Lifelong Learning Ñ More Than Training - PDF

Paper to Appear in a Special Issue on Intelligent Systems/Tools In Training And Life-Long Learning in the International Journal of Continuing Engineering Education and Life-Long Learning (eds.: Riichiro

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Paper to Appear in a Special Issue on Intelligent Systems/Tools In Training And Life-Long Learning in the International Journal of Continuing Engineering Education and Life-Long Learning (eds.: Riichiro Mizoguchi and Piet A.M. Kommers) Lifelong Learning Ñ More Than Training Gerhard Fischer Center for LifeLong Learning & Design (L 3 D) Department of Computer Science and Institute of Cognitive Science University of Colorado, Boulder 1. INTRODUCTION 3 2. PROBLEMS IN THE INFORMATION AGE 4 3. TRAINING AND LIFELONG LEARNING Training Lifelong Learning 7 4. ENVIRONMENTS IN SUPPORT OF LIFELONG LEARNING Requirements Modes of Learning Domain-Oriented Design Environments Critiquing The Envisionment and Discovery Collaboratory (EDC) Working Shops An Environment for Teachers to Engage in Lifelong Learning ASSESSMENT Lifelong Learning More Than Training Beyond Gift-Wrapping: Innovative Media and Technologies Supporting Lifelong Learning 18 Gerhard Fischer 1 Training and LLL 6. CONCLUSIONS REFERENCES 2 0 Figure 1: Emphasis on Training versus Emphasis on Lifelong Learning 6 Figure 2: Transcending Skinner and Taylor 7 Figure 3: A Comparison of Different Conceptualizations of Training and Lifelong Learning 8 Figure 4: Design and Use Time 10 Figure 5: Duality between Learning and Contributing 11 Figure 6: The Relationships Among Intelligent Tutoring Systems, Interactive Learning Environments, and Domain-Oriented Design Environments 12 Figure 7: The EDC Environment 15 Gerhard Fischer 2 Training and LLL Abstract Wisdom is not a product of schooling, but the lifelong attempt to acquire it.ó Ñ Einstein Learning can no longer be dichotomized into a place and time to acquire knowledge (school) and a place and time to apply knowledge (the workplace). TodayÕs citizens are flooded with more information than they can handle, and tomorrowõs workers will need to know far more than any individual can retain. Lifelong learning is an essential challenge for inventing the future of our societies; it is a necessity rather than a possibility or a luxury to be considered. Lifelong learning is more than adult education and/or training Ñ it is a mindset and a habit for people to acquire. Lifelong learning creates the challenge to understand, explore, and support new essential dimensions of learning such as: (1) self-directed learning, (2) learning on demand, (3) collaborative learning, and (4) organizational learning. These approaches need new media and innovative technologies to be adequately supported. A theory of lifelong learning must investigate new frameworks to learning required by the profound and accelerating changes in the nature of work and education. These changes include (1) an increasing prevalence of Òhigh-technologyÓ jobs requiring support for learning on demand because coverage of all concepts is impossible; (2) the inevitability of change in the course of a professional lifetime, which necessitates lifelong learning; and (3) the deepening (and disquieting) division between the opportunities offered to the educated and to the uneducated. This paper explores conceptual frameworks and innovative computational environments to support lifelong learning and it analyzes why training approaches need to be transcended and how this can be done. 1. Introduction Learning needs to be examined across the lifespan because previous notions of a divided lifetimeñeducation followed by workñare no longer tenable [Gardner, 1991]. Professional activity has become so knowledge-intensive and fluid in content that learning has become an integral and irremovable part of adult work activities. Learning is a new form of labor [Zuboff, 1988], and working is often (and needs to be) a collaborative effort among colleagues and peers. In the emerging knowledge society, an educated person will be someone who is willing to consider learning as a lifelong process. More and more knowledge, especially advanced knowledge, is acquired well past the age of formal schooling, and in many situations through educational processes that do not center on the traditional school [Illich, 1971]. Information overload, the advent of high-functionality systems, and a climate of rapid technological change have created new problems and challenges for education and training. New instructional approaches are needed to circumvent the difficult problems of coverage (i.e., trying to teach people everything that they may need to know in the future) and obsolescence (i.e., trying to predict what specific knowledge someone will need or not need in the future). Learning should be part of living, a natural consequence of being alive and in touch with the world, and not a process separate from the rest of life [Rogoff & Lave, 1984]. What learners need, therefore, is not only instruction but access to the world (in order to connect the knowledge in their head with the knowledge in the world [Norman, 1993]) and a chance to play a meaningful part in it. Education should be a distributed lifelong process by which one learns material as one needs it. School learning and workplace learning need to be integrated. In training, learning is often restricted to the solution of well-defined problems. Lifelong learning includes training approaches and also transcends them by supporting learning in the context of realistic, open-ended, ill-defined problems. In our environments, learners explore information spaces relevant to a self-chosen task at hand; for example: learning on demand Gerhard Fischer 3 Training and LLL provides learner-centered alternatives to teacher-centered tutoring systems, and it augments open-ended, unsupported learning environments by providing advice, assistance, and guidance if needed in breakdown situations. In this paper I first characterize problems facing workers and learners in the information society. I characterize and differentiate training and lifelong learning approaches. In the remaining part of the paper I focus on lifelong learning by first describing requirements and different approaches to it. Some examples of our work will be used to illustrate innovative systems supporting lifelong learning. I conclude by assessing these approaches and their systems and tools identifying their strengths and weaknesses. 2. Problems in the Information Age Lack of creativity and innovation. Societies and countries of the future will be successful not Òbecause their people work harder, but because they work smarteró. Creativity and innovation are considered essential capabilities for working smarter in knowledge societies [Drucker, 1994]; thus an important challenge is how these capabilities can be learned and practiced. An implicit assumption made is that self-directed and lifelong learning can influence the creativity and innovation potential of individuals, groups, organizations, and countries. Coping with change. Most people see schooling as a period of their lives that prepares them for work in a profession or for a change of career. This view has not enabled people to cope well with the following situations: (1) most people change careers 3-4 times in their lives even though what they learned in school was designed to prepare them for their first career; (2) the pace of change is so fast that technologies and skills to use them become obsolete within 5-10 years; (3) university graduates are not well prepared for work; (4) companies have trouble institutionalizing what has been learned (e.g., in the form of organizational memories) so that the departure of particular employees does not disable the companiesõ capabilities; and (5) although employers and workers alike realize that they must learn new things, they often don't feel they have the time to do so. Information is not a scarce resource. ÒDumpingÓ even more decontextualized information on people is not a step forward in a world where most of us already suffer from too much information. Instead, technology should provide ways to Òsay the ÔrightÕ thing at the ÔrightÕ time in the ÔrightÕ way.ó Information consumes human attention, so a wealth of information creates a poverty of human attention. ÒEase of useó is not the greatest challenge or the most desirable goal for new technologies. Usable technologies that are not useful for the needs and concerns of people are of no value. Rather than assuming people should and will be able to do everything without a substantial learning effort, we should design computational environments that provide a low threshold for getting started and a high ceiling to allow skilled users to do the things they want to do. Computers by themselves will not change education. There is no empirical evidence for this assumption based on the last 30 years of using computers to change education (such as computerassisted instruction, computer-based training, or intelligent tutoring systems). Technology is no ÒDeus ex machinaó taking care of education. Instructionist approaches are not changed by the fact that information is disseminated by an intelligent tutoring system. The content, value, and quality of information and knowledge are not improved just because information is offered in multimedia or over the WWW. Media itself does not turn irrelevant or erroneous information into more relevant information. The single or most important objective of computational media is not reducing the cost of education. Although we should not ignore any opportunity to use technology to lessen the cost of education, we should not lose sight of an objective that is of equal if not greater importance: increasing the quality of education. Gerhard Fischer 4 Training and LLL The Ôsuper-couch potatoõ consumers should not be the targets for the educated and informed citizens of the future. The major innovation that many powerful interest groups push with the information superhighway is to have a future in which people show their creativity and engagement by selecting one of at least 500 TV channels with a remote control. The major technical challenge derived from this perspective becomes the design of a Òuser-friendlyÓ remote control. Rather than serving as the Òreproductive organ of a consumer societyó [Illich, 1971], educational institutions must fight this trend by cultivating Òdesigners,Ó that is by creating mindsets and habits that help people become empowered and willing to actively contribute to the design of their lives and communities [Fischer, 1998a]. School-to-work transition is insufficiently supported. If the world of working and living (1) relies on collaboration, creativity, definition, and framing of problems; (2) deals with uncertainty, change, and distributed cognition; and (3) augments and empowers humans with powerful technological tools, then the world of schools and universities needs to prepare students to function in this world. Industrial-age models of education and work are inadequate to prepare students to compete in the knowledge-based workplace. A major objective of a lifelong learning approach is to reduce the gap between school and workplace learning. The ÒGift WrappingÓ approach dominates educational reform. Information technologies have been used to mechanize old ways of doing business [Landauer, 1995] Ñ rather than fundamentally rethinking the underlying work processes and promoting new ways to create artifacts and knowledge. In learning, these technologies have been used primarily as add-ons to existing practices [Fischer, 1998c] rather than a catalyst for fundamentally rethinking what education should be about in the next century. Frameworks, such as instructionism, fixed and ÒbalkanizedÓ curricula, memorization, decontextualized rote learning, etc., are not changed by technology itself. We cannot prepare people to live in a twenty-first century world using nineteenth century technology. Quality employment. The current dislocation problem experienced by workers [Rifkin, 1995] is one example of an increasingly societal trend. Workers in the growing service and information sector will face an accelerating rate of change in the knowledge and skills necessary to stay competitive. Traditional paradigms of education and training will not, in themselves, be sufficient to meet this increasingly important need. Additional infrastructure must be developed that allows people to learn on the job, and knowledgeable experts to communicate and extend their knowledge within and across domains. 3. Training and Lifelong Learning Lifelong learning is more than training or continuing education. It must support multiple learning opportunities including exploring conceptual understanding as well as narrowing to practical application of knowledge, ranging over different settings such as academic education, informal lifelong learning, and professional and industrial training. Figure 1 summarizes the different emphases of training and lifelong learning along a number of dimensions. Gerhard Fischer 5 Training and LLL perceived role of new media epistemologies of knowledge Emphasis on training economical, productivity explicate and transfer existing knowledge Emphasis on lifelong learning quality understand existing knowledge and create new knowledge new media learn about computers learn with computers impact of new media teaching make delivery method more efficient add-on to current teaching methods allow new things to be learnt change what we teach and how we teach assessments number of facts known articulating knowledge, reflective practitioner mindset passive consumer active designer, co-developer setting new knowledge schools, separate, formal, forced assigned-to-learn, decontextualized, workplace, families, museums; integrated, informal, discretionary need-to-know, on demand, contextualized learning rote learning learning with understanding Figure 1: Emphasis on Training versus Emphasis on Lifelong Learning 3.1. Training Learning new skills and acquiring new knowledge cannot be restricted to formal educational settings. Effective learning needs to be integrated into the work process. Current teaching programs train people to use what is effectively a snapshot of an evolving technology. Training is often considered as a variable plugged into an economic model. This short-sighted cycle of training and retraining cannot be broken unless we recognize that learning is a lifelong process that cannot be separated from working [Sachs, 1995]. By integrating working and learning, people learn within the context of their work on realworld problems. Learning does not take place in a separate phase and in a separate place, but is integrated into the work process. People construct solutions to their own problems, and the system advises them when they are getting into trouble and provides directly relevant information. The direct usefulness of new knowledge for actual problem situations greatly improves the motivation to learn the new material because the time and effort invested in learning are immediately worthwhile for the task at hand Ñ not merely for some putative long-term gain. Many conventional frameworks of training (programmed instruction, computer-based training) and working (a best scientific way) are grounded in the behaviorist learning theory of B.F. Skinner and the models of industrial work of F.W. Taylor. Figure 2 contrasts these approaches with the lifelong and self-directed approaches to learning. Gerhard Fischer 6 Training and LLL Skinner/Taylor there is a Òscientific,Ó best way to learn and to work (programmed instruction, computer-assisted instruction, production lines, waterfall models) Beyond Skinner and Taylor --- real problems are ill-defined and wicked; design is argumentative, characterized by a symmetry of ignorance among stakeholders separation of thinking, doing, and learning --- integration of thinking, doing, and learning task domains can be completely understood --- understanding is partial; coverage is impossible objective ways to decompose problems into standardizable actions all relevant knowledge can be explicitly articulated --- subjective, situated personal interests; need for iterative explorations --- much knowledge is tacit and relies on tacit skills teacher / manager as oracle --- teacher / manager as facilitator or coach operational environment: mass markets, simple products and processes, slow change, certainty --- customer orientation, complex products and processes, rapid and substantial change, uncertainty and conflicts Figure 2: Transcending Skinner and Taylor 3.2. Lifelong Learning Lifelong learning needs to promote effective educational opportunities in the many learning settings through which people pass, including home, school, work, and the larger political community. Professional work cannot simply proceed from a fixed educational background; rather, education must be smoothly incorporated as part of work activities. Similarly, learning takes place not only at all ages and in virtually all professions; increasingly, it takes place among heterogeneous groups of people in families, clubs, and virtual communities. Insights gained from these individual situations need to be developed into broad and effective theories of learning, innovative and intelligent systems, practices, and assessments across many professional genres. A lifelong learning approach permits integration of the best features of school, community, home, and workplace learning. Figure 3 presents a high-level comparison between school and workplace learning illustrating some of the major differences. In the standard ÒinstructionistÓ classroom environment, students are generally unable to see the relevance of what they learn because the material presented is disembodied from everyday experience; the material to be learned is formulated externally by teachers and curriculum developers, and problems have an artificially Òclosed,Ó well-defined nature (i.e., there is one correct answer and one prescribed process for obtaining that answer). These limitations of formal education have led to complaints from corporations that even graduates from the best schools lack the practical design experience needed to perform their jobs. Gerhard Fischer 7 Training and LLL Training conceptualized as School Learning Lifelong Learning conceptualized as Workplace Learning emphasis ÒbasicÓ skills education embedded in ongoing work activities potential drawbacks decontextualized, not situated problems given constructed important concepts are not encountered new topics defined by curricula arise incidentally from work situations structure pedagogic or ÒlogicalÓ structure work activity roles expert-novice model reciprocal learning teachers/ trainers expound subject matter engage in work practice mode instructionism (knowledge absorption) constructionism (knowledge construction) Figure 3: A Comparison of Different Conceptualizations of Training and Lifelong Learning Although there is a growing awareness for the need for more integration of working and learning (e.g., Òon-the-jobÓ training programs, performance support systems, simulation environments [Gery, 1997]), many corporate education and training programs have been modeled after schools. Employees attend lectures and seminars where decontextualized knowledge is presented to them by instructors who often know little about the real problems encountered in working life. Conventional studies of workplace learning have concentrated on activities employers have explicitly organized for the purpose of training. This Òworkplace training,ó suffers from the same phenomenon of decontextualization as does the school-based environment on which it is modeled. Detterman [Detterman & Sternberg, 1993] (in reviewing earlier summaries of the literature on workplace training by Baldwin and Ford), writes: ÒAmerican businesses have a major stake in fostering transfer of training, since they spend up to $100 billion each year to train workers. Yet the est
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