Thursday, December 6, 2018

Learning Engineering

Professor Gregor Kennedy's keynote presentation for TALE 2018 was on "Learning Engineering: The Art of Applying Learning Science at Scale". He did not seem happy with the term “learning engineering”, coined by Herb Simon in the 1960's for the systematic design of learning, based on research. But I suspect there were only a handful of people in the room who had ever heard of the term (Bror Saxberg was obviously one), so why mention it at all?

Later in the day Rebecca Shields (Central Queensland University) discussed the results of research on the "21st Century Skills" of Australian school students entering university. These students had grown up with digital technology, but can't apply it for educational purposes, and so need to have training in this. Rebecca suggested pre-teaching of students entering university, and in the longer term changes to school teacher training and education policy.

The problems Rebecca identified with school and teacher training, I suggest also apply at the university level. Her proposed solution's would help answer Professor Kennedy's call for more systematic application of learning science. We need to not only train academics who teach how to teach, but also teach their students how to learn. The academics who teach will then be better able to work with specialist educational designers, and their students take more responsibility for their own learning.

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