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Learning at the speed of need

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 2 Dec 2020, 04:30


I used this phrase like this some years ago. I should dig it out. It might be in a 2001 blog. It was in a response tgrigger to studying elearning. If not 2001 when I started the MA in Open & Distance Learning, then certainly in the first module of the MA in Open & Distance Education that I began in 2010 and completed in 2013. 

I was then still wedded heart and soul into corporate learning and development. In the mid 1990s I did a lot of video work for Unipart who were developing their logistics capabilities fast and were adopting and adpating Japanese manufacturing methodolies. All I did was take 'just in time', a Japanese approach to car manufacture that was being applied and think of it in terms of learning on the job; it should not be done in the class, but called up instantly as needed.

It can be now. We do have the answer at our fingertips - literally. 

This is easily applied to business. By forever asking, 'what is the problem'? you look for a fix and apply it to the issue. Is that not hypocondria on an industrial scale? Is it helpdul to be forever thinking there is something wrong? Actually it is 'continual improvement' that is meant to be the drive. The desire to be quicker, faster, more effecient - to be better than the competition.

Now I'm getting a nasty taste in my mouth. This is NOT something to apply to education surely? People are not machines; by definition they are the exact opposite. Perhaps this is the point; people need time. And different people need different time in different amounts.

What if everyone could have their own tutor, their own governess? There was a time, not so long ago, when 'homeschooling' was the best choice - at least until you were old enough to be sent away to school. I should compare and contrast the 'life of hard knocks' experienced by Ely Green whose autobiography I am reading and that of Lady Anny Clifford in the 16th century - education was the exception, not the norm. The gulf between those who got an education and those who did not was vast. In the case of royality and nobility it is what set them apart.

There is a growing digital divide, between those able to race ahead because of ready access to the Interent, the right kit, the best wifi and access and even the money to pay for the courses. 

All of the above has been brought on by panic at the prospect of running a 90 minute online Meet for a class of 17 year olds; I remember what I was like age 17 - not quite as bad as the 15 or 16 year old. 

I'm back on this subject 7 years later - is the answer to all problems a question posted to a smart speaker? 

My inspiration, or urgency, is the need to hold the interest of 20 17 year olds in a 90 minute class without telling jokes or taking my clothes off (metaphorically). I feel myself inching towards the advertising 'Creative Brief' to bring a Churchillian one page answer to the task; what is the problem, what is the opportunity? what do I want to say? how do I want them to respond? How will I say it? 

Ref: Learning at the speed of desire (2013) 


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Design Museum

Practice and rehearsal

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 1 Nov 2020, 17:40

A Crayola-drawn plate of food on a paper plate

As my 15 minute micro-teach takes shape the idea of having students draw a plate of food to show what they had for breakfast is turning problematic when I give it a go in practice.

My 24 year old daughter things its childish (I don't. I think wax crayons and felt-tip pens are comforting and fun reminders of nursery school).

The issue in practice is the time I give to people within the 15 minutes.

This is not the test of their ability to do a drawing of a piece of bacon (fairly easy) or baked beans (a little more tricky) or porridge (advanced to impossible).

A paper plate on which a black pen drawing of a bowl of porridge has been attempted

It is simply to create a talking point. The solution therefore is that they use a black felt-tip pen only to draw and outline and then write what it is.

I can say they'd have a chance to colour it in after the class, or for homework smile 

It might be 10 years since I ran something like this; that was a 'creativity, innovation and change' workshop. I had what amounted to a swim coach's lesson plan with strict timings of when we should be moving through the tasks.

With only 15 minutes I'll be doing the same on Thursday.

I will even script it and record a video (we may not be able to go into an evening session at college).


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