A Case for Challenge-centric Learning: "Show and Tell Doesn't Teach."
Since the 1980s, much research has been done to find better methods of teaching adults how to use software-based technology.
From the beginning, simply placing learners into the correct IT environment has been a struggle. How do we get the right versions of the right operating system and applications, supported by sufficient processor power, RAM and bandwidth to all the people who need to learn this tech – and make sure it works?
Over the years, technological innovations such as imaging software, virtual machines and the work done by lab hosting providers like Skillable have improved the situation considerably. But our focus on hands-on labs may have leaned toward prioritizing the design of “labs that work” over “labs that teach.”
Learning experiences are minimally effective when people are asked to simply repeat the steps they were taught. Being asked to “Listen to me, watch me, then follow the steps outlined in this book” often doesn’t result in learners knowing what they just did or why.
“Show and tell” simply isn’t enough. At their core, labs that ask learners to “type this and click that” are lessons in how to follow a recipe.
Wallace Judd, Ph.D. and President of Authentic Testing Corp. and Frank Gartland, Executive Vice President of Product Management for Skillable, developed a whitepaper, “A Case for Challenge-centric Learning,” focusing on evidence from researchers and their own nearly 40 years of experience with adult learning.
Here’s what they have to say:
Turns out there’s a scientifically proven method to better engage new learners and help qualified learners hone and/or expand their skills more quickly.