Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Learning Cone

The idea of the learning cone was developed by Edgar Dale over 40 years ago, and it has been adapted many times since. The most recent version of this I saw had an extra layer on the bottom as well which said "teaching it to another person". As a teacher when I have to rack my brains to think of a way of teaching a concept to a group of students so that they really understand it, this is definitely something that will stay with me for a long time.

There's so much talk today about 21st century skills. Sometimes I hesitate to use this term with my colleagues as it seems a bit derogatory - as if I'm implying what they are doing is old hat if they haven't jumped onto the 21st century bandwaggon. Good teaching is good teaching, and the traditional skills of reading, writing, numeracy, research, communication and social skills are certainly always going to be essential skills for students to have for the future. But at the same time there are some traditional skills that are becoming more important, such as the processing of information, critical thinking and problem solving and there are some new skills that are becoming essential too such as social networking and online communication: our students need to learn how to become writers, artists and composers too to do well in this digital age.

I have attended several presentations by Ian Jukes, both in Europe and in Asia. On his Committed Sardine website he argues that important skills for the future are what he calls the 5 fluencies:
  • solution fluencies involve defining the problem, designing a solution, putting a plan into action and debriefing or evaluating the result.
  • information fluencies involve being able to ask good questions, access and acquire information, analyze and authenticate the information, evaluating good and bad, fact and opinion, and then apply the knowledge.
  • creative fluencies involve imagination, design and storytelling.
  • media fluencies involve understanding how media is being used to shape our thinking and how it is used to communicate a message effectively.
  • collaboration fluencies involve being able to interact with people all over the world and jointly create products online. It also involves knowing how to act as a digital citizen.
Jukes has come up with these fluencies to try to avoid us turning out "highly educated useless people who are good at school but not adequately prepared for life". His argument is that literacy is not enough for the digital age.

1 comment:

  1. I completely agree, good teaching is good teaching no matter what labels we slap on it. The goal is increase that good teaching. I love Jukes quote at the end avoiding "highly educated useless people who are good at school but not adequately prepared for life." We must avoid that at all costs!