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:


Automate Translation — With Caution

The big tech news item for me in the past couple of weeks has been about Google Cloud Connect. It allows users to use MS Office within the Cloud. This is real news, and good for users—in the Cloud, on the fly, (almost) seamless between Office docs and Google Docs. Now Google Docs and Google Translate are integrated, so the “problem” as I see it is, maybe users will soon begin to depend exclusively on quick translations?

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.

Completing the Feedback Loop: Quizzes in Learning Material

What is the importance of feedback after a quiz or test? Here’s a useful analogy: What quizzes are to the material, feedback is to the quiz.

Audio And Pace

Is text plus audio really reinforcement—even when they convey the same thing?

"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.)


Multimedia Overload

Too much multimedia in learning content is analogous to too much Flash on websites. Not in terms of what purpose the multimedia serves, but in the sense of visual/auditory overload.

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.

“Diploma Mills”

Searching online for open courseware, I found phrases like “get your degree online real quick” and “your university degree is only a step away.” Now these seemed to combine the ideas of online degrees and “get instant access,” so I looked at a few suspect sites.

Learning And The Brain, Revisited

This is a follow-up on a previous post about the application of brain research (whether neuroscience or any other) to instructional design, courseware design, and learning in general. There are three things I'm sure about.

Why Not Think Inside The Box?

Between July 2010 and now, there have been many opinions and posts about brain research and ID, so I thought I'd take a first-hand look at what research I could lay my mouse on.

SCORM in a Nutshell

Here's an non-technical Q/A session about SCORM. “SCORM Explained,” at scorm.com, 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.)

W-Learning: Potential and Peril

The Age of W-Learning is here. Another buzzword? Yet another gimmick? Before we write it off, let’s take a closer look. (By the way, “W-Learning” is “Wiki-Learning.”)

The funny thing about the human brain is that it has a mind of its own. It behaves like people do, perhaps in a less sophisticated way. Let’s pit that observation against something like Wikipedia and see what happens. Think about teaching, engagement, learning, retention.

Free Academic Materials Online

An earlier post looked at open courseware—free online courses from universities. From 2002 to 2010, the idea has caught on in so many places, Free does seem to be the way ahead!

Apart from entire courses, educational and other institutions—but primarily universities—have a lot of material online, as we discovered to our pleasant surprise. Doing personal research (or study) online is a very different thing when you consider that there's so much authoritative free material out there. You won't find them all in one place, but here's a collection of links to point you to the Free Stuff.

Open Courseware: A Look at 11 University Sites

Open Courseware, or OCW, has been around for almost a decade now. OCW is the term for free online courseware corresponding to actual university lectures (or, in some cases, other course material at a reputed university).

Exercising Choice: Search3

Those of us who have given a serious thought to using some other search engine—other than Google, that is—have usually ended up staying with Google. It's a habit.

M-Learning: Maybe It's About The Devices

In various “e-learning prediction lists” at the start of 2009 and 2010, Mobile Learning was near the top—many people spoke along the lines of mobile learning "really taking off" this year.

Do More With Your Keywords

Search is harder in 2010 than it was in, say, 2006, even though search engines are better. But we can help the search engines help us!

Lifehacker Over The Years

Lifehacker started off as a site that helped non-geeks get along with computers. With the now-famous “geek to live, don’t live to geek” motto, it provided answers, tips, and tutorials for software and online stuff—anything to do with computers.


"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.


Productivity Tools — And Learning

Just four or five years ago, "productivity tools" was only a category of software.

It’s Official: Content Curation is a Good Idea

We wrote about self-directed learning a couple of months ago. We like the idea, and we also like the buzzword!

8 Pros and Cons of E-learning for Training

8 Pros and Cons of E-learning for Training