In the past, people served machines. Today, machines free people to do what technology can’t: sell, service, and lead. As we explore this global shift from the industrial to the digital age, we cordially invite your voice in Developing the 21st Century Workforce™.
By Todd Beck
This is a hot topic in the 21st century, and yet has been argued for decades--maybe since back when radio started broadcasting educational content. Today's threat is the internet and virtual instructors, so people keep asking: Is classroom on life support?
To find the answer, I will take on Jack McDaniel (AchieveGlobal's Media Projects Director) in a no-holds-barred, deathmatch cage fight--well, more of a structured debate with some trash talk thrown in. Jack has deep experience with writing, instructional design, and Web development. He'll claim classroom is dead. I will take the position that classroom is alive and well. After brief remarks from each side, we'll answer a series of questions. Who will win? Stay tuned.
Here's my opening position:
I love technology. I research technology. I’m one of those people who friends and neighbors come to for advice and help with technology. Heck, I work on my computer all day and then go home and play on my computer all night. But the other day I took one of those assessments where it measures where you are personally on the change adoption continuum. And as you listen to me speak today it will be no surprise that the assessment showed that, when it comes to change, I’m a pragmatist. A solid focus on what’s practical—what will generate the highest return on investment.
And I don’t apologize for that. You and I are businesspeople. We get paid to generate business results. So when I think of behavior change, and I look at everything that impacts the likelihood that an employee will complete training, will commit to new behaviors, and will apply new behaviors on the job, I see classroom as the long-standing champion that has been and might forever be the most effective way humans learn.
Elliott Masie recently wrote that “there is a frenzy of fascination and way too much hype” about technology. “And, much of this frenzy does not map back to the requirements of learning development and design.” (Learning TRENDS by Elliott Masie - August 29, 2007)
People are people, so why should it be that you and I should be physically wired to benefit from classroom learning for thousands of years, and then suddenly during this “frenzy of fascination” somehow have our basic learning preferences change?
Classroom is how humans learn. Classroom is not on life support. Classroom is life support.
....Jack--it's your turn. Bring it on!