W 21: Introduction to Online Education Theory

Really interesting article Larry Sanger, Individual Knowledge in the Internet Age (2010), especially regarding the three common strands of current thought about education and the Internet:

  1. The instant availability of information online makes the memorization of facts unnecessary or less necessary.
  2. The virtues of collaborative learning as superior to outmoded individual learning.
  3. Lengthy, complex books, which constitute a single, static, one-way conversation with an individual, are inferior to knowledge co-constructed by members of a group.

Larry deepens around the strand of Unnecessary Memorization. Inevitably, if I say that I know something is because I remember. The bad reputation of memorization is associated with the mindless and not reflected repetition.

This article discusses other arguments worth mentioning:

  • if you read an answer to a question, you usually need fairly substantial background knowledge to interpret the answer.
  • you need knowledge in order to know what questions to ask.
  • a good education is not merely to amass a lot of facts.
  • If you do not have copious essential facts at the ready, then you will not be able to make wise judgments that depend on your understanding of those facts
  • we should “learn how to learn”
  • the ability to learn new things is more important than ever “in a world where you have to process new information at lightning speed.”
  • “Children are going to have to reinvent their knowledge base multiple times.

I stopped a little longer in the article: George Siemens, Networks, Ecologies, and Curatorial Teaching (2007). Interesting reflexions on what he calls learning ecology around which I have built the attached presentation.

 

5 thoughts on “W 21: Introduction to Online Education Theory

  1. Your Prezi is cool! I am going to have to explore that tool again. I think you’re spot on with the “we should learn how to learn” statement. So many times we amass the information, with no real understanding of that information. I can say that was definitely the case for me as an undergrad. Sure, I could do well on the test by memorizing certain facts, but what’s more important is that systhesis of information and really understanding the “how and why” behind it. Thanks for the reminder!

  2. I think our generation experimented something similar with memorization in our schools. Maybe that’s why these reflections makes so much sense. It’s the same for me!

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