk with animals ... or give us the sense that we are ? If attached to such devices in our sleep, might dream actions be turned into real ones?

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Fig.3. Real-life Jedi: Pushing the limits of mind control (BBC 2012) Last accessed 10 Dec 2012

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-15200386

And who gets there hands on this extremely expensive kit? Anyone willing to be a guinea-pig? The children of billionaires? Or in time - everyone with a need.

If in your 90s you are reduced to this state could you or would you want to extend life if it could be enriched in this way? Pushing humans into a stage that is more than just one foot in the grave - you are, in every sense, living as if buried alive? And if this could be realistically be sustained for decades?

Depends on the person I suppose.

 

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Learning in extremis

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 25 Jul 2012, 18:13
My wife went into labour at 2.30am, we'd planned a home birth (this is her second) however our hospital was some 37 miles away and our allocated Midwife was another 20 miles beyond that. SHe spoke to my wife betweenp contractions – she wouldn't make it. Call an ambulance and she'd be over in due course.

"Emergency Home Birth!" my wife exclaimed pointing at a book on pregnancy and childbirth.

Chapter six looked like it needed half an hour to read and the same again to digest; there wasn't time. Thankfully om the facing page of Chapter six the editor had laid out the essentials in clear bullet points – towels, scissors and string are the ones I remember, probably because I required all three, these and the reminder that the umbiliacal cord can get caught around the baby's throat.

And so it was, at around 3.20am, my wife on all fours at the end of the bed, towels in place that our son was born. First his head, the umbiliacal chord wrapped tightly around his throat. I eased this over his chin and around his head, surprised at how thick and tough it was – then one,the both shoulders and he feel into my arms like a muddy rugby ball out of a scrum. My wife rolled around and sitting at the end of the bed she took him into her arms.

A few minutes later the midwife arrived, thought everything was going well and went to run a bath. In due course she showed me how to cut the umbilliacal cord then took my wife to the bathroom.

Learning in extremis? I didn't need a book, or a training video and given this was 1996 I wasn't going to have Google, Quora or YouTube offer some advice.

I've had no further need for these particular parenting skills, though it's been an adventure following two infants through childhood into their early teens.

Learning works best when it is pished, when there is a challenge of time and circumstances, where it can be applied and seen to work.

How do we apply this to formal education, to stuyding for exams through secondary and tertiary education? What is the difference with learning in the workforce, between physical actions on a factory floor, in a mine, power station or warehouse, out on a civil engineering building site or in an office or boardroom?

There need to be exams – from mocks to annual exams and finals.

Essays and regualr assignments are part of this best practice. And how about tests, even the surprise test, not so much for the result, but for the pressure that ought to help fix some learning in our plastic, fickle minds?

In advertising we often spoke of 'testing to destruction' that nothing beats a clear demonstration of the products power, staying power or effectiveness in memorably extreme conditions.

I like the idea of working Against the clock, of competition too, even learning taken place, as I have heard, as someone cycles around Europe, or drives a Russian Jeep from Kazikstan back to Britain.

I believe in the view that 'it'll be alright on the night' – that you can galvanise a group to rally round when needed and those new to this game will pick up a great deal in the process; personally I loved the all nighters we did in our teens breaking one set then building another in the Newcastle Playhouse, some sense of which I repeated professionally on latae night and all night shoots, often in 'extreme' places.


Then there's another kind of learning extreme - pscking it in - QA on 240 links or proofing eight 40 frame PowerPoint e-learning wireframes.

Permalink 2 comments (latest comment by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 26 Jul 2012, 17:31)
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