Learning by Doing

“Schools are currently in need of radical change. We exist in a culture in which fact-based knowledge dominates traditional instruction. People who are good at “knowledge games” like Trivial Pursuit and Jeopardy are considered smart. But, life requires us to do, more than it requires us to know, in order to function. There is only one effective way to teach someone how to do anything, and that is to let them do it”. (Schank, Berman, and Macpherson- Instructional-design Theories and Model).

The students in the colleges have the goal, but the goal is to get good grades. At the end of the term they pretend that they learned the stuff because they have good grades. But actually that knowledge is superfluous, shallow and short term. In actual world, the employer wants to know about your skill to perform the task, not how much your grades have. So it makes more sense to let the students learn by doing the tasks they will be required to do.

Schank, Berman, and Macpherson have developed a structure known as goal-based scenarios (GBSs). A GBS is learn-by-doing simulation in which students pursue a goal by practicing target skills and using relevant content knowledge to help them achieve their goal. GBSs can be either software environment or live role-play or both.

The problem with the traditional system is that we teach them just factual knowledge. The students are not learning skills. The learning goals are in the “know that” format, rather than “how to”. For example it is not sufficient to know about the boiler. This is the content knowledge. The student also need to know and practice how to use this content knowledge. If the students do not know what to do with that knowledge, they will forget quickly what they were taught.

The students should learn content and skills both to achieve goals. For example learning about a boiler in my course, about its different parts and how that look like is o.k to get good grades but this is not an intrinsically motivating goal.

GBS stresses on the experience of the process and what is the outcome of that process.

By doing you get an opportunity to learn by actually working on it and having an experience. If it does not go as you planned, you will get experience and try to improve it next time. You are learning from prior experiences, which is very effective to learn and to improve upon your skill.

This will help you to become expert. The experts do not necessarily mean experts in the professional sense. The experts are those people who can use knowledge and perform skills in a functional way to achieve their goals.

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(Schank, Berman, and Macpherson- Instructional-design Theories and Model).

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