Monthly Archives: February 2015
We have this tendency in higher education to throw babies out with bath water. It derives from dualistic thinking. Either something is right or wrong, it’s in or out, up or down. As mature thinkers, we disavow these dichotomous perspectives, but then find their simplicity hard to resist. They make complicated things easy.
Any number of us have had our doubts about learning styles. The instruments that detect, name, and classify these various approaches to learning just seemed too straightforward. How can there by only two or even four styles? And how can every learner fit neatly into one of those boxes? We also worried about how students responded to them. “I’m a visual learner,” one told me, “I don’t do textbooks.” A certain learning style then excuses one from other learning modalities?
My take: This is a detached and well-reasoned discussion on the polarizing issue of Learning Styles. What I like is that it goes beyond the purported lack of scientific rigour and speaks of the impact on learners themselves, e.g. “I’m a visual learner”. If nothing else, this article should be required reading on both sides of the ongoing debate.
A little under two years ago, Mark Bennett was forced to mark his sixtieth birthday by gathering his employees together and telling them that the company was on the verge of running out of money. He was, as usual, working every hour he could to ensure its survival. For six weeks he had met with three or four potential partners a day, and impressed upon them how iSchool could transform education, and perhaps healthcare and agriculture too, across vast swathes of the world.
My take: I knew of Mark Bennett’s work by reputation and I was in awe of his efforts to improve education in Africa. We complain a lot about our networks and our tools, but his challenge make our concerns look petty by comparison. The world of education has lost a pioneer and a visionary.
I am thrilled and humbled to share the news that I have accepted an invitation to speak at the 2015 EduTECH congress in Brisbane, AU, in June.
To say that I am floored and in a little bit of shock would be like describing Arthur C. Clarke as a guy who “wrote a little”.
This event is different from most L&D gatherings in that the speakers all use a TED-style format for their talks, and this is definitely terra incognita for me. So, I’m going to engage in a little ‘working out loud’ as I share some of my preparations and thoughts as I get ready for this “talk of a lifetime”. That said, I am especially looking forward to meeting Ryan Tracey at this event, and hopefully Helen Blunden as well.
This kind of reward is not a singular one. I thank my friends, colleagues, my PLN, and my wife, for their support, encouragement, and inspiration. I will be standing on the shoulders of giants as I take that stage.
Flexible working is currently causing a lot of debate. The introduction of our unlimited leave policy got the world talking. Opinions have been divided – some people are staunchly against it, others don’t understand how it can be implemented, while Virgin’s careers inbox has never been fuller.
My take: Sir Richard Branson has never been one to do things in a conventional fashion and this initiative certainly ranks with one of his more unorthodox moves. However, it seems to be paying some dividends and will likely form the basis of future research in organizational development.