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TEACHING CRITICAL THINKING ???

December 14, 2016

December 14, 2016 Today, there is a rapidly growing movement to emphasize the teaching of “critical thinking skills” in our public schools. Just what is it? — and can it be successfully taught?  The opinions expressed by Carl Hendrik in an article published in AEON, “Why Schools Should Not Teach Critical Thinking Skills,” make a strong and reasonable case against such teaching when detached from context: “.  .  .  Since the early...

e-LEARNING & DESIGN

December 12, 2016

December 12, 2016 Whether you buy or build e-Learning courses, design elements must be the focus if you want your workforce to engage with the training. “Instructional Design Elements EVERY eLearning Course Should Include” by Christopher Pappas in eLearning Industry gives us an overview: “Designing an eLearning course is not an easy task. .  .  . this article features the 10 most important Instructional Design eLements that your eLearning course should have....

THE ESSENTIAL READABILITY TESTS

December 7, 2016

December 7, 2016 Ever hear of the Flesch-Kincaid readability tests?  (They’re both freely available as part of MSN’s Outlook and Word.) “The Flesch-Kincaid readability tests were named after a talented Mr. J. Peter Kincaid and his team of developers. The tests were originally developed under contract with the US Navy and were designed to assess the difficulty of understanding in technical manuals around the year 1978. Within a few years, the tests became...

BUY CONTENT, NOT TITLE

December 5, 2016

December 5, 2016 “Establishing training content means focusing on what the job actually entails. Task analysis methods are important for this. These methods were developed within occupational psychology to ensure that what is trained is what is required. This is one of the most important areas in the psychology of training. If performance requirements are not identified, then training judgments may be inappropriate.  .  .  . Left to their own devices, training specialists cannot...

BEWARE OF CHARTER SCHOOLS

November 30, 2016

November 30, 2016 While it is too early to panic, the subject of Charter Schools is about to hit the headlines. It is up to all of us to stay informed on this issue as it will have a direct impact on the educational future of the nation’s children. ConnectUS summarizes the issue: Some of the Pros: They offer flexible options for families. They encourage competition. They foster innovation. They carve out...

NUGGETS FOR REFLECTION

November 28, 2016

November 28, 2016 ILLITERACY STATISTICS from the Literacy Project Foundation reveal some disturbing numbers:  “Illiteracy has become such a serious problem in our country that 44 million adults are now unable to read a simple story to their children; 50% of adults cannot read a book written at an eighth grade level; and, 45 million are functionally illiterate and read below a 5th grade level.” YEP, IT’S BUSINESS OBJECTIVES!  After many years...

DO IT THE RIGHT WAY

November 16, 2016

November 16, 2016 As I’ve written many times, if you wait for community colleges to effectively train your workforce, you’ll be waiting a long time. Without an emphasis on simulations and media-based instruction, few of our current crop of young people will ever learn enough from the traditional “lecture-reading-testing” teaching model that still prevails in many community colleges. In most cases, you’re going to have to do it yourself. So, how should...

DESIGN FOR THE LEARNERS

November 14, 2016

November 14, 2016 “Many people working in training and instructional design came to it through side doors .  .  .  There are heated debates about whether everyone working in the field should have formal training, as well as discussions of the pros and cons of academic instructional design programs. I’ve seen great designers who had no background at all in the field; I’ve seen terrible designers with every certificate under the sun. ...

LEARNING MOVES FORWARD

November 9, 2016

November 9, 2016  I would maintain that, regardless of subject matter, education is very late in “coming to the party.” It’s no secret that most teaching in the classroom continues to be a “lecture/reading/testing” regimen — in spite of the undeniable fact that the learning culture of our young people is centered on their smartphones, tablets, and gaming. Most people are multi-sensory learners when it comes to skills acquisition.    ‘Seeing’, ‘hearing’, and...

ROOT CAUSE PROBLEM SOLVING

November 7, 2016

November 7, 2016 The ultimate test for instrument technicians, electricians and electronic technicians, as well as mechanics and millwrights will be their troubleshooting skills. Troubleshooting, using its simplest definition, involves determining the causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about them. While most maintenance tasks in a plant are routine, knowing how to systematically think through a problem is vital to a plant’s operating efficiency. Acquiring troubleshooting skills equips the...

EDUCATION IS OUR OBLIGATION

November 2, 2016

November 2, 2016 We often read stories bemoaning the high cost of college education and the attendant baggage of debt that haunts our college graduates. Seldom, however, do we read articles as to the “why” this is occurring.  The following excerpt from “Your Alma Mater’s Biggest Rival?  Stingy State Government” by James Carville sheds some light: “ .  .  . Today, government investment in public colleges is less than half of what...

PRACTICAL LEARNING OBJECTIVES

October 31, 2016

October 31, 2016 “A learning objective should describe what students should know or be able to do at the end of the course that they couldn’t do before.  Learning objectives should be about student performance.  Good learning objectives shouldn’t be too abstract (“the students will understand what good literature is”); too narrow (“the students will know what a ground is”); or be restricted to lower-level cognitive skills (“the students will be able...

SUCCESSFUL TRAINERS & MORE

October 26, 2016

October 26, 2016 A concise definition of “successful trainer” is clearly stated by Derek Stockley in his article, “The two main requirements for success as a trainer”: “To be successful, a trainer has to have:                     – Knowledge and skills in training techniques.                     – Excellent knowledge and skills on the training topic  You need to know your subject and you need to have the ability to communicate with others about it.”...

WINNING WITH BETTER LEARNING

October 24, 2016

October 24, 2016 Imagine a system where learners engage with clearly stated, performance-oriented goals, acquiring skills and knowledge that are relevant to real-life challenges. In this system, designed to enable high performance, learners of all levels meet their objectives with the aid of flexible programs that accommodate varied learning styles and abilities.  Learners leave the system with all the necessary skills required by both a world-class workforce and as better educated citizens...