About Me

Education, the knowledge society, the global market all connected through technology and cross-cultural communication skills are I am all about. I hope through this blog to both guide others and travel myself across disciplines, borders, theories, languages, and cultures in order to create connections to knowledge around the world. I teach at the University level in the areas of Business, Language, Communication, and Technology.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Summary of feedback from my presentation

As promised, below is a summary of some of the points that came out of my presentation on work literacy to the Instructional Design researchers group. Like the feedback from the blog, there were not many attendees. This actually makes me very frustrated as I get the impression that Educators feel learning stops after college and Instructional Designers/workplace trainers feel that there does not need to be an understanding of what goes on in schools from their part as graduates come out "molded" if educators are doing their job correctly.

This lack of dialog between the workplace and schools has led to finger pointing and lack of preparedness for students transitioning into the workplace. Some researchers, businesses, and educators have begun to address this gap. But overall, I think there needs to be more dialog between educators and businesses that has nothing to do with, "what skills should workers have?". The dialog should address, "what type of work do you foresee works of the future doing?" "What will the basis be for effective workers be in the future?""How will workers accomplish their work in the future?"


Going into the presentation, I received two posts with suggestions. Basically:

  • Students should be taught how to analyze (Ken Allen)
  • Students should learn how to access their network in order to answer questions and find information that will help them do their work (Tony Karrer)
After the presentation, I received one additional suggestion:
  • Students should know how to learn without being told and they should be "self-regulated" learners (my interpretation of Mike's comment)
Surprisingly enough, most of the participants came up with similar suggestions. One participant, a professor emeritus in science education further commented that in fact, most of the issues I brought up in the presentation was not new. In fact, educators have been discussing how to teach analysis, help students make connections with concepts and work with others to cocreate meaning, and use resources to find answers to problems for a long time (generations, in fact). More importantly, the biggest challenge for educators is to get students to focus. In fact, this is where Web 2.0 has made things more difficult. In other words, in order for students to learn, they need to learn to focus, weed through what is not necessary and concentrate on what is. Now with more access to information, the ability to focus will be even more important.

I realize many have spoken about multi-tasking. While there is much debate about multi-tasking helping or hindering work and learning, the fact is little has been said about the opposite: focusing. Are those that are more successful and efficient able to focus in an overstimulated environment? Should we be studying "focus" as opposed to "multi-tasking"? Are these two concepts mutually exclusive?


I know for myself, I am very good at multi-tasking as I am able to prioritize, then focus on those things that I need to pay attention to, while monitoring (yet ignoring) stimulas that will not help me accomplish my work. In addition, I am very good at networking and using the network to save myself time and help find the answers I need. Finally, my high school education (based on more of the college model) forced us to be self-regulated learners, critical thinkers, and life long learners. Many were not able to take the free time alloted us for learning and projects, wasting much of the day. In the long run, they did not do well in school. But those that adapted were very successful in college.

I wonder if the reason we see a rise in such learning disabilities as ADA and ADHD (apart from the fact that there is better diagnosis) is because the work of today requires greater focus. As a result, students that can't focus will develop into workers that can't focus and do their job. As there is more stimuli to the individual, children and adults need to learn how to manage the stimulus in order to be successful.

Finally, I think there needs to be more dialog between schools, policy makers, researchers, and businesses. There are some successful models out there now that need to be replicated at a faster pace.

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