The Challenge of Education
I’m pretty fascinated with learning, it’s a wonderful process that never ceases to please. However I find myself fighting to stay enthused about interactions with the university I’m currently shoveling money at. I don’t think its the financial investment either, which albeit at this point does feel a bit wasted, I think it has to do with the nature of Education in (at the very least) the US.
When I (and most people I know) read a book the general idea is to grasp the gist of the material, the take away from the experience new outlooks on some branch of thought. When you read however for school the way that testing is made up you end up being required to memorize the entirety of the text which leaves you with a huge chunk of matter.
I remember far more from just reading books and am more likely to return to the books when they aren’t turned into a chore. The moment my classes are over I have my college texts up for sale, the sight of them disgusts me (literally). I think the challenge of Education is to create a system of learning that is enjoyable. This is not difficult and is something that video games manage all the time.
Learning in games? Well it’s not exactly conventional knowledge seeing as knowing the names of the 150 original Pokemon won’t exactly help you as a Chemist. However you’ll find for many people while its difficult to memorize 150 different parts of the human body, with the same amount of studying they’ll grasp all the Pokemon.
To me it has to do with the atmosphere of the two projects. If you fail to memorize all the Pokemon on day X you will likely just be inconvenienced when trying to remember what you are missing. If you fail to memorize all 150 different parts of the human body you were handed, you look to fail an exam and depending on its weight find yourself having wasted months of time and thousands of dollars.
So what is impeding your intake of knowledge for these two activities? For the Pokemon you are learning with no real penalty if you fail and thus you put more time thinking about the information than the repercussions. For the body parts you are trying to remember the information while having the very large negative effects of failing nagging at you.
Anytime you are in a course where exams are far and few between you are not being tested on what you know, you are being tested on how well you deal with stress. Telling from the response of the average college student it would appear that most people are not good with handling stress.
There are obvious ways to fix this and I’ve discussed them many times before. However this week, alongside a huge collection of Metaphysics questions I’ll take a stab at how Education should work and hopefully if enough people see it somewhere might actually try it. Be interesting to see students succeed again.