eLearning by Doing

Designing World-Class E-Learning : How IBM, GE, Harvard Business School, And Columbia University Are Succeeding At E-Learning
by Roger C. Schank

Roger's a provocateur. He's brash. But if more designers took the approach he advocates, people would learn a lot more.

A chapter toward the end of the book, "Let FREEDOM Ring: Seven Criteria for Assessing the Effectiveness of an e-Learning Course," is really about assessing the design of a course. Outcomes define effectiveness, not course characteristics. I'm skeptical of packaging learning as courses. Nonetheless, the FREEDOM mnemonic is catchy, and I like the design philosophy behind it.

    F is for Failure. A good course must enable failures that surprise the student. (Or at least don't meet student expectations.)

    R is for Reasoning. A good course encourages practice in reasoning. (That's application.)

    E is for Emotionality. A good course must incite an emotional response in the student. (Use people to stoke the emotional level if it's not inherent in the content.)

    E is also for Exploration. A good course promotes exploration and enables inquiry.

    D is for Doing. A good course encourages practice in doing.

    O is for Observation. A good course allows students to see things for themselves. (Roger cares primarily about memorability. If you've visited the Center for Visual Learning here, you know I'd throw in understanding, simplification, speed, and a bunch of other things.)

    M is for Motivation. A good course supplies it. (This would be Relevance but FREEDOR is simply not that catchy.)

For the uninitiated, Roger's philosophy in a nutshell:

    The primary problem in corporate training is the same problem you have in any educational system: the idea that if you tell somebody something, they know it. It's a very sexy and appealing idea ? it's just wrong.

    Stand-up training has never worked very well, and corporations are beginning to see that. So along comes the computer, and they think maybe it'll be cheaper. Yes, it might be cheaper, but that's not what's interesting about computers. What's interesting is that you can build something that looks and feels like the real thing. Instead of telling someone to fly a plane and hoping they can do it, you can have them actually practice flying a plane.

From Inside Technology Training, January 2000

Posted by Jay Cross at February 24, 2003 08:53 PM | TrackBack

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