2.1 Educational background

To generalise grotesquely, engineers – although well accustomed to open problems with multiple potential solutions – like their experiments and theories to be based on quantitative analysis and hard numbers. Unfortunately this is rarely possible in education, where outcomes are hard to measure numerically or repeatably, and where control groups are difficult to come by. Nevertheless a number of pedagogic conclusions and ‘models’ have gained currency. I will state their main findings in plain language and refer the reader who needs more detail to the panels. [Note: we usually refer to the study of how education works, and how students learn, as pedagogy. Strictly this is a misnomer, since pedagogy refers to how children learn, and we are usually dealing with adults.  Andragogy is a better word for the study of the learning of adults, but it does not seem to be catching on, despite 357,000 hits on Google and its own dedicated web site (www.andragogy.net)!]

David Ausubel was a cognitive learning theorist active in the 1960s and 70s. I don’t suggest that you need to read his work, which is for our purposes over-psychological, but you might take to heart his central message (which I paraphrase):
‘Find out what the student knows and teach accordingly’

Read on …  (but first leave a comment)

2 All Responses to “2.1 Educational background”

  1. Peter Goodhew

    The word andragogy is better established than I had thought. A google search today revealed 357,000 hits and even a dedicated web site (www.andragogy.net) DONE

  2. goodhew

    I need to sort out whether there will be “panels” or whether to refer externally. 


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