All posts tagged "pedagogy"

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Make It A How-To!

A lesson on how to do something is inherently more engaging than a lesson on what something is. For an instructor, it is “easier” — to use the term loosely — to teach “how to” than to explain “this is what it’s all about.”

Constructing Analogies: Three Mistakes To Avoid

A new concept is often best explained by means of an example or an analogy. It is not easy to come up with a good metaphor every time: Some educators and instructors are more adept at it, some less so.


Improving Learner Recall: Six Interlinked Elements

While memory has been a topic of research and speculation for centuries, good educators have long known — from experience — how to improve recall. It is relatively easy to think about the material being presented, to analyse it, and to comprehend it. It is more difficult to recall it, and it is even more difficult to make the recall last months or years.

Humour Is Essential In The Classroom — And It's Not Just About Jokes

In military instructional institutions around the world, it is customary to begin lessons with a couple of minutes of jokes. This is done with military precision, so it might or might not have the desired effect of lightening up the audience — but the principle holds.

The Old School

What Merits Are There To The 19th-Century Schooling System?

The Case For Rote Learning — In Schools And Elsewhere

Rote learning, or learning by heart, got a bad name quite some decades ago. A Time Magazine article in 1986 showed Japanese schoolchildren in a classroom, with words and numbers in neat columns on the blackboard. The caption read, “...In Japan, rote learning is still emphasised...” The article implied that in the West, rote learning had gone out of fashion, having been replaced by critical thinking.

Collaborative Versus Social (Learning)

I’ve often found worthwhile food for thought at the Internet Time Alliance. A recent post by Harold Jarche mentions a distinction between Collaborative Learning and Social Learning. I wasn’t aware of one, so I looked at the definition by the Human Capital Lab:

PowerPoint Practices — In Learning

PowerPoint has been used, abused, and used again. Millions of people have made, viewed, and analysed presentations, so there’s a lot of existing wisdom about best practices. Also, PowerPoint is being increasingly used in e-learning development. So here's a look at what PowerPoint practices are applicable to courseware development.

Do We Need Instructional Theories?

I’ve been reflecting upon learning theories, and it just came to me that ID itself is based upon sound theories. (We don’t usually think of “doing ID” as “doing science.”) Pretty obvious, I know. But in my defence, it’s been a long time since I thought of ID as a field of endeavour.

Explaining What, How, Why

Pedagogy is about teaching things differently: differently based on who is being taught, who is doing the teaching, what is being taught. I tried to look at it from a clean slate, but that got muddied by too many established conclusions — each of them useful, no doubt:


What Are Simulations Good For?

Here's an imaginary Q/A session about simulations I had in my head. Why do so many people talk about simulations in learning?


Why Use A Pre-Assessment?

An earlier post looked at a range of ways in which post-quiz remedial feedback can be constructive. What about pre-course assessments, or pre-assessments? Apart from setting the tone and context for a course, a pre-assessment is useful for instructor and learner alike; in fact, it can work towards improving learner motivation too.

"How-To" Presentations: 5 Different Ways

Creating a How-To presentation is quite different from many other types of mini-course. You’re explaining how to do something you already know, so words fall short. That is, words don’t have as much of a role as in other kinds of explanation, but they are still essential. (Very few how-tos can be done with no words at all.)


A Bloggish Look At Knowles’ Conclusion

The Greek roots of “Pedagogy” translate to “leading a child.” In that respect—a teacher leading a learner—not much has changed in the shift from pedagogy to andragogy, or from “teaching” to “adult learning,” even if the methods have.

SCORM in a Nutshell

Here's an non-technical Q/A session about SCORM. “SCORM Explained,” at, is concise enough, but it can seem vague if you’re new to the term. If you’re not involved with the technical side of things… and you’ve seen the terms “SCORM” and “SCORM-compliant”… and you just want to know what it’s about, perhaps this little explanation will help. (Remember, this isn’t really precise; it’s just to help you get an idea.)

"E" vs. "Learning"

Of all notable critics of e-learning methodologies, Roger Schank comes across as the ultimate cynic. In fact, he doesn't just criticise methodologies; Schank's complaints are about all of e-learning, about which he's been writing for a decade.


Learning Objects and Learning Objectives

The dichotomy presents itself at many levels, and for a variety of people. Learners are different, so how can the courseware be the same? Tailoring courseware for individuals is possible, aren’t people different even within a small group?