The notion of sharing learning designs in schools is not new. It goes back to many, many years and it has been practiced in form of sharing teaching experience since the beginning of time. Thousands of years ago, in its simplest form, the transfer of learning design as “design knowledge” applied to a certain context, meant copying, mirroring others’ way of teaching students or trainees, meticulously keeping instruction details intact.
One of the oldest practice took place in the military. The learning design was shared by many instructors in an effort to discipline their soldiers. Closer to our times, generations of teachers learned the learning designs and applied them over generations helping student acquire simple knowledge that barely changed over time. Later, while the number of learning designs were quite reduced at the beginning of the industrial revolution, as the education system become more sophisticated, various disciplines started to form learning designs modelled around their history and cultural background differing more and more from one another.
It is only recently that we came up with the idea of learning design as a template that can be replicated as a step-by-step repeatable process and be used as a tool to support effectively the pedagogical practice. Why the need? Firstly, teachers have to deal with an increasingly complex curriculum and performance requirements. Secondly, the body of knowledge has grown so much, something needs to be done to help the teachers do administrative work faster so that they have more time to focus on interacting with students and perform higher order activities.
This is where the technology is both the culprit and the saviour. While it is widely recognised learning design implemented with technology can make things much easier to re-use, the actual sharing could be costly. There are technologies that offer improved solutions (LAMS International), but their patchy adoption prevents major productivity achievements. Education system need to adopt learning design systems across the entire organisation (meaning region, state, country) to make real progress in reaping the potential rewards.
Bill Gates was invited at this year TED Conference as a curator. He will invite a number of speakers, but also he gave his third TED talk in three years.
This year Bill Gates is focused is on education. His concern is the diminishing funds allocated to education in US and the increasing financial pressure on states’ budgets. His assessment is bleak, but he is optimistic a way to fix this will be found.
The question of what happens with the budgets is one that will become louder and louder not only in US but around the world as the governments are required to become effective with budget management and more accountable with the taxpayers’ money. The point that Bill Gates made in a very simple way, the state governments must be scrutinised at least at the same level listed companies are, for instance err… Microsoft and Google. After all, we are all shareholders in the biggest enterprises of all: the government.
“iPad is technology married with liberal arts and married with humanities”
– Steve Jobs, 3 March at the launch of iPad2